Bodyboarding Maneuvers and Tricks

Drop Knee Bodyboard
by 'Laurent'

Basic Bodyboarding Maneuvers

The maneuvers are divided into 4 different types :

All descriptions are made for a ride on a left hand wave, if your favorite break is a right hander, just reverse all the body, hand and arm positions

Basic Maneuvers

Bottom Turn

Bodyboard Bottom Hand Turn

A Bottom Turn
is to make a turn once you reach the bottom of a wave after taking off without losing any speed.

Too often, this basic maneuver is forgotten or not well executed , but a good bottom turn is the key for all others maneuvers, in other words you can't try to do 360's if you can't do properly a bottom turn.

A bottom turn is done by putting your weight on the left side of your bodyboard, digging the rail with your left elbow, lifting the other rail with your right hand, lifting off the water your inside leg and look towards your destination.

Once you feel that the turn has started and that you are now well positioned in the curl of the wave, leaving behind you the white foam, center your body back in the middle of the bodyboard, release the pressure on both your hip and your elbow, and slide forward your body slightly to get speed.

Now you are ready to execute the first basic trick!

Cut Back

A cut back
is a turn back to the curl of the wave either to regulate your speed (if you were too fast and close to get out of the wave) or to get re-positioned waiting for a section with a throwing lip.

A Cut Back is one of the most fundamental moves in bodyboarding

  1. Choose a wave with a nice shoulder but without a lip nor a barrel
  2. Start by doing a turn on your left to just under the top of the wave
  3. Once you reach the spot where you want to start your Cut Back, shift your weight on the outside rail , apply pressure with your right hand in the middle of your right rail (pivot) , lift up the left corner of the nose with your left hand and initiate a strong turn on your right so you can actually ride the wave towards the tube (it's like you are now riding a right hander)
  4. Look at the inside of the wave and do not get tempted to watch at the spray you are doing , visualize the spot where you want to stop your turn and get back to the right position.
  5. Once you reach that spot, simply do a turn on your left to get back in the curl of the wave and shift your weight back to the normal position.

This last turn can be done before the white foam in front of you or can be done hitting this white foam (Re entry).

For advanced riders, this Re entry turn at the end of a Cut Back can be even coupled with a 360 reverse !!!

Drop Knee Riding (AKA DK, Jack Stand or Hawaiian Stand)

Once you pull all the tricks prone riding, you can try Drop Knee riding as a bodyboard can be ridden in both stance and the panel of figures is just as wide.

drop knee riding

Drop Knee Riding
is kneeling on a bodyboard with one knee at the back and one foot up at the front, for natural bodyboarders the left foot is at the front.

Drop Knee DK Riding is a different approach to bodyboarding compared to prone riding; it is very close to surfing in terms of maneuvers and technique but in the same time the panel of tricks is wider and it is actually much harder, just think about standing up on shortboard without fins.

The story about Drop Knee Riding said that Jack "the Ripper" Lindholm was the first bodyboarder to ride like this and it was during a demonstration in between two heats of the Pipe Master ; it was a solid 12 feet + on that day.

How to Drop Knee Ride?

In the beginning, you have to choose a flat wave with an easy take off; once you feel that you can take off and be in drop Knee quickly enough to go for a bottom turn , you can start to take off in hollow wave.

5 Easy Steps:

Note: described for a regular bodyboarder riding a right-hander, just reverse all the body hand and arm positions for a left-hander and if you are not regular.

  1. Once you have started taking off prone riding (picture 1), get up on your knees (picture 2)
  2. With the palm of your left hand, apply pressure on the middle of left rail to get a better control of the bodyboard while lifting up your leg (picture 3)
  3. Start to lift up from the water your left foot and put it on the nose of the bodyboard; at the same time, use your left hand to compensate and keep the bodyboard balanced.
  4. Take out your right hand which was, since the take off, holding the top right corner of the bodyboard (picture 4)
  5. Hold your left hand in the (position of 2) until you feel completely stable

Note: your right foot should be in the water with your fin acting as a rudder.

Bodyboarding how to drop knee
Bodyboarding how to drop knee
Bodyboarding how to drop knee
Bodyboarding how to drop knee

360 Turn

360 Turn
is a full rotation (360 degrees).

This maneuver can be done on the flat section of a wave, in the white foam, off the lip or even in the air (air 360) You can do a 360 while prone riding (see picture) or drop knee riding. The technique is the exactly the same wherever you intend to try a 360.

You have taken off on a nice wave, made a good bottom turn and you are right in the curl of the wave; here are the steps to do a 360:
  1. Start by doing a slight turn on your left (facing the wave), this will initiate the 360.
  2. Slide forward on your bodyboard so your face will be roughly at the level of your bodyboard's nose, the idea is to have your body well centered on your bodyboard so neither the tail nor the nose will dive off
  3. Lift up your legs (you may even cross them), arch your back and throw your head on the left; keep looking in the direction where you want to spin, your shoulder will follow the move
  4. Once the 360 is completed, re engage your rail ( same technique as the Bottom Turn ) to gain speed for the next move and put back your feet in the water. Your first 360 is done!


360 Reverse

This is exactly the same as a 360, but instead of starting your spin on the left, you start your spin on the right; it's a bit more complex than the 360 but it can be a really nice trick if well executed

  1. Start by doing a slight turn on your left to the top of the wave.
  2. Once you reach the top of the wave, slide forward on your bodyboard, lift up your legs arch your back and turn down to the face of the wave
  3. Throw your head and shoulders to the right towards the tube and keep looking to the right until your spin is completed
  4. Once the Reverse 360 is done, re engage your rail and put back your feet in the water.

Note: a Reverse 360 on a left hander is actually a normal 360 on a right hander and vice versa; try to surf on both your left and right to master these tricks.

Basic Combinations

If you feel comfortable now with degree turn on a bodyboard 360, Reverse 360 and cut back; you can start thinking about some simple combos:

A 360 immediately followed by a Reverse 360 ; or a cut back followed by a Reverse 360 etc.. Even these simple combos can look really good!


Air also called an aerial
is a maneuver in which the entire bodyboard extends above the lip.

Bodyboarding how to ride

This is a really important maneuver in modern bodyboarding; you have to master this trick before trying the intermediate combinations and expert maneuvers described below. As its name suggests, an air is a turn where the entire bodyboard extends above the lip of a wave.

  1. Choose a wave with a steep section and a lip that is going to throw.
  2. Make sure that you have plenty of speed and aim at this lip; do not try to hit it vertically, choose an angle that will allow you to land in front of the wave after flying over it.
  3. Once you hit the lip, throw your weight up and towards the front of the wave.
  4. After landing, re engage you rail for the next move.

El Rollo

The El Rollo
is a cornerstone trick in bodyboarding, it consists of an air but just after being pushed by the lip, the bodyboarder has to roll over before landing.
Bodyboard El Rollo
El Rollo
Like a 360, there are some variations for the El Rollo: through the lip in a close out section or inside the barrel (Barrel Roll)
  1. Choose a wave with a steep section and a lip that is going to throw.
  2. Make sure that you have plenty of speed and aim at this lip; choose a similar angle to hit it like in an air.
  3. Once you reach the lip, release your rail (do not let it stick to the curl of the wave) arch your head and back and look at where you are going to land.
  4. Follow the direction of the wave with your bodyboard and body to start the roll down and to be sure that you will land with the bottom of your bodyboard first!
  5. After landing, re engage you rail for the next move.

El Rollo means in Spanish "the roll", you have to follow the natural cylindrical move of the lip with your bodyboard; it is easier than it looks if you choose the right wave!

Click Here for Intermediate and Advanced Bodyboard Manouvers

These sections include......

Intermediate Combinations

Advanced Bodyboarding Maneuvers

Double Your Pleasure-Combos With Two Similar Maneuvers

Ruin Your Back Combos With Two Different Maneuvers

Click Here for Intermediate and Advanced Bodyboard Manouvers

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