Learn how to bodysurf using the PPP Handboard range

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Learn bodysurfing then learn body surfing tricks

Do you want to learn to bodysurf using a handboard or bodysurf using a hand plane or bodysurf using a pair of body surfing fins and your hands ?

Then this is the right place for you !

Here are some of the topics that this article addresses:

  • Learn to bodysurf videos
  • Introduction about this bodysurfing article
  • The History of Bodysurfing
  • Getting Started with Bodysurfing
  • Wave selection for bodysurfing
  • About bodysurfing
  • Bodysurfing fun
  • Bodysurfing Awareness
  • Rips
  • Big surf
  • Bodysurfing sense
  • Bodysurfing Technique
  • Bodysurfing Fins
  • Beaches for bodysurfing
  • Summary

Learn to Bodysurf Videos

Click on the links below to get started with a couple of bodysurfing videos to help you understand how to bodysurf: 

How to use a bodysurfing handboard

How to bodysurf - trimming across the wave using a bodysurfing hardboard

Bodysurf a shore break (shore) using a bodysurfing handboard 

Introduction to this learn to bodysurf article

Bodysurfing in the barrel using bodysurfing handboards bodysurfing handplanes

This is a comprehensive guide on learning how to bodysurf and what bodysurfing equipment is required when you go body surfing such as body surfing handboards and body surfing hand planes. We hope that as a bodysurfer beginner this article helps you to learn about bodysurfing. If you are an experienced bodysurfer we hope that you might like to try one of our bodysurfing handboards or body surfing hand planes at PPP Handboards. Such as PPP bodysurfing handboard Velo Midi+ see below

PPP bodysurfing handboards Velo Midi+ for bodysurfing handplanes as well cutting edge design


Bodysurfing is utter unity with the ocean.  The body surfer is bodysurfing or gliding across the face of wave, using just your body to surf.  In summer the chances are that you have tried bodysurfing.  Maybe you could have body surfed just a little and you get the thrill, we have a few tips on how to start out on bodysurfing.

Bodysurfers love to glide across the wave using bodysurfing handplanes


If you are looking for lift and speed whilst you are body surfing we recommend that you investigate a bodysurfing handboard or bodysurfing handplanes as this helps

PPP Handboards for bodysurfing handboards and bodysurfing hand planes the Velo Standard 

to lift your chest and shoulders above the wave which reduces bodysurfing drag. You might find some questions answered here

History of Bodysurfing

Apparently Captain Cook during his travels of the South Pacific in 1769, is believed to have first initiated bodysurfing in Tahiti, Polynesia. He was credited with founding the sport of body surfing by trying to bodysurf the waves that were a feature of Tahiti. The early bodysurfers were royalty or the "well to do".

Having started off in Polynesia in the 18th century, bodysurfing was tried in many other parts of the world and body surfers from all over the world love the sport of bodysurfing.

Rusty with bodysurfing handboard rides bodysurfing handplanes by PPP Handboards for bodysurfing

Getting Started With Bodysurfing

OK .. wave 1 .. day 1 most people bodysurfing try smaller waves before graduating out the back to larger waves. It is a wise move to stay close to shore and work on your bodysurfing so that you can concentrate on timing. Body surfing can be as simple as you want to make it or bodysurfing can be a challenging as you want to make it. Regardless of where you end up ... just about everyone starts out close to the shore to practise their bodysurfing using this pattern.

Wave Selection for bodysurfers

One of the key things to look for in learning to bodysurf is a beach that breaks out from the shore and runs in to the shore.  The bodysurfer looks for a beach where the waves are cascading not closing out on the beach and you can stand.  If you find yourself walking out and the water is over your head then this is not the beach for you.

Wave selection for bodysurfing hand boards and bodysurfers who use body surfing handplanes

About Bodysurfing

Just about everyone when they go down to the beach tries to ride a wave using their own body  …  lots of arms and legs going everywhere just feeling the thrill of playing in the surf ...growing up many people then graduated to bumping their siblings on surf mats or bodyboards. The purest form of surfing is still bodysurfing a wave using just yourself. Before leashes were invented anyone going to the beach had to learn to bodysurf. For example board riders who came off their boards have to bodysurf into the beach to pick up their board.  The introduction of leashes had two immediate effects one was that the surfer didn't have to swim back to the beach to collect their board and secondly the crowds surfing increased exponentially. This caused surfers to look at less crowded options including the resurgence of bodysurfing.

Board-surfing, mat-riding, and bodyboarding all grew in popularity in 1960s and decades thereafter. Through this time bodysurfing, often seen at the beaches by the kids, the elder, the tourists and the novices; All catching waves which kept bodysurfing at the top of the most popular form of wave riding.

Schyler on 4thGear flyer great bodysurfer who wishes she could use bodysurfing handboards in NY

Bodysurfers who are just starting out, generally ride near the shore. This allows the bodysurfers to use the shallow water to let them catch an incoming wave. Beginning bodysurfers use a push with their legs and jump start to get on the wave and body surf straight into the beach with their arms down by their side or arms out in front.

More advanced bodysurfers swim further away from the shore looking for unbroken waves to catch. When they stroke onto the wave the bodysurfer is looking to ride the wave in one direction or another and hopefully ride into the barrel.

Once on the wave the bodysurfer looks to extend their arm closest to the wave, and use the palm of their hand for planning.

Shane using PPP bodysurfing handboards for bodysurfing handplanes Velo Standard bodysurfer

Lots of different devices have been developed to improve a bodysurfer’s planning surface called “handboards”.

One of the most essential tools used by bodysurfers are swim fins because they can provide the extra speed to get onto a wave or add speed during a ride.

Most body surfers like to trim along the wall and ride in the barrel as often as possible. Sometimes opportunities become available for manoevures such as spinners and barrel rolls for advanced riders. Advanced bodysurfers look for steep, fast, barreling beach break waves that are un-crowded that offer heaps of fun.

Bodysurfing Fun

Everyone starts out having fun in the “shorey” catching waves and learning to bodysurf using their body. Body surfing forms your knowledge basis for becoming an all round waterperson … where that be as a surfmat rider or a surfer riding boards.
Water movement and wave formation is learned through actually bodysurfing. Instant decisions are made by the bodysurfer to place themselves in the most advantageous position in which to body surf the wave. Whilst bodysurfing hasn’t risen to the commercial heights to that of surfing, it still is the best sport to learn about the ocean and how to respect it as well as wave dynamics and shape.
Body surfing is layered and blended in its challenges … it evolves in complexity from simple, easy & fun bodysurfing waves near the shore to larger waves that challenge your inner most limits.


Bodysurfing Awareness

Before you head in, take a few minutes to check out the water … look for any water flow in front of you. If lifeguards or lifesavers are on duty go and ask them if there is anything to take watch out for … such as ….A brief couple of statements but essential skills to learn for a bodysurfer or surfer for that matter.... water movement can be seen from the shore look carefully at the white water, assess the tides and talk to experienced surfers.

 Maui for bodysurfing handboards and bodysurfing with handplanes is excellent fopr all bodysurfers


Keep an eye out for rips and water movement … you can see angled rough water between the banks where the wave breaks. Also watch for currents near the rocks as the water will head to the ocean. The issue with rips is that they can quickly move you out to sea. 

Tama rip danger for bodysurfers use bodysurfing handboards and fins

Bodysurfing gives you a very healthy respect for the ocean. Know your limitations if you are inexperienced take the advice of the lifeguard or lifesaver. As they say in Australia, swim between the flags. Using body surfing fins is one of the best pieces of body surfing equipment you can invest in … bodysurfing fins give you the opportunity to prevent getting into trouble before it happens.

Big surf

Know your limits because big waves bring with them a constantly shifting set of criteria. Set waves are also known as cleanup waves because they “cleanup” surfers caught inside the big breaking waves because these waves rise up over and above the existing conditions some distance further out from the regular waves.
Part of every bodysurfer’s learning experience is to let set waves come to you and make a decision whether to body surf the wave or not based on your position, the size and your experience.

Rusty using body surfing hand board / hand plane to bodysurf in the barrel in Hawaiian shorey

Bodysurfing Sense

As a beginner bodysurfer we suggest that you stick to waves in the 1’-3’ range that do not crash on the shore or where there is a quick drop-off in water depth.

If it is your first time bodysurfing at a location, it is always a good idea to ask the lifesaver or lifeguard on duty about any hidden objects/rocks/reefs.   Again you must have swim fins to help with preventing any possible issues that might occur … never underestimate the power of the ocean!

Bodysurfing Positioning for a Wave

An excellent tip for bodysurfing is to identify a fixed point on land, such as a surf lifesaving flag or flags or the corner of a building or a tree etc to help you triangulate your position. This helps you to identify any left or right rip, as well as any rip dragging you out to the ocean. Being constantly aware of your position gives you early opportunities to adjust as the ocean can be unforgiving.

Body Surfing Technique

Because you are bodysurfing close to shore you don’t need fins.  Two tips are:

  1. Pick a wave that is almost breaking (less than 3 feet)
  2. Bend your knees and throw yourself towards the shore, almost skimming across the water to let the wave pick you up.

Congratulations you are body surfing… keep working on your timing as a bodysurfer so that you can step up to more bodysurfing opportunities :)

Move further out the break to bodysurf unbroken waves … here we are going to work on swim strokes so fins would be a great idea … more on fins later in this article.  Here are some further tips:

  1. Pick a wave that is almost breaking
  2. This time we are looking for 2-3 strokes only to get on the wave, kicking fast with your fins … once you feel the lift of the wave lift your head and enjoy the body surf.

As you get more experience bodysurfing you will have confidence to ride bigger waves and try to body surf and cut diagonally across the face of a wave, and race the breaking wave while you bodysurf.

If you see a wave coming and you don't want to body surf it, dive under the wave. Depending on the size of the wave you may need to kick your legs and use breaststroke to get past the wave.

Off for a surf .. remember to:

  • Swim between the flags with a mate
  • If you don’t want to catch a wave … then swim under it
  • Be aware of other surfers who have right of way on a wave
  • Have heaps of fun !

 Bodysurfing Fins

Click here to read about innovative bodysurfing fins.

Some Famous Bodysurfing Beaches

Click here to read about beaches that are fun for bodysurfing.


Thanks for reading this article.

Handboarding or bodysurfing handboards is an uplifting experience for you as a bodysurfer.  Using a bodysurfing handboard or a bodysurfing handplane adds speed, manoeuvrability and lift to your bodysurfing experience.

In this article we have covered a number of key points on how to bodysurf. Please read our article on how to bodysurf using a bodysurfing handboard or bodysurfing hand plane where we have included a number of videos to demonstrate some of the techniques for use in your bodysurfing.

In the article on how to body surf using a body surfing hand plane and how to body surf using a body surfing hand board we provide a comprehensive guide on how to bodysurf and how to use bodysurfing equipment such as fins and body surfing handboards or body surfing hand planes . 

Our body surfing hand boards include the Velo range of bodysurfing hand boards or body surfing hand planes which are available at PPP Handboards.

PPP Handboards delivers body surfing hand boards and body surfing hand planes. PPP bodysurfing handboards and bodysurfing handplanes are state of the art and based on innovative designs. PPP bodysurfing hand boards and bodysurfing hand planes are quality handcrafted to a precision design.  There are four PPP bodysurfing handboards and bodysurfing handplanes.





PPP bodysurfing handboards / bodysurfing handplanes Velo Midi for bodysurfers of all skill level



The Velo Midi is our extremely popular mid-range sized bodysurfing handboard for two-handed use. The Velo Midi is highly maneuverable yet super controllable bodysurfing handplane that allows blistering performance in the critical energy zone or the “pocket” of the wave. Bodysurfers can learn to bodysurf using a Velo Midi.



 Bodysurfing hand boards by PPP for bodysurfing hand planes and bodysurfers of all skill level


 The mildly kicked nose, flat tail rocker, a “high-in-the-nose-to-lower-in-the-tail” rail line and “neutral handling” gives you absolute control over your bodysurfing handboard as you sizzle on your perfect ride. 


 Marcus with a PPP bodysurfing handboard / body surfing hand plane at Manly bodysurfing with a handboardMarcus testing PPP bodysurfing handboards and bodysurfing handplanes at Manly. You can see Marcus "how to use a bodysurfing video by clicking on the link below.

How to use a bodysurfing handboard

Hand position when using a bodysurfing handboard / bodysurfing handplane for bodysurfers This picture demonstrates one method for placing your hand under the handstrap when you learn to bodysurf and if you are using a bodysurfing handboard  or bodysurfing handplane there are a number of options as to hand placement.  


  PPP bodysurfing handboards / bodysurfing handplanes Velo Midi and Velo Standard for bodysurfing








The side by side picture of the Velo Standard bodysurfing hardboard and Velo Midi bodysurfing handplane gives the bodysurfer an idea of the size difference between both bodysurfing handboards.



  looking out with PPP bodysurfing handboards / bodysurfing handplanes when learn to bodysurfThis gives bodysurfers who are learning an opportunity to see what the view is like from inside the barrel. Learning to bodysurf with a bodysurfing handboard / bodysurfing handplane gives the bodysurfer lift and speed to get more opportunities to ride in the barrel.