Body surfing has been around for a very long time. Check out our previous article on the history of handboarding and you get the picture. It is arguably the longest serving ocean / watersport know to mankind.
However bodysurfing has always had to take a back seat in popularity to other boards sports like stand up surfing, but it has always kept it's mantle position as the purest of wave riding sports.
Due to the fact that bodysurfing has been around for so long in so many different countries around the world the name or word for bodysurfing has different meaning. Wherever you go it even varies from one county or province to the next, from Australia to Hawaii the locals all have their own terms to conjure up the pure beauty and spectacle that is bodysurfing. For the most part these names have stuck.
There is a reason every time you see the winners podium at the swimming at the Olympic games there is at least one Aussie standing there. Australia is a nation that has 30.000km of coastline and of the 30million people that live there, most of them live very close to the beach. If you ever have the luck of making a trip to Australia no matter the season there will always be people in the ocean.
Bodysurfing has been a part of their culture for as long as there have been people on the continent, bodysurfing is also known as 'body bashing.' Body bashing is colloquial for the rough and tumble of the experience of being dumped by badly chosen waves.
If there is one thing the Californians are great at, above all else, it's making stuff famous. Waves and bodysurfing are no exception. The Wedge over the years has become the penultimate test of a body surfers ability and is probably the most photographed wave in the world, for good reason! check out our history guide to bodysurfing to read about the role California has played in raising the awareness of our awesome sport.
Body "whomping" is a localized Southern California term for bodysurfing at a beach with an extreme beach break. Any failure to pull out of the wave can result in being thrown into less than 2 inches of water, potentially resulting in injury...like a broken collarbone or neck. They may be referred to differently and techniques vary slightly, but they are the essentially the same sport.
Bodysurfing on the islands is immensely popular and very well respected as the ultimate watermen and woman. Bodysurfing is practiced around the world and is known in Hawaii as he'e umauma (sliding with the chest), while surfing with a board, handboard, handplane is called he'e nalu (literally, wave sliding). You may be starting to see the correlation with the branding of Slyde! Sliding is what we do, whether it is on a stomach, handboard, handplane, surfboard or a snowboard, it is all about the Slyde.