THE FACTS

Sunday Herald Sun - Body and Soul - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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