Bodyboarding and Boogie Boarding Basics

Published: 18th December 2008
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Copyright (c) 2008 Barry Crowther

In its most basic form, a boogie board is a shaped piece of rigid foam that's specifically designed for wave surfing. They've been around for over 30 years and provide an inexpensive, fun and safe outdoor activity for riders of all ages, sizes and skill levels. Far less expensive than surfing, boogie boards are also easier to learn to ride, and just about anyone can get the hang of one over the course of an afternoon at the beach. Even the most elaborate and expensive equipment and accessory getups usually cost no more than a couple hundred dollars.

Boogie Boarding Basics

Each boogie board should come with a tether, an accessory which attaches it to the rider's body via a wrist strap. Experienced boogie boarders also recommend the use of flippers or fins on the feet, which makes it much easier to catch the crest of a wave and ride. There are several safety tips that riders new to the world of boogie boarding should be careful to follow. First, never ride alone. Always go to the beach with a friend, and stay together. One person should stay on the shore while the other rides. It's also better to stay relatively close to the shore, at least initially, and make sure there's a lifeguard station within view. Also, avoid waves that don't break until they reach the shore, as they'll only guide your body straight down. More than one novice has ended up with a mouthful of wet sand this way.

Jay Reale is from Ocean City, Maryland and is the first-ever pro bodyboarder from the east coast. He was born in 1964, and learned to ride waves on inflateable rafts in his early teen years, switching to a bodyboard when his brother Mitch loaned his to Jay one day. He hasn't looked back since. Jay began bodyboarding full-time in 1980 at the age of 16, and entered the local contest scene right away in between working at mom and dad's bakery and playing drums and singing in a rock band. He won the fourth event he ever entered, and dominated amateur bodyboarding on the east coast until moving to California in 1987. During that time, he amassed 4 ESA Championship titles, 1 Mid-Atlantic Regional Title, was an ESA All-Star, and winner of the ESA's Marsh Scholarship which he used to get his bachelor's degree in Earth Science/Secondary Education in 1986. Jay was U.S. Amateur Champ in 1986, and took out the Morey Nationals in 1984 and 1986. Jay is recognized as the first-ever "champion" in the sport of bodyboarding by virtue of winning the first series of events that accumulated points toward crowning a champion when he won the 1982 Eastern Surfing Championships Bodyboarding division. His career has been long and illustrious nabbing 15 magazine cover shots worldwide, countless posters, profiles, and other articles and photos.


Barry Crowther has been working closely with Jay Reale, who has been winning bodyboarding competitions since he was a teenager. For more information about Bodyboarding and Boogie Boarding Basics please visit

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