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Boardcave’s Body Surfing Buying Guide

If you are looking to try something new in the realm of surfing, then switching into something more ‘natural’ like body surfing might be just what you’re looking for.

What is Body Surfing

In its simplest definition body surfing is riding a wave without the use of surfboards or any flotation device. Some might say that this is glorified swimming, but body surfing is no pushover. It requires body control, positioning skills, and wave knowledge. Skills and knowledge than even an experienced surfer must know to master the waves.

Body Surfing Equipment

The idea of simply gliding over the waves without the use of any type of equipment is definitely possible. After all, this is the purest definition of what body surfing is. However, many body surfers have turned to body surfing aids such as a surfing hand plane or body surfing fins that help enhance the experience.

Body surfing hand plane

First time users of body surfing planes might find it getting in the way of their natural swimming stroke. After all, the weight of a body surfing hand plane in one hand distorts the natural balance giving you some discomfort. But with time and practice this could also give you…..

Also referred to as a body surfing hand board or hand slide, a body surfing hand plane provides lift, control, speed, and power. It helps reduce body drag in the water by lifting your body up on the water surface. The body surfing plane is also used to steer, generate faster speeds, and smoothen the ride. It basically looks like a small surfboard with straps to anchor your hands. A hand plane can be worn on either or both hands depending on your preference.

Benefits of using body surfing hand plane

· Faster speeds

· Better lift

· Sharper corners

· Stronger pull into the wave

Body surfing fins

Body surfers use their arms and legs to maneuver, catch waves, and propel themselves in the water. Body surfing fins in particular makes it easier for you to catch waves, swim out easier, and provides better control. It also gives you extra airtime with a few flicks of your legs. Body surfing fins can also help you get out of a difficult situation quickly. These fins help you exit a wave or prevent you from being dragged far out to sea.

Benefits of using body surfing fins

· Conserves energy by making swimming easier

· Helps you catch more waves

· Better control

· Improves speed

· Bigger airs

What to look for in body surfing fins

Most consider body surfing fins a definite must. When shopping for a surfing fin these must be comfortable, durable, and provide thrust. Careful attention should be given on proper fit. Poorly built fins can also lead to injury. The best body surfing fins are made from natural or synthetic rubber. These are both lightweight and comfortable making it easy for you to maneuver.


Safety trumps fun all the time. Keep yourself protected at all times by wearing a wetsuit when necessary. When the water feels too cold for comfort then wearing a wetsuit is a good idea. Remember that your body is the most important equipment when body surfing and keeping it warm and protected at all times is the best way to keep your body surfing experience safe and fun. You could check our list of the best wetsuits for surfing here.

Benefits of wearing a wetsuit

· Protection

· Keeps you warm

· Helps you maintain flexibility in cold water

· Makes it easier to float

· Helps you swim better

What to Remember Before Body Surfing

Body surfing is both fun and challenging. It is used by professional surfers as an alternative sport to help hone their surfing skills. Because it is done without the aid of surfboards or bodyboards, much of the focus is on your swimming ability.

Before deciding to hit the waters check the wave conditions. How strong are the waves and where does this break? Everything depends on your swimming skills. Remember that surfboard or not you are still surfing those waves. And your lack of technical ability will show if you are not a strong swimmer.

Body surfing hand planes and body surfing fins does not only make body surfing fun but also much safer. These give you better control which could mean the difference between a wipeout and a cool ride.

How to wear your body surfing hand plane correctly

Even the best equipment is useless unless it is worn properly. In this case, knowing how to wear a surfing hand plane ensures that you get the most out of it.

Step1. Position the body surfing plane with the nose pointing away from you.

Step2. Be sure that the topside (straps are located) is facing up.

Step3. Insert your fingers with the exception of your thumbs into the strap.

Step4. Position your palm at the center of the board with your fingers spaced for better grip

Step5. Tighten the strap to lock your hand in place but too tight that it interferes with circulation

How to Body Surf with a Body Surfing Hand Plane

It takes some getting used to but wearing a surfing hand plane makes it easier for you to catch waves and have better control, hold the line when surfing the waves. But the biggest advantage of using a body surfing plane is the lift it generates when entering the wave. It helps raise your upper body over the water, reducing drag and increasing speed.

Step1. Put your body surfing hand plane on your dominant hand

Having something attached in one of your hands distorts your balance and makes your swimming stroke feel awkward. But having the surfing hand plane inserted in your dominant hand gives you better control and makes it easier for you to adjust your movements.

Step2. Heading to the waves

Head out until the water reaches your chest level. Stretch your hand board equipped hand in front of you with your free hand paddling to propel forward. You could also place your free hand over the body surfing plane while fully stretching your body in a supine position and use your feet to swim forward. Keep your hand board flat and pointed forward.

Step3. Riding a wave

Once you have identified your wave, fully stretch your body, and point your hand plane towards your desired line. Start swimming and kick your feet to pick up speed. Position your surfing hand plane into the surface of the water and feel how it lifts your body out of the water.

Body Surfing versus Board Surfing

There are no winners here and both body surfing and board surfing should be considered healthy and fun just any water activity like swimming or water sport. However, body surfing provides some unique benefits that could be a big help for surfers.

Body surfing helps you become a stronger swimmer and improves your breathing technique. Because it places so much emphasis on your skills, you are able to understand waves better, how to catch them, and identify surf conditions. It also gives you a more personal connection with the ocean which can make you a better all-around surfer.