How to pull out of a wave on a bodyboard

July 25, 2022 | Bodyboarding
Bodyboarding: pulling out of a wave is a helpful technique that saves time and energy | Photo: Shutterstock

It happens to everyone riding a bodyboard. You've caught a wave, it closed out, and you want to pull out without getting dragged to the shore. Here's how to exit a wave wisely and safely.

Knowing when to press the eject button is part of wave-riding knowledge and something every bodyboarder should master.

The technique can avoid painful wipeouts and/or losing time and positioning in the lineup.

There are two main techniques used in bodyboarding to put an end to a ride in a smart and energy-saving way.

The first is the famous Hawaiian pull-out technique; the other is the bodyboard stalling technique.

Both serve the ultimate goal, even though they can be applied in different situations.

1. The Hawaiian Pull-Out Technique

The Hawaiian pull-out is the most popular and efficient kick-out option among experienced and professional bodyboarders.

In summary, it's a drastic move that sees the rider sticking the nose of the board laterally and beneath the water to stop forward movement.

Two elements get into play when performing it.

The first one is speed - the faster you're going, the easier you'll find it to get under the wave.

The second one is positioning - you need to be at the bottom of the wave; if you're at the top, you'll get thrown over with the lip.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Catch a wave;
  2. Ride it for as long as you want;
  3. As soon as the wave closes out (or is about to), and once in front of the whitewater and disconnected from all that turbulence once, keep hold of your board, do a bottom turn and turn straight back;
  4. As soon as you complete the bottom turn 180 and you're facing the wave, prepare to go straight into an aggressive duck dive;
  5. Once you've plunged the bodyboard's nose under the water, push your knee in the tail and initiate the duck dive;
  6. Kick your way through the back of the wave;
  7. Paddle out;

2. The Bodyboard Stalling Technique

The bodyboard stall technique is the easiest way of pulling out of a wave and can be performed by beginner bodyboarders.

It's basically all about applying drag and inertia to the forward movement and is often taught in the early bodyboarding lessons.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Catch a wave;
  2. Ride it for as long as you want toward the shore;
  3. As soon as the wave closes out and you ride out in front of it, pull up on the nose of the bodyboard;
  4. Immediately after, plant your legs in the water and lift the nose of the board;
  5. As you pull on the handbrake, the board will start pushing water, and the wave will go over the top of you;
  6. Paddle out;

You can always let go of your bodyboard as soon as a wave closes out or you finish your ride.

The problem is that relying on your leash will put a lot of stress on it. Eventually, one day it will snap.

Also, with the primitive technique, the bodyboard will be away from you, meaning you'll have to be dragged along for a while, pull your board back under you, and then start paddling back out.