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Finding Your Tide [ When is Perfect for Bodyboarding? ]

The sea levels rise and fall throughout the day and seasons. Sometimes you see surf waves. You may sometimes see the sea is calmed and there are only swell waves. In this article, you will learn which are the best waves for bodyboarding.

It is better to bodyboard on low tides than on high tides. Low tides are better for beginners because it allows you to keep more control of your movements.

As you become more expert in the discipline, you will try out high tide conditions to challenge your skills. But, if you just want to have a good time, practice a bit or maybe spend some time teaching your children, low tide is the best for you.

Understanding High And Low Tides

If you are a regular visitor of a specific beach, you might have noticed that the sea conditions change from time to time. Tides are not the same throughout the whole year or even during the same day.

Why Does The Tide Change?

It has to do with the moon. As the earth moves around its axis, the moon affects the shape of the water. To make it simple, think about the moon as a magnet; it attracts the water mass.

As you know, it takes the earth 24 hours to finish rotating. It means that the tides keep on varying the whole day.

  • High Tides

High tides happen when the moon is in front of the water mass. Then, as the moon pulls the ocean and the earth continues rotating, the sea conditions change, and water moves around, creating high waves. If you are bodyboarding during high tides, there’s a high chance you will be wiped out in the process.

  • Low Tides

On the other hand, low tides occur when the moon is on the other side of the globe. Here the sea levels are a bit more controlled.

What Time Do Tides Occur?

So far, as you know, the moon has to do with the ocean’s behavior; you might think that high tide occurs only at night and low tide during the daytime, doesn’t it? Well, it’s a bit more intricate than that.

Experts suggest there are two high tides and two low tides throughout the day. You can find internet websites that track this behavior and tell you when the tides are high or low on a specific beach.

Is It Just About The Tides?

Actually, no. The tides are not the only component that decides the sea conditions. There are other factors bodyboarders consider before going for a ride.

The Swell

It is the orientation to where the waves are coming from. Bodyboarders need to know this because waves move in groups. Depending on the swell period, you will move faster or slower when riding a wave.

The Wind

Most people say this is the most crucial factor before going to board. Wind will determine the quality of the wave, depending on its direction.

Other Climate Conditions

Some weather conditions create differences in atmospheric pressure. We have made a list of some here:

  • Hurricanes: some people go for a ride during storms because they claim waves are higher. But, it is risky to bodyboard during a hurricane; you will not predict how the waves will act. Plus, you need to know that hurricane winds are high speed, making it difficult for you to keep balance.
  • Rain: it is ok to bodyboard while raining. Some people prefer it that way because the beaches are less crowded. However, rain brings litter and pollution to the beaches, so you should consider this contamination may affect your health.
  • Thunderstorms: It is not recommended to go bodyboarding during a thunderstorm because of the sodium and chlorine molecules. The sodium becomes a positive charge, and chlorine becomes a negative charge.

Recommendations To Bodyboard

Bodyboarding is more straightforward than surfing, but it can be tricky. There are a few bodyboarding recommendations you should follow before you even start.

  1. Make sure you eat moderately before bodyboarding. Your abdominal muscles will be engaged throughout the process, and this can cause your stomach to get upset. Consider too that you would be subjected to a lot of movement as well.
  2. Let your muscles know they should be ready. Practice some cardio and stretching exercises to prevent any cramps.
  3. Check the tides chart, wind direction, and swelling before you dive in.
  4. Do not board alone, especially during high tide.

Understanding Waves

Before you make a final decision on the best tides to bodyboard, let’s understand more about the waves there are.

Capillary Waves

You can usually find these waves nearshore. They are not aggressive, and they are caused by water inertia and tension. The wavelength is nonexistent because they last less than a second.

Long-Period Waves

This category includes waves that last up to 20 minutes. Tsunamis and storm surges fall under this category. Long-period waves occur as the aftermath of a previous event. For example, tsunamis happen when there’s been an earthquake. On the other hand, hurricanes and typhoons cause storm surges. 

Breaking Waves

These types of waves are more visible as they approach the shore. Their main characteristic is that its crest ends abruptly on itself. Some of them end softly, while others break intensely.

Deep Water Waves

These waves have their origin in deep waters, which allows them to grow big. 

The Best Waves To Bodyboard

The best waves to bodyboard depend on your level of expertise. If you are a beginner, the best waves to ride would be the small and moderate tides.

As you gain experience, you can move to more aggressive tides. Finally, experience allows you to be more balanced to ride more giant waves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is bodyboarding dangerous?

Yes, it can be dangerous. There have been several instances such as:

  • People who got lost while bodyboarding
  • Bodyboard breaking in the middle of a ride
  • People drowning
  • People boarding in hazardous climate conditions

How do you tell if the tide is high or low?

You must check the charts provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to identify high tide or low tide occurrences in your area.

What are the best conditions for bodyboarding?

Experts recommend you start by the capillary waves if you are going through the training phase until you learn the basics. Then, once you know how to paddle and kick while maintaining your balance, you can go for deeper waters.

Be careful not to get overconfident about your skills; always board with a partner or someone who can follow through with your rides just in case something unexpected happens.

What waves are good for boogie boarding?

You should make sure the wavelength doesn’t exceed 25 inches. These are the safest waves to ride, especially when you are not an expert.

What wind speed is good for bodyboarding?

The winds shouldn’t exceed ten mph if you want to have a good boarding session. Faster currents will make it difficult for you to move within the water once the waves break.


It is better to ride waves during low tide rather than high tide. This is because high tides are uncertain, and they can make deep water waves more aggressive. But, bear in mind that tides are not the only thing to consider when you go bodyboarding.

Other climate conditions are equally important. For example, wind direction and ocean swelling are essential to your performance. Additionally, hurricanes and typhoons can also change the sea conditions.

Bodyboarding has to be a fun experience that you enjoy; we just hope this information can get you closer to that!