How to slow down on a bodyboard

Bodyboarding: learning how to stall will let you enjoy better and longer waves | Photo: Shutterstock

Whether adjusting your position inside the barrel or slowing down, you need to learn how to put a brake on a bodyboard.

Reducing speed while riding a wave on a bodyboard is an essential skill. Believe it or not, there are many reasons why you may want to apply the brakes on your board.

The technique is also known as stalling and serves several purposes, including maximizing tube time, managing the amount of wave face available for performing maneuvers, and staying in the wave's energy zone.

Stalling is also used to time aerial tricks and reconnect different sections of the waves.

Bodyboarder can use their body by dragging their legs or getting their inside hand in the water.

Stalling 101

Here's how to stall a bodyboard using your legs:

  1. While riding a wave, use your hands to shift your body slightly backward - putting more weight on the tail - and your hip to the inside rail;
  2. Spread your legs and dig both fins into the wave's face;
  3. The board will lose speed and may start catching the inside rail;
  4. Resume normal riding and body position when you think you've slowed down enough;

But you can also let the bodyboard reduce your riding speed. It's easier and has immediate results:

  1. Start riding a wave and, when needed, pull up on the nose;
  2. The tail will start digging in, and creating a resistance that will dramatically reduce your speed, sometimes to an almost complete stop;
  3. Release the nose of the bodyboard when you've slowed down enough;

Sometimes, you won't even realize you're decelerating your board. It's an instinct that will increase and improve the wave-riding experience.

The trick is to predict how a wave is going to break and why exactly you need to apply the brakes.

Once you've mastered the bodyboard stalling technique, you'll enjoy better and longer rides down the line.

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