How To Body Surf

Learning how to body surf is one of the best ways to have fun in the ocean. Body surfing is great because, unlike other water sports, you do not need any equipment other than your own limbs to body surf. While the following tips may not transfer the average shoobie kook into Mark Cunningham, they will provide a strong foundation in how to body surf.

To body surf, you will need:

  • wave action
  • functioning limbs
  • swim fins (optional)
  • speedo (optional)


  1. Learn to swim: This is the most important and most obvious aspect of body surfing. It is impossible to body surf if you cannot swim. Case closed. The freestyle crawl stroke is the most important swim stroke for wave-riding.
  2. Improve your cardio: This is directly related to swimming skills. Bodysurfing requires long periods of swimming without stopping as well as constant treading. People in poor cardiovascular shape will find it difficult to body surf.
  3. Swim Fins: A good pair of swim fins will make it easier to body surf for several reasons. First, swim fins make swimming and treading water much less tiring. Second, swim fins provide the quick burst of speed necessary for catching waves.
  4. Ocean Knowledge: Understanding wave and current dynamics is a basic component of ocean safety and is crucial to any sort of wave riding.

In The Water:

  1. To successfully ride waves, the body surfer must position himself in the surf zone. As a wave approaches, swim for the wave by stroking towards the beach. Timing is crucial. As the wave begins to crest take one or two hard strokes and kick continuously.
  2. If you have successfully caught the wave, you will feel the wave's energy lifting upwards and pulling you towards shore.
  3. For a longer ride, point your leading hand in the direction you would like to turn.
  4. Try to make your stomach as rigid as possible. To body surf successfully, you must use your stomach as a surfboard.
  5. If losing speed, kick continuously and take a few freestyle strokes.
  6. To keep in trim, try to keep your body as straight as possible..


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