4. Bodyboarders rarely chair the winner up the beach.
At pretty much every stand-up surf comp, I see every winner, from a 6 year old girl to the grand masters winner chaired up after their final, often with a third mate carrying the board behind to flash the sponsors.
At a lot of bodyboarding events, no matter how important the event, it’s often hard enough to find 3 spare people that stayed around until the final. Let’s celebrate. Goodtimes. And please, even if you hate public speaking, practice a 30 second speech that you can string together better than a parrot on YouTube just in case you do win. Please.
3. Bodyboarders are scared to grow a quiver.
A lot of the guys collecting multiple boards chase down “vintage” sleds.
I love seeing guys have a flexy board, a stiffer one, a larger grovel board, a dk board.
I think it sucks when someone hangs onto just one board for 5 years before upgrading. If every decent rider bought just one extra sled to fit in their quiver, then the industry would go through a mini boom.
Bodyboards are cheap. You can get a good stock board for $350 clams, and a damn good custom for just a little more. A lot of folks don’t realising that most of our “industry” is kept afloat by brands selling their $100 intro boogs and soft boards.
I’m guilty of a big quiver, but whenever I went in the shaping bay with Todd, I’d order them thinner and thinner, saying I don’t care if it lasts 3 months if it feels like the best board in the world. I’d rather a Jaguar roadster for a year than a Yarris for life, I guess is what I’m saying. Also, it’s a whole heap easier than the often $900 price tag on many surfboards for a craft that might only last a few surfs.
That said, growing a quiver should be a mix of collector vintage boards and new boards. If you’re only collecting vintage sleds, no current brand benefits, only your sentimental value. Do not let those sleds go to the tip sure, but invest in the now too.
On the other side, I flicked through a few leading board brands, to see majority of their top model sleds are 42”. I mean, I’m this old and ride a 40”, so think about that 14yr old again joining his club. No 14yr old wants the cheap HD slick board for Christmas just because of the name on the rail of someone who won a comp or title back when the kid was in nappies.
With boards, unfortunately, it’s a bit of “chicken and egg”. Brands will spend money making top boards in sizes for those with chunky wallets, but then ripper groms feel the market is not about them. Solution? Well, this business stuff ain’t so easy.
2. We’re an invisible sport.
It’s in a way pretty rad that bodyboarding is mostly underground.
However, the best guys rarely surf their local beachy, and only hug the coastline that the public usually don’t see. Those guys do incredible stuff there, but only their mates see it.
When I wanted to learn to spin or dk, it was from watching Bullet and the other guys doing that down at Maroubra. Problem is, bodyboarding is so underground, that there’s rarely a great rider out in the water at a beach to make a kid down there in the flags go “Whoa! I wanna do that! Mum, dad, I want a boogie!”.
If the best local rider, say sponsored by brand A, only surfs his local reef with kids sponsored by brands B, C and E, is anyone really influencing anyone to buy their product? As a kid, I bounced around the local beaches watching Bullet and company shred every day. That inspired me to spend my piggy bank coin on better foam.
We have to stop thinking that just the ‘gram in exposure. Again, it’s only exposure to someone already part of the boogie fam. If it’s invisible outside of that, no kids are talking at school about what they saw in the water.
1 . I hate that we have no regular mag.
Movement has an annual issue. Lots of brands focus on digital marketing. I myself partake in unpaid work for digital boogie media (like these ramblings). But don’t tell me print is dead, when my local shitty newsagent has over 100 different publications. I even ordered some sneakers from a small surf shop in Biarritz, France, and they sent me a free copy of their half-inch-thick mag.
There’s a mag for everything. If “Bowhunting” or “Knife Collecting” isn’t niche enough yet can hold down a printed regular mag, then how the frick can’t bodyboarding?!
I really think it was one of the bits of glue that held together our community. Today, everyone has their own instagram. Thats great. But a regular mag says “this is what’s up, this is a little about someone you should know, this is the backstory to that photo you re-grammed, this is a good board, this is a bodyboarding brand, and this is a name and face you should remember”.
It becomes a time capsule.
It holds some serious prestige, to be immortalised in print.
Mags taught me how to roll, how to shop for a board, the difference between a bat and a crescent, how to apply stickers, what it’s like in Bali before my first trip there, where to find the biggest burger on Rarotonga, and that you can’t really surf in Tonga on low tide.
I love Movement and what they do, heck I have every issue in my library.
However, I’d much rather buy 4 thinner mags for $10 each in a year than one big book for $20.
I dunno, maybe there’s room for both? And maybe, others?
Print it, I’ll buy it. These grubby thumbs demand pages.
I don’t want bodyboarding to become surfing. It never will be, and besides, that’s not the point of this. But we can still learn from it.
What I love most is that compared to not only surfing, but a lot of sports/activities, the people who are still doing it are doing it for the right reasons.
That’s why you made it to the end here.
I wrote this to kick the hornets nest, and you read the whole lot, whether you agree with it or not, because you give two shits about bodyboarding.
Regardless of this pissing you off or firing you up, I’d love the comments to be constructive. Type away, I’m all ears.