Spat: Boogieboarding Vs Bodyboarding.

What the hell is going on?

Have I slipped into some alternative cuddly reality?

If you read closely the quote from Jared Houston where he defended the virtues of the backflip from our last article, the more eagle eyed amongst you may have spied the twice dropped adage “boogie”.

Boogie. Boogie board. Boogieboarding.

The ultimate dismissive and disparaging term spewed forth from the lips of the 6’5 potato chip rockered riding, quicksilver wearing, wrap around sunnies sporting local hero.

Cutting and contrived to make you feel belittled, emasculated and neutered. You’re not a man who can stand, simply a boy on a boogie.

The ultimate insult against a generation fighting to establish the legitimacy and credibility of our wave craft on beachfronts worldwide.

Bodyboarding was a name to be taken seriously. A bodyboard was a high performance surf craft. A bodyboarder was a pursuer, discovered and wrangler of some of the heaviest and life-threatening slabs on the planet.

We will no longer be mocked as boogies!

So what the fuck is this # boogie shit?

First port of call was Jeff Hubbard, a man who is staunchly in favour or the old becoming the new.

“I really enjoy the term boogie boarding as it has so many positive attributes as when you say it instantly conjures up feelings about fun and being carefree. The term is disarming and leads others to believe we don’t take our vibe too seriously.

Don’t take our vibe too seriously? Brendan Newton ripped half his fucking face off charging a slab hundreds of kilometres from medical attention. Ryan Hardy paddled out in shark infested waters in the pitch black to paddle The Right at 15 ft by himself. Guilherme Tamega rolled onto dry rocks of an 8 ft close out in one of the Arica comps. Amaury Lavernhe is out there dissecting how different riders splay their fingers in various patterns when surfing.  

Hubb continues “Most people that don’t know what bodyboarding is actually do know and understand when you say boogie boarding. It is easier for people to relate to and basically it just feels more fun to say, do and talk about which is what we want to promote when we talk about our activity of choice”.

O.K. as a marketing angle I can warm to it, but I’m still not sold.

Next port of call is Josh B. Kirkman, host of the Le Boogie podcast, former riders representative to the APB and world tour competitior.


“I’m 100% a ‘boogie’ man. If there’s anything that’s more evident to me after all these years is that when the sport takes itself too seriously, it fails. My understanding of the history books is that the ‘boogieboard’ was invented to bring stoke to the masses, while the ‘bodyboard’ pretty much narrowed it to the extreme fringe. I’m all for the mass enjoyment of this craft. I’m a boogieboarder.”

Boogieboarder. Fun. Masses. Define themes emerging.

Chris Won is perhaps the most honest man on earth. A modern day Abraham Lincoln. If someone will give it to us straight, it’ll be Wonton.

“I’m a boogie boarder just like Kyle Maligro. We come from a time when it was all inclusive and fun. Not a time when it was separated and treated differently by others for their riding style. Then the top professionals saw people like Kainoa and Aka and Jacky under as a threat to their way of life and did not want to see us around. That’s when it became bodyboarding. Upper class and lower class and I’m not one to be put into a caste system. GO FUCK YOURSELVES…”

I get it, the boogieboard is the wave craft of the every person. Nanna, 10-year-old kids, da wahines. However, in the hands of those who have become legends of our sport, who were at the forefront of all wave riding performance for decades didn’t it become so much more?

Ryan Hardy pushed the limits and obsessed over the performance aspect of our sport like no other. He’ll be a bodyboard man, surely?

” I think the word is a personal choice for anyone and how it makes them feel. I love the origin of Tom Morey’s word ‘boogie’ and the post-war seeking the fun out of life it was born in. I’m all about that these days, although I am used to calling it bodyboarding from the professional era of the 90’s/2000’s that I grew up in. My personal fav. Word of choice for my craft is ‘boogie’.

Fuck. Another one.

However, as much as I want to be swayed by the wisdom of my betters,  I’m an Adult. I own a house. I have a university degree and a profession. Kids. When people ask me what I do for fun, can I really answer” I go boogieboarding”? Could we truly saddle a future global governing body with a moniker like the “World Boogieboarding tour”?  

Johnny Cruickshank, a better man than me obviously, put it this way ” I started as a boogie boarder and became a bodyboarder, but if someone said to me I’m a just a boogieboarder I would own that sh#t!”.

African American’s have taken the power out of the word that is an anagram of ginger by reclaiming it’s ownership. If we embrace the “boogie” are we doing the same?  

Still I’m conflicted. Is it a sign of maturity, or the abandonment of an unrealized ideal that has brought us to this crossroads of semantic’s?

Do we feel that bodyboarding has gained enough respect within the larger surfing pantheon that we no longer worry or care about the opinions and labels of others,?

Or is the acceptance of the “boogieboarding” moniker a concession that we will never become a truly full fledged professional sport, and like the kid who knows he will fail before he starts, accept the role of the self deprecating, fun guy who everyone likes, but no one ever really respects, or takes too seriously?  

When I go for a surf, of course I’m looking to have fun, ala the boogieboaridng vibe. But I’m looking to have fun in a specific way. I’m searching out the hollowest, shallowest, rampiest, most challenging waves available to me. I’m going Bodyboarding.

So in conclusion, I can’t reach a conclusion.

Opinions and thoughts welcome in the comment section below.



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