When I first started surfing, I fully embraced the whole “surfers versus bodyboarders” ethos. More than anything, it made me feel more connected to my surfing buddies at the time, as if laughing and pointing at the guys waddling awkwardly toward the water with their swimfins would help to make me a “real” surfer. That was until I discovered how absolutely pitted you could get on a bodyboard in just about any size surf. Maybe that is why I usually find bodyboarders, bodysurfers, surfmat riders, and handplanes users among the most stoked people in the water. They are regularly in the place where every wave rider wants to be – deep inside the barrel.
Perhaps it is partly due to jealousy from stand-up surfers that has sparked this rivalry with prone riders. As I have become more and more interested in surf history and board design (and, dare I say, more mature in my views toward what can be considered “surfing”), I find myself drawn to surf craft that allows for the most fun in the water in a variety of surf conditions. If a handplane, wooden paipo, or boogieboard get me amped for a session in 2 foot shorebreak, isn’t that a good thing? And if I have a better-than-average chance at getting barreled in the process, that is even better.