When my children were younger, I would sit with them and watch the Australian Lifeguard series Bondi Rescue. Being a lover of all things Australian but at the time having never visited, I didn’t understood why it seemed so many people would just stand around in the surf, slightly off shore. Thinking how boring the experience of being battered by the swell must be. Until I too sheepishly stood in the warm waters of the Tasman Sea, on Wollongong’s North Beach, alongside other bathers…
A trip to North Beach in Wollongong became a must, on the hot and sunny days we sweltered through, and a dip in the Tasman Sea formulated into a desire, to stand alongside other bathers in the swell on the main beach, patrolled by lifeguards. This place we decided was the safest to take our first tentative steps into the world of body surfing and only a short walk away from the harbour and our fish and chip tea, we were going to treat ourselves to that evening at Levendi’s on the harbour front.
Body Surfing: To float on the Crest of incoming waves without using a board.
Finally I was discovering what it was, that the Aussies loved about standing waist high in the water as the waves rolled in, learning that it could also be called ‘Body Bashing,’ due to the rough and tumble of the action when picking an untimely wave. There was a steep learning curve in the action.
Things to Consider: Want to take classes in body surfing. Many countries around the world offer classes. In the UK at Watergate Bay in Cornwall, Handplaning Classes cost £20 for two hours. In Australia you can take to the water on Bondi Beach and in America you can contact Chubascos body surfing association in California via Facebook.
Body surfing is thought to have been first experienced in the Polynesian islands and I can totally understand why they loved it. Finding myself, exhilaratingly thundering towards the sandy shoreline, at times being dumped unceremoniously in the shallows, being left gasping for breath, whilst trying to wash out of my swimming costume, the accumulation of grainy deposits that seemed determined to exfoliate my skin, without my permission.
Although you don’t necessarily need any equipment to Body Surf, which is exactly why I love it, you can buy both fins, handplanes and bellyboards to use in the art and sport of body surfing.
Body Surfing spots around the world:
Point Panic Hawaii (Tucked between Ala Moana beach and Kaka’ako waterfront park)
North Beach, Wollongong Australia – a good starter spot
Bantham, Devon. UK
Phuket west coast – (Low season)
By the time we sat down on the bench, to eat our crispy battered baramundi and chunky chips I was achingly tired, my mind felt peacefully quiet and finally I understood why.
- Start having a go at body surfing on a patrolled beach – whatever country you are in.
- Be prepared to be battered, so wear a swimming cozzie that will stay intact.
- Set out to be about waist height in the water.
- It can be really tiring when you first try it. So don’t overextend yourself, or you could end up in trouble.
- Last but not least – HAVE FUN!!!!!