-The other afternoon I was out on a fairly crowded day, and it’s pretty clear that bodysurfers get treated like 2nd-rate citizens in the line-up. I got dropped in on, a lot. It was my wave, I was making the drop, and just ahead of me a surfer who thought I wasn’t going to make it looks me right in the face as he drops in to snake it. So it goes. I still got a ton of waves–mostly medium-sized waves that guys paddle for and just barely miss. And towards the end of the session, as people would notice that my rides were legitimate and weren’t just quick close-outs, I ended up getting a bit more respect. But I know I’ll get snaked again.
-The poundings can be downright dirty. As a thrill-junky, I don’t mind getting rattled, I think that’s half the fun, but holy crap can you get hammered. It’s all about the take-off, and the problem is two-fold. If you make the drop and take it too vertically, and don’t angle it enough to stay with the wave, you end up getting ahead of the lip. One of two things will happen. The first is that the lip will land directly on you, usually somewhere in your lower back, and the wave will violently try to rip you in half. The second thing that can happen is that you actually get fully in front of the lip, and it breaks immediately behind you. When this happens, you often times get fully launched out of the air….like, end up flopping your arms and legs around while you are airborne, as the wave throws you at its mercy. On one particularly memorable wipe-out I literally got water pushed under my eyelids while getting dragged under water. How’s that for the power of the ocean.
-I think a testament to the last statement is the fact that you get a ton more sand in your ass when you bodysurf. You just do.
As it says on Danny Hess’ website in his hand plane section, “I’ve occasionally had a bad time surfing, but I’ve never had a bad time body surfing.”
If you are considering giving it a go, I say do it. It’s incredibly fun. Fins aren’t too expensive, all the brands are pretty good. I’ve always used Churchills, for the almost two decades I’ve been bodysurfing, mostly because when I was a kid I saw Pointbreak and I thought the scene where the guy goes skydiving with Churchills was awesome. There are little mini-leashes that you can attach to your fins so that if they slip off your feet, they are still dangling around your ankle, which I think are a good idea. I’ve definitely had my fins ripped off my feet during some poundings.
Hope to see many of you out in the water, especially if you give bodysurfing a shot. "
Posted in Action Tags: bodysurf, bodysurfing, danny hess, hand plane, ocean beach, surfing
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