Bodyboarding vs Surfing: The Ultimate Rivalry 2021 + Guide

Flo Farmer
Written by
Last update:

Bodyboarding

Vs Surfing: What's the Difference?

All bodyboarding and surfing have the same history – they both began in the 1940s. It started with the original stand-up surfboard. It was cumbersome and heavy, which caused people to end up getting knocked over in the water. They quickly figured out that lying flat on a wooden board would be a lot easier for paddle boarding around the coast. This is approximated to be the genesis of surfing and bodyboarding.

In the 1940's, a company called Hobie started producing a type of surfboard that was pretty accessible for most families. This is when surfing started to catch on big time. By the 50's most beaches had surfboards of some sort available for use.

This is also when bodyboarding started. Bodyboarding came about when people were testing the surf and starting to enter competitions. Since surfboards at the time were so long and bulky, it was hard to catch enough waves to compete. It was then that people discovered they could get on foam boards much easier than surfboards.

The Basics of Bodyboarding

The major difference between bodyboarding and surfing is that bodyboards do not use any surf-board. Instead, bodyboarders use inflatable boards to catch waves. The boards are rather small with foot straps for feet to keep the board on the water even if it flips over. Bodyboards can also be inflatable.

The other major difference in bodyboarding and surfing is the size of the waves. A bodyboarder can be able to catch waves as big as a surfer on a surfboard. In fact, professional bodyboarders can catch big waves on smaller bodyboards.

The size of the wave at which a bodyboarder can comfortably catch a ride is determined by the size of the bodyboard. Bodyboarding started as a sport where bodyboarders used longer shaped boards with three fins in the nose and two in the tail. The three fins in the nose gave the board support for the rider. While bodyboards are still being made like this, shorter boards have been introduced, with the advantage of being easier to maneuver through the surf.

Pros

With bodyboarding, you're not very likely to get the kind of adrenaline rush that surfing can provide. The sport is a little laid-back, and it's not as fast-paced.

Great for beginners

If you're just starting out in surfing, bodyboarding is abundant in beginner-friendly waves. In fact, if you're just learning to ride waves, surfing may be slightly more difficult, but bodyboarding is the perfect way to learn quickly.

Less chance of drowning

If a bodyboarder falls off the bodyboard, they have a lower chance of drowning than a surfer. A bodyboarder being dragged through the water by a surfer has a greater chance of hitting the bottom.Bodyboarding is also a cheaper sport to participate in than surfing. You can enjoy a bodyboarding session for a relatively low cost.

More suitable for different types of people

Some people believe that bodyboarding is more suitable for less athletic individuals. This may be true. Because surfing requires a greater amount of energy, if you are not very physically active, you're probably not going to enjoy that aspect of surfing.

On the other hand, bodyboarding requires only heart and muscle coordination needed for riding a bodyboard. This is lower amount of effort than required for surfing.

Cons

Bodyboarding and surfing are considered to be two of the most popular water sports. The two sports are similar to each other in many ways but still have enough differences to set them apart. Both sports involve riding a board while being pulled towards the shore by the force of the waves. It also involves immersion in water. The difference is that surfing is more of a competitive sport whereas bodyboarding is more of an adventurous sport.

Here, we look at the differences and similarities between the two sports followed by an exhaustive guide on how to start bodyboarding.

Surfing

Surfing is an ancient, yet most sport that requires a manual ability to stand on the top of a moving wave with a board between your legs. It is an exhilarating sport that involves a combination of balance, grace, core strength, and rhythm.

There are different techniques to make waves, each one of them has a purpose.

The term planking is pretty obvious, but most surfers use this term to describe wood, foam board or anything solid that is used to make waves on the shore. A planking board is used to make shore break (waves formed very close to shore) or when the wave is too wide to paddle back out.Floating Techniques

A floating board can be used when surfing a larger wave or if you want to begin a back-side or a front-side carve. Rotation

The Basics of Surfing

Much of the thrill of surfing is the primitive nature of it all: riding waves on a board that is a lot lighter than you are while being towed by an enormous wave that could crush you at any moment. Surfing emphasizes balance, timing, strength, and especially agility.

Because of the risk involved, from a wet surface to becoming clamped on between two waves and dragged underwater, surfing is thought of as a manly sport. But if you compare surfing and bodyboarding, it does not come across as manly as surfing.

Surfing is a much more spiritual activity that also requires a great deal of patience to become good at, and perhaps that is why the majority of bodyboarders are young children, because patience is not something they are short on. Likewise, surfing is very demanding, and it can be exhausting.

In order to know the basics of surfing you must first know what it is like to ride a wave on a bodyboard. When riding a wave on a bodyboard, you do not have to worry about falling off because the board has a handle for you to hold on to.

You face in the opposite direction as surfing, with your head by the other end of the board because when you are riding in the wave, you are going to have to ride it in. You also ride a bodyboard with your feet and knees as your main contact points.

Pros

With bodyboarding, you're not very likely to get the kind of adrenaline rush that surfing can provide. The sport is a little laid-back, and it's not as fast-paced.

Great for beginners

If you're just starting out in surfing, bodyboarding is abundant in beginner-friendly waves. In fact, if you're just learning to ride waves, surfing may be slightly more difficult, but bodyboarding is the perfect way to learn quickly.

Less chance of drowning

If a bodyboarder falls off the bodyboard, they have a lower chance of drowning than a surfer. A bodyboarder being dragged through the water by a surfer has a greater chance of hitting the bottom.Bodyboarding is also a cheaper sport to participate in than surfing. You can enjoy a bodyboarding session for a relatively low cost.

More suitable for different types of people

Some people believe that bodyboarding is more suitable for less athletic individuals. This may be true. Because surfing requires a greater amount of energy, if you are not very physically active, you're probably not going to enjoy that aspect of surfing.

On the other hand, bodyboarding requires only heart and muscle coordination needed for riding a bodyboard. This is lower amount of effort than required for surfing.

Cons

Bodyboarding and surfing are considered to be two of the most popular water sports. The two sports are similar to each other in many ways but still have enough differences to set them apart. Both sports involve riding a board while being pulled towards the shore by the force of the waves. It also involves immersion in water. The difference is that surfing is more of a competitive sport whereas bodyboarding is more of an adventurous sport.

Here, we look at the differences and similarities between the two sports followed by an exhaustive guide on how to start bodyboarding.

Bodyboarding vs. Surfing: The Conclusion

If you've ever wanted to know the differences between bodyboarding and surfing, your search is finally over. The post discusses bodyboarding vs surfing in-depth to help you decide which suits you better and which to avoid. So, if you're in the market for the perfect sport, you can't make a mistake by opting for either of these.

Can you surf? Would you like to? The answer is going to be a definite YES once you get a hold of this informative piece.

In bodyboarding vs. surfing, the bottom line is that both are awesome. The reason why it's so difficult to make out between the two is simply because they're on separate ends of the spectrum. Bodyboarding deals with a piece of equipment, while surfing deals with a set of skills.

Bodyboarding, on the other hand, is considered to be less intense, but more convenient. It doesn't require surfing skills to be performed. Unlike surfing, it just needs a board to be done with.