Surfing vs Body Surfing: What’s the Difference?

The ocean has always been a source of endless fascination and excitement for humans, and surfing and body surfing are two of the most popular ways to enjoy the waves. Although they share some similarities, such as the love of the ocean and the thrill of riding a wave, there are some key differences between the two sports. This article will explore these differences and provide you with a better understanding of what sets these two sports apart.


The equipment used in surfing and body surfing is vastly different. Surfers use a board made of foam or fiberglass, usually ranging in size from 5 to 12 feet long. The board has fins on the bottom, which help the surfer to turn and maneuver while riding the wave. On the other hand, body surfers don’t use any equipment, except for a pair of swim fins. Body surfing is an all-natural sport, and relies solely on the body’s natural swimming and balancing ability.


The techniques used in surfing and body surfing are also different. In surfing, the surfer paddles out to the waves on their board, waits for a wave to come, then stands up on the board and rides the wave to shore. The goal is to catch the wave as early as possible, then ride it as long as possible, while performing maneuvers such as cutbacks, bottom turns, and aerials. In contrast, body surfing is performed by riding the wave with your body. The body surfer swims out to the waves using their fins to help them swim faster, then catches the wave with their body and rides it to shore. The body surfer needs to be able to read the waves, time their entry just right, and position their body to ride the wave properly.


The experience of surfing and body surfing is vastly different. Surfing is often seen as a more social sport, where surfers gather in groups to share the stoke, and help each other catch waves. It’s a very dynamic sport, where you’re constantly moving, paddling, and riding the wave. Surfing also requires a lot of physical strength, balance, and coordination.

Body surfing, on the other hand, is a more intimate experience with the ocean. Since there is no board between the surfer and the water, the body surfer feels every nuance of the wave as it passes under them. The body surfer must rely on their own strength and swimming ability to catch and ride the wave, which requires a great deal of skill and finesse.


Surfing and body surfing are two vastly different ocean sports, each with its own unique equipment, techniques, and experiences. While surfing is all about riding a board and performing maneuvers, body surfing is all about feeling the power of the waves and connecting with the ocean. Whether you choose to ride the waves with a board or with your own body, one thing is for sure – you’re sure to have an amazing time in the water.

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