Posted by: seahiker | August 31, 2008


It’s the Labour Day weekend and I’m visiting my sister down in San Diego.

Stairs leading down to Grandview Beach

Stairs leading down to Grandview Beach

I went down to Grandview beach with her and Doran, her husband, for some surfing and body surfing. One thing that’s really incredible about learning to improve your streamline with TI drills like skate is that it makes it a lot easier to get into waves and ride for much longer.

As an experiment, I tried to catch some waves without fins and was able to do it. The waves were 2-3 feet high, which isn’t that high for surfers, but quite nice for body surfing (they still crash over your head when you’re in chest deep water).

Then I put on a pair of Vipers, which are fins dedicated to body surfing, and after a few exhilarating rides, I got my first tube of the year. Mind you, it was a very brief one-second tube ride.

There’s so much about bodysurfing that is amazing. For one, you can catch a lot more waves when you’re in the water as you feel the surge of the wave much more and can react to it. It is also easier, much easier to make your way out through the impact zone. You can just dolphin clear under whitewater, pop-up and keep on swimming without losing any speed.

I am also re-inspired to customize a monofin for “subsurfing” – a permutation of bodysurfing that allows you to get sucked along under and behind the wave, just like a dolphin. But I also want to take a monofin on the wave face and see what it can do.

Want to get started with bodysurfing?

-Find a beach with sandbars and no rocks (ask the locals)

-Stay near the beach break at first and out of the way of surfers

-Don’t go for a wave that has a surfer on it!

-Protect your head when you get thrashed

-Remember that if you kick and swim really hard that you will be able to surf in the curl rather than just get pushed in by the white water.

-Try to rotate your hips a lot when using freestyle to get into the wave. That way you are more likely to catch the wave on your side, which means you will go faster and be less likely to slow down and lose the wave.

-Ask a lifeguard or a local about rips, currents, and hazards. If the waves look a little too big for you, just wait and watch to see if other surfers or swimmers are struggling, too.

Have fun!



  1. We were out in the Bay a couple of days ago – Fall weather kicking in with a strong north wind and huge waves. We dove the mouth of the river and the wave action was intense where it met the current. Had a great time bottom surfing in shallow water with my monofin. I was able to catch great surges in either direction. Body-surfing in a mono would be a blast. I’m guessing maybe a smaller, sturdy fin would be in order.

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