With so much stunning coastline in the UK it seems a shame not to make the most of it, but as anyone who gets involved in watersports knows, these activities often aren’t cheap. Aside from lessons to get you started you also need to invest in equipment and all of that can add up.
Bodysurfing is something of an exception though. This sport is incredibly easy to get started with and you don’t need a great deal of expensive equipment to get into some waves and have some fun.
Bodysurfing in the UK is really starting to take off as a sport – later in September (16/17) Newquay’s Fistral Beach will host the inaugural UK Bodysurfing Championships, with part of the aim of that weekend to get more people into the sport, as well as to showcase the skills of the country’s top bodysurfers.
What is bodysurfing and how to get started
Bodysurfing is exactly what its name suggests – riding waves using your body, rather than a board like traditional surfing.
The great news is that you don’t need, or want, huge waves to get started. Any spot where there are some waves that break cleanly and run for a little while is perfect. Aside from the waves, all you need is yourself, a desire to get wet and a bit of timing when it comes to catching waves. You can have a play at bodysurfing without any expensive equipment. A wetsuit is a good idea as it will keep you warm and provides some protection.
Start catching waves by staying within your depth. Much like any other kind of surfing, you want to make sure you’re jumping onto the wave just as it starts to break and you need to stay just ahead of wave once it’s broken.
What equipment do you need?
If you decide that bodysurfing is the sport for you, there are a few simple pieces of equipment you may want to invest in. Aside from a wetsuit, you may also want wetsuit boots and a hood if you feel the cold.
Fins are also a good idea if you’d like to start catching larger waves and going for waves that are breaking out of your depth. You just want short fins, like those used by bodyboarders, to give you the speed to get onto larger waves.
A hand plane is also a good investment if you love bodysurfing. This is a flat plane a little larger than your hand, with a strap across the back. You can use this flat surface to help you ride waves and having one of these on your hand will allow you to extend your ride too.
Top tips for bodysurfing
The best advice when it comes to bodysurfing is to just have a go. The UK Bodysurfing Association has a great map that not only shows you where some of the top bodysurfing spots in the world are, but also gives you real-time updates on conditions.
The association also hosts regular meet ups for its members, so if you want to join the growing bodysurfing community in the UK, it’s worth paying for a membership and getting involved.
About South Hand Crafted (SHC)
SHC love body surfing, as well as any other outdoor activity and it was this love of getting in the waves that made founder, ‘Big Wave Dave’ start the business. You’ll find them on the south coast of England in a converted toilet, where Dave whittles hand planes, among other things, with hand tools in his small workshop.
Their aim is to help more people have #adventureswithnature – a concept that’s summed up by starting with a piece of wood that you craft into something you can surf with and begin your own adventure.
Check out SHC’s Instagram feed for new projects, social meetups and adventuring inspiration. Everyone is welcome to hang out with them by Boscombe Pier – on a flat day they’ll get the skateboards out instead of the hand planes – and there are plenty of willing teachers on hand to help get you started on your own #adventureswithnature.
For more information, visit the website: www.southhandcrafted.co.uk
Image: BEN SCHOFIELD, DORSET / PHOTO: BRADY GEE
Image: SHC HANDPLANES SELECTION / PHOTO: WWW.DAVIDRGERMAIN.COM