4 Top Ways To Improve Your Wave Riding


Want to get better at bodyboarding? Who doesn’t?! There’s no quick fix but there’s a few things you can do to push past those niggling challenges.

During our trip to California, we hooked up with former bodyboard pros and absolute legends Jay and Vicki Reale from eBodyboarding.com. Together, we came up with our top tips on how to improve your riding in 4 easy steps.

1. Catch more waves

It’s the quickest way to improve your bodyboarding. But, you’ve got to catch the waves in the first place – easier said than done when you’re a beginner and early intermediate rider.

The key is to catch the waves with minimal effort and maximum efficiency. To do that, you need to adopt the right technique:

  • Position yourself in front of the peak on the steepest part of the wave
  • Put your hands on the front corners of the nose
  • When you paddle with your feet, keep your arms locked. It’ll help you stay flat in the water – don’t bend your arms
  • Keep your board flat
  • Keep practicing – the more you do it, the more waves you’ll catch!
2. Use the correct hand position

You may not realise it, but having your hand in the correct position means you’ll control your board and get the maximum performance out of it.

When you paddle right on the wave, your right hand should sit on the top corner of your board with your arm rotated. The side of your arm and your elbow naturally put pressure on the right edge of the board. Your wrist should bend creating a ‘claw’ shape with your hand. This allows you to apply pressure underneath the board and pull up the top right hand corner.

Your left hand should sit about a third of the way down the left rail of the board. This gives you leverage to pull it up. Keep your elbow in the air for maximum control, like a cantilever. It’ll keep the rail in the wave face.

3. The correct sized board will help you to improve

Find a board that fits your body shape. If you’re board’s too long it’ll be cumbersome and if it’s too short, you’ll struggle to catch waves. Someone who’s 6ft tall may need a 42inch board. A shorter female will need a smaller board. A heavier rider will benefit from more volume.

To figure out the right size board for you, put the tail on the ground with the board against your body. Make sure the nose reaches within an inch of your belly button. Or, hold the board with the nose against your chin. The tail should reach the top of your knees.

Choose the right board for the waves. You’ll need a slightly longer board for small waves to make it easier to catch them. For bigger, barreling waves you’ll need a smaller board for easier control.

4. Increase your speed with the Look, Lean and Lunge technique

Get your upper torso as far forward on your board as you can without nose diving. This will take some practice! To do it, arch your back, pull your head up, push your chin out, and keep a crease in the nape of your neck. Keep your head over your front hand to maintain your speed and inertia moving forward.

For minimal drag, keep your knees and ankles together. Look and lunge in the direction you want to go.

All footage shot on our recent Bodyboard Holidays trip to California

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