The most popular bodyboarding games of all time
The sport of bodyboarding has witnessed the launch of six video games since 1999. Do you remember all them? What are your favorite bodyboarding games?
Video game developers have always put more money on surf-inspired titles. And it's easy to understand why. There are way more surfers than bodyboarders, and stand up surfers attract more media attention than any other water sport.
Since the release of the iconic Commodore 64-based "California Games" in 1987, wave riding became an interesting niche for electronic entertainment platforms.
Between 1987 and 2001, the industry marketed around ten video games with surfing at their core. Some of them failed to conquer the players; others triumphed and remained the standard from which to judge all subsequent titles.
That was the case of Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer, released in 2002 for Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. The gaming experience was nearly perfect, and the soundtrack was definitely spot on.
The first ever bodyboarding game was "Mike Stewart's Pro Bodyboarding." The title opened the way to a handful of identical experimentations.
As the software, consoles, and platforms evolved, bodyboarding games became more complex, detailed, and focused on real-life experiences.
Let's take a look at the video games that put bodyboarders riding virtual waves:
1. Mike Stewart's Pro Bodyboarding (PC, 1999)
The world's first bodyboarding video game was named after a champion. Developed by Gee Whiz! Entertainment, "Mike Stewart's Pro Bodyboarding" offered six different modes of play.
The player could choose a character, ride 3D waves, and perform 12 tricks and maneuvers, including forward spins, air rolls, reverse spins, double barrel rolls, backflips, and more.
The rider had to avoid obstacles in the water like rocks, buoys, and swimmers.
2. Pro Bodyboarding (PlayStation, 2002)
Developed for PSOne by Theyer GFX, and released in 2002, "Pro Bodyboarding" is the first ever console video game featuring bodyboarders.
Although the title oddly featured a surfer on the cover, it was a game that invited bodyboard fanatics to get high scores at multiple surf breaks.
3. YouRiding Bodyboarding (Online, 2007)
In 2007, an Anglet-based video game development studio created the world's first online bodyboarding game. "Youriding Bodyboarding" was a huge success with millions of plays every year.
The company continued to improve the game over time, releasing three additional versions. "Youriding Bodyboarding IV" had full 3D graphics, and allowed you to change the wave conditions.
The online boogie-boarding game by Intellysurf was meanwhile discontinued.
4. Mike Stewart's 360° Beach Bodyboarding (PC, 2007/2008)
Despite its childish cover, "Mike Stewart's 360° Beach Bodyboarding" invites us to master the carving technique and gain speed for big air moves. You could also go for the barrel.
Players were allowed to choose eight different bodyboards, eight different spots - including Hawaii and Tahiti - and eight distinct characters.
The PC game underlined that there were a total of 15 maneuvers to master and that the 3D effects included water splashes and spray.
5. Bodyboard Soul Rider (Online, 2010)
When the world became addicted to the internet, bodyboarders got another online game. "Bodyboard Soul Rider" can still be played online, and it is fairly enjoyable.
6. The Journey (iOS/Android, 2015)
Following the success of "Youriding Bodyboarding IV," Intellysurf releases what probably is the most realistic bodyboarding video game of all time.
"The Journey" invites you to learn how to bodyboard, and master the basics, before conquering hundreds of waves in real-life spots like Pipeline, Teahupoo, Mundaka, El Fronton, Shark Island, etc.
As you progress, you get tips from the stars of the sport at their local break. Pierre-Louis Costes, Amaury Lavernhe, and Mike Stewart are some of the pros that will guide you through the challenges.
The game allows you to customize your avatar and your gear. It can be highly addictive, and also has a social media side to it.