Looking for an activity you can do as a family? Bodyboarding is by far one of the most satisfying, fun and exhilarating outdoor sports you can take up as a family. You won’t look back!
Are you trying to find an outdoor family activity that would appeal to all members of the family?
If you love the beach and the ocean, perhaps we could sway you in giving bodyboarding a try. We love bodyboarding because skill levels, age and size is irrelevant which means that everyone can have a great time.
An added bonus if you love the beach too as not the entire day has to be spent in the water. You can play in the sand, play ball, relax or even have a bit of a snooze!
At Bodyboard 101, we’ll be able to guide you through all the things you may need to get you started.
However, if you’re still not convinced it may be the right choice, let me tell you why bodyboarding is great for families and how this has become something we, as a family, look forward to all the time.
Bodyboarding Is Easy
Yes! Take it from me! I only learnt how to bodyboard when I was 40!
Unlike surfing where you have to stand upright to catch a wave, you’re lying down on a bodyboard. Your centre of gravity is more spread out. It is therefore easier to balance and easier to catch a wave.
It is also a far easier sport to pick up because you don’t have to go out into the great unknown to catch a wave. Even a small break will give you a little push to shore and you can catch these in waist deep water.
Learning how to bodyboard took me no time at all and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not that co-ordinated.
Bodyboarding Is for All Levels
This is one sport that all different levels are catered for. In our family, the 3 of us have different skill sets and yet, we are all able to get in the water and find our fun.
We are able to spend time with our daughter closer to shore while Andrew also gets to go out into the blue yonder to catch those gnarly waves.
Bodyboarding is also suitable for really young children. There is nothing more fun than being able to catch a wave with your kids. Especially when they’re nestled between your arms and they’re squealing with excitement as you’re whizzing through the water towards the beach.
Teaching Kids to Respect the Ocean
No better way to learn to respect the ocean than to be in the ocean. When we’re with the kids, we only ever go to patrolled beaches.
Children on bodyboards are permitted to bodyboard between the flags whereas the surfers can’t. From a safety perspective I have always felt it was much safer to bodyboard.
We teach the children to always look back to see if they are still within the flags and to make sure they look out for their friends. It’s so easy to digress from the safe zone. Not only that, the surf life savers also move the flags as the condition of the ocean changes. So it’s important to remind them to be vigilant.
Being on the ball and looking out for each other does not mean you go out and them if you know you’re not able to. But you can raise the alarm so that the surf life savers or anyone nearby can help.
This is also a good time to know when the ocean is angry and it’s time to get out.
Learning how to spot dangerous rips is important. Before heading down to the beach, we always have a look from up the top. We always get our daughter to point out where the rips are so we know she is aware. Of course, that can change in a flash but surf life savers would never put flags where the rips are so that’s another great way of making sure you’re in a safe zone.
The Great Outdoors
What better way to spend the summer months than in the water! Finding a family activity that everyone loves in the great outdoors is of course such a healthy, not to mention fun thing to do.
Great for fitness and exercise as bodyboarding is an all-body workout while having a whale of a time. You don’t even realise how much energy you’ve exerted until you stop and head home and all of a sudden, you’re just exhausted!
As time goes on, only bodyboarding in the summer is no longer enough for us so we do head out in early autumn too. If we’re really desperate, we also get in at the tail end of spring even though it’s cold!
Bodyboarding Helps with Fear of Water
If you’re afraid of the ocean, bodyboarding is a great way to dip your toes in compared to surfing. By engaging in an activity that is fun, you’re actively doing something instead of just thinking about being in the water.
Surfing is too hard and you have to go out too far to catch a wave which isn’t great if the surf scares you.
The bodyboard is also slightly buoyant and I know that when I get a bit tired, I can rely on the bodyboard to keep me somewhat afloat. It isn’t however a flotation device so please don’t think your kids will be safe without you looking.
It’s A Cheap Sport for Beginners
Bodyboards for kids are cheap to buy. You can pick up a foam one if you’re just trying out. In beach side holiday homes in Victoria, Australia, quite a few of them have bodyboards so you don’t even have to rent or buy any.
If you’re travelling interstate or overseas, you can grab these cheap bodyboards just for a bit of fun without having to lug your own bodyboards. We’ve done this a couple of times.
On our trip to Hawaii, we were waiting for our Uber at the hotel lobby and a family arriving back from the beach asked us if we wanted their bodyboards as they didn’t want to lug it back with them as it was their last day.
We were stoked and we accepted them. When we left, we did the same thing and passed it on to another family. Great way to recycle some bodyboards!
Bodyboarding is a summer sport so in most cases the water is warm enough for you to bodyboard with the kids. No need for wetsuits. Especially if you think they won’t last too long in the water to begin with.
Also you don’t need to worry about fancy accessories just yet. Of course they do all give you a better experience best not to invest in them until you’re sure the family will love it.
No Lessons Required
Unlike surfing, you don’t need lessons. Have a play in the water and you’ll catch your first wave in the first 10 to 15 minutes.
You can think about lessons later when you catch the bug and you want to now ride those unbroken waves! Might need to upgrade from your foam bodyboard before you do that though!
Group Holiday Fun
Bodyboarding is an excellent group holiday activity. Almost every long weekend in summer and spring we head out to beach towns with other families and their kids. Not only are the kids excited about hitting the ocean with each other, they love spending time at a holiday home together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Bodyboarding is almost instant fun and it is so easy to pick up.
Unlike surfing where you have to learn to ride a wave upright, you can catch waves on a bodyboarding, lying prone on your chest and stomach. Surfing requires skill and there are some techniques you have to master before you catch your first real wave. When you’re starting out, less technique is required for bodyboarding which is why it’s such a great sport for families.
Yes you can. You don’t have to swim out far or go beyond the breaks to be able to bodyboard. You can catch waves even in knee to waist deep waters.
With bodyboarding, you can actually catch more type of waves than you can surfing. As you can bodyboard smaller waves too, it is therefore the perfect outdoor sport to take even the littlest of the kids.
If you’re just testing the waters and seeing if your family will enjoy the sport, all you need are bodyboards!
If you don’t want to invest in bodyboards to start with, you can rent them or borrow them from friends.
Wetsuits are a personal preference. If you’re going to a warm water you don’t need it. Wetsuits are only required if you run cold and don’t feel you can get in the water without one.
Bodyboarding is one of the most popular ocean sports for families. As you’re able to bodyboard in small waves and you’re lying prone on the board, it is a safe sport for the whole family.
However, like all ocean sport, you are susceptible to the dangers of the surf, just as you would if you were just swimming. Always swim between the flags and don’t bodyboard in the rips.
Surely, we have managed to convince you! It’s just such a wholesome and all-inclusive family activity you can share with your kids. If you need more convincing, Is bodyboarding the new surfing? is an interesting read.
If we have persuaded you to give family bodyboarding a go, here are some great resources to help you get started on your journey.
- Bodyboarding or Surfing for Beginners?
- How To Catch Waves on a Bodyboard for Beginners
- 17 Bodyboarding Beach Hacks for Family Day Trips
- Best Kids Bodyboard To Buy
- Parts of A Bodyboard: Ultimate Guide
We’re Andrew & Amy and we are a small blended family that love to bodyboard! We’re here to share everything we know to help you with your bodyboarding adventure as a beginner, with your family or if you’re transitioning onto intermediate level. Let’s go!