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Bodysurfing in San Diego, California

Bodysurfing is the art and sport of riding a wave without the assistance of any buoyant device such as a surfboard or bodyboard. Bodysurfers often equip themselves with a pair of swimfins that aid propulsion and help the bodysurfer catch, ride and kick out of waves. Some bodysurfers also use a ‘handplane’ this helps get your chest out of the water to reduce drag.


Travis Overley bodysurfing at Banzai Pipeline. Shot by Rachel Newton

The Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic competition runs at the world-famous Banzai Pipeline. This event is considered[by whom?] to be a world-class pro-am competition [1] and yet is also considered one of the truly unique[citation needed] underground surf contests around. Among the bodysurfing population at large, the event is considered the premier event internationally. It is one of the only times a professional bodysurfing competition has exclusive access to the Pipeline's favorable winter waves.[citation needed] The event was last held in 2011 due to difficulties securing the location for exclusive use. The Da Hui Invitational Pipeline Bodysurfing Expression Session was held in March 2014. It consisted of a different format than the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic and awards were given to riders for Best Wave, Best Tube, Best Wipeout, Best Trick, Top Individual Performance and Top Team Performance.[2] A new style of bodysurfing competition has surfaced in Australia called the Whomp Off Australia. It was first held in 2016 and is a team based event whereby teams from all over Australia battle it out in tag team events, tricks events and individual heats. [3]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2011, Woodshed Films[4] released the first full length body surfing documentary, "Come Hell or High Water",[5] by Keith Malloy.

In October 2014, the Honolulu City Council proposed renaming popular bodysurfing destination Sandy Beach Park to President Barack Obama Sandy Beach Park. Located near Hanauma Bay on the east end of the island of Oahu in Hawaii, the beach is known for a large shore break and is popular among bodysurfing enthusiasts, including President Obama. President Obama is known to have bodysurfed at Sandy Beach while living in Honolulu as a child, and has done so as recently as a vacation taken to Hawaii while in office. Due to a lack of public support, the city council's proposal to rename the park was withdrawn around October 7, 2014. However, the council had approved a plaque to be placed at the park commemorating the President's fondness for bodysurfing there.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
  3. ^ Gilbey, Rikki. "Next Level Body Surfing Is Here". Coastalwatch. Coastalwatch. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  • "Secrets of a Kahuna Bodysurfer:A Spiritual Adventure Guide" by Lani E Lowel (1999/2006)
  • The Art of Bodysurfing by Robert Gardner (1972)
  • Bodysurf by Hugo Verlomme and Laurent Masurel (2002)
  • The Art of Wave Riding by Ron Drummond (1931)
  • The Encyclopedia of Surfing", 2005, Matt Warshaw, Harcourt Books, ISBN 0-15-100579-6
  • Swell Lines Magazine, 2014
  • " Plan to name popular Hawaiian beach after Obama is a wash-out" Reuters Online. Reporting by Steve Gorman. October 7, 2014