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Wave Safety: Is Bodyboarding Much Safer Than Surfing?

Bodyboarding and surfing are probably two of the most popular sports for riding waves. There has been a feud between these two sports for years, with much debating. Both activities use boards, but which one is safer than the other? 

Bodyboarding is safer than surfing because its difficulty level is lower. When bodyboarding, you can more precisely surf bigger waves, given the extra balance from being low and laying down. The chances of you falling into the water are low. So, not only is bodyboarding easier, but it is also safer.

Bodyboarding Versus Surfing: Safety

  • Bodyboarding is an activity that all individuals, including children, can easily practice.
  • In addition, surfing is more dangerous than boarding, especially if you go too far into the water.
  • Surfboards are more difficult to move or carry around because they are heavier.

Bodyboarding Versus Surfing: Difficulty Levels

If you are a beginner, it is better to start with bodyboarding. Unlike in surfing, you will stay in a prone position; therefore, it is easier to learn. Surfing skills are more difficult to learn. 

Considering you are prone to bodyboarding, you can charge bigger waves easily, which means you can have better balance and stability.

Contrary to standing on a surfboard, you will likely fall as waves increase.

Because bodyboarding is easier, it is also preferred by older people or those who suffer from an injury.

Bodyboarding requires less physical effort and is equally as fun as surfing. 

Bodyboarding Versus Surfing: Pros And Cons

As part of determining which activity is safer, we must check the overall pros and cons of both of them.

The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of bodyboarding and surfing.



  • There is a low possibility of falling off the bodyboard into the water. Therefore, you can feel safer when bodyboarding.
  • With bodyboarding, you can surf bigger waves with more precision. 
  • Any person can learn how to do bodyboarding and ride in waves and become a skilled surfer easily.
  • Bodyboards are portable, light, and easy to move around.
  • Bodyboarders can reach difficult waves that cannot be approached with a surfboard.
  • Bodyboards are easy and inexpensive to buy.
  • Bodyboarding lets you ride on powerful waves when you use your leg power and swim fins as a booster.
  • Bodyboards are flexible yet sturdy. They can also withstand tough waves.


  • Since you lay on the board, you could have a dull feeling of the thrill of riding in the waves.
  • It is not very challenging and does not require much creativity and skills.



  • Even though surfing is more complicated – and riskier than bodyboarding, it gives the person who practices it the prestige of mastering the skill.
  • You can use the abilities you learn from surfing to overcome some challenging situations. Plus, you can do plenty of things with a surfboard which is impossible with a bodyboard.
  • For surfing, you can use different types of surfboards and fin setups, for example, shortboards, longboards, and many more.


  • Surfers are not allowed to use surfboards in black ball areas. However, bodyboarders can surf pretty much anywhere.
  • When you’re injured, you can’t ride in the waves even if you have the best surfboard.
  • Most surfers lose their ability to perform when they reach old age.
  • You have limitations, such as being unable to surf at a specific time of the year when waves are absent.

Bodyboarding Versus Surfing: Who Wins?

As it happens, when you finally master the skill, surfing is very thrilling and challenging. The main aspect is your ability to operate the surfboard.

However, not everyone is happy with difficulty levels as such. The main reason is that maneuvering the board takes a great amount of practice and training.

For bodyboarding, it is much easier to master the skills. Accordingly, it eliminates the frustration you feel when you can’t ride with a surfboard.

Thus, your patience and commitment will be the key to determining if you choose bodyboarding versus surfing.

While some people enjoy surfing, others will prefer bodyboarding all the time. So, you must try the two to know which is safer and better for you.

Is Bodyboarding The Right Choice For You?

To help you answer the question, there are a few questions you have to ask yourself. 

  • What types of waves do you want to ride? 
  • How fast do you wish to learn and progress? 
  • How desperate are you to stand up on the board?

It is good to have a good idea of your goals before starting a lesson. This will naturally help guide you to the type of board you need.

Bodyboarding could be for you if you’re not desperate to stand up, don’t have good balance or patience, or would like to get riding waves sooner.

There has been a misconception about bodyboarding. It is a stepping stone for aspiring surfers, but that’s far from the truth.

Bodyboarding is quick to pick up; however, it can take a long time to master.

Considering that you ride waves while prone, one important benefit is that you fall off much less than surfing. This increases your time riding on waves and not falling into them.

Since your face is closer to the wave, you also get an increased sensation of speed.

Once you’ve picked up and seen some progress, you will eventually find it easier to achieve the ultimate goal of wave riding, which is getting in the tube. 

In addition, experienced bodyboarders also enjoy a greater variety of aerial maneuvers than surfers. Some of them include the rolls, the flips, spins, and sometimes all three.

Bodyboarding Safely

Follow some simple steps you can do to stay safe. These will reduce your probability of getting into trouble and come in handy for you to get the most out of bodyboarding.

Bodyboarding Safely: Checklist 

When bodyboarding, check these seven simple checks for a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • Always wear your leash 
  • Bodyboard with a partner.
  • Check your weather forecast.
  • Before each use, check your gear for damaged equipment.
  • Stick to the safety guidelines from the area.
  • Consider other water users.
  • Only bodyboard between the yellow and red flags. 

Bodyboarding Safely: Equipment

To get started, you’ll need the following equipment for a great bodyboarding experience: 


When buying a bodyboard (check out these options from Amazon with Prime delivery), you must consider your weight, height, and ability.

When you are a beginner, use a wide, thick, soft foam board. This board is ideal because it makes paddling, floating, and catching waves easier.


When bodyboarding, these are essential because they help you catch waves and swim against heavy currents.


Applying wax to your board’s deck will give you more grip strength.


You should always wear a leash when on a board. Usually, you would wear a leash around your bicep or wrist. If you fall off, you won’t lose your board.


You must get in the water with the correct wetsuit for the given water temperature.


There are plenty of ways for you to enjoy the ocean waves. Check what risk level you are willing to reach, then check your desires and patience. 

Bodyboarding is safer and an activity you can do with the whole family. At the same time, surfing will be riskier due to its difficulty levels.

All these aspects should help you choose to ride with the board that suits your fancy.