Who can do it? Any decent ocean swimmer can master it.
You get a cardiovascular workout through swimming to the break and treading water waiting for your wave. There’s a high-intensity phase as you swim and kick as hard as possible to catch it, and good core, arm and shoulder strength is required to act like a human surfboard to get into shore. Never bodysurfed before? Begin in waist- or chest-high water and look for sandy beaches with no submerged rocks or reef. Swim as fast as you can in front of a wave, then as it lifts you up, reduce or stop kicking, straighten your body and put one or both arms in front of you, pointing in the direction you want to go.
Always try to bodysurf between the flags. Not only will it stop you getting hit by board riders, you’ll usually find other bodysurfers out there who are happy to share their tips and a wave.
Do I need any equipment? You don’t need special equipment to start with but fins help you build up the speed to catch bigger waves, while hand-planes provide longer, cleaner rides and help you stick to your line or change direction.
Can I get a lesson? Check online for bodysurfing classes near you, or ask your local surf school. A surf life saving club could show you the ropes, too.