Leonardo Fioravanti: his bodyboarding at the Surf Ranch sparked controversy

In the days of social media, public figures should avoid navigating in waters of unknown depths.

Italian pro surfer, Leonardo Fioravanti, posted a video on Instagram of him riding a bodyboard and getting barreled at the Surf Ranch.

To better illustrate the footage, he wrote: "Going to officially become a professional bodyboarder." However, some bodyboarders didn't like the comment, saying Fioravanti was disrespectful to the sport.

The flow of comments continued, and there were even some who challenged the pro surfer to qualify for an APB Tour event and put his bodyboarding skills to the test, alongside boogie-boarding legends Mike Stewart and Jeff Hubbard.

Josh Kerr came in rescue of Leo, and wrote: "Need a coach?" But the Australian's words only increased the controversy. The answer came via two-time world bodyboarding champions, Pierre-Louis Costes.

"Nice skills, man. I love how you had a go on a bodyboard. I did my math and if surfers are allowed to ride a bodyboard at the wave pool and pro bodyboarders aren't even invited, it means pro bodyboarders could potentially ride the wave if we stand up, am I right World Surf League?"

Surf Ranch: A No Boogie-Board Zone

In fact, bodyboards at the Surf Ranch are extremely rare. The only known example is of Australian musician Flume, who caught a few waves at the wave pool in November 2016.

Additional comments reminded us that people were more open-minded in the past.

"It's all just another way to ride a wave. In the 1960s and 1970s, surfers were more open to all sorts of craft. It's amazing how it's gone so backward, where people think you have to only ride a shortboard. This was arguably the deepest barrel in that pool," wrote Andy Morgo.

Bodyboarding continues to ride a wave of contempt, even when it's been proved that bodyboarders are sometimes seen in places where no stand-up surfer dares to be.

In the past, Mick Fanning and Snickers were heavily criticized for mocking bodyboarding and the brand was forced to make a public apology.

Are you a proud bodyboarder? Here are ten reasons why bodyboarding might be better than surfing.

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