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We have just re-published a very useful 1950s guide which has excellent advice on how to surf ride on wooden bodyboards. Now available for sale online - if you would like to buy a copy - click here


We have also included some top tips here on

How to use a Wooden bodyboard or bellyboard

The first steps....

Surfer SketchFirst find a beach with wide stretches of level sand and clean breaking waves preferably free from pebbles and rocks. There needs to be some ‘life’ in the waves . Don’t waste your time with an original board in a calm sea - you're better off swimming or taking time out on the beach or in the local cafe. Conditions vary enormously but the surf is often at its best on an incoming tide. In the height of summer avoid the busiest times if you can.


How to start....

If you’ve never used a wooden bodyboard or bellyboard before - bizarrely one of the best ways to learn is to try to catch a wave without a board!

We also recommend that you only go out to waist high water and get your timing right before attempting the biggest breakers. More experienced surfers can don flippers and join the pro surfers out the back.


Holding your wooden bodyboard or bellyboard

Riding the surfTo avoid a major nose dive make sure you hold it with the curve facing upwards! Most people hold their board just before the curve starts, but its a personal thing - just hold it where it feels most comfortable.

You need to think of your board as a part of yourself and then yourself as a part of the wave. It’s important to hold your board tightly against your body before you ‘take-off’.

The Take off

This is the crucial moment! Timing is more critical than with a boogie board. The art is to time your take-off at the point when the wave is breaking directly behind you. Some people say you need to launch off just as the wave is about to hit your bum! You need to get yourself into a position where you can flatten yourself onto the board with the least amount of effort and the least delay as you launch into the wave.

It's also important to select your wave carefully - don’t just catch the first wave that comes along - take a good look out to sea and study the waves in the distance. Always try to keep full control of your board and to avoid a collision also be aware of fellow surfers in the sea.

By turning the board very slightly to your right or left you can change direction without losing speed.

Safety advice

You'll find excellent safety advice on Royal National Lifeboat Institute's website www.rnli.org.uk with links to surf forecasts and beach guides.