How to paddle out on your bodyboard involves wave knowledge as well as arm and shoulder power. Most importantly, it involves the correct bodyboard paddling technique. Of course, the objective is to reach the takeoff area as quickly as possible, and preferably without getting pounded. Unfortunately things don’t always go to plan and sometimes a pounding is a necessary evil, especially when nature throws a couple of curve balls at you, such as a heavy shorebreak, a strong side drift or a rip.  If you are smart, these issues can be neutralised or used to work to your advantage if you know how to read the conditions correctly.

For example, timing sets and understanding wave patterns within sets allows you to save energy by paddling out between the heaviest waves, rather than copping them on the head and being dragged backwards, gasping and buggered before you’ve even contemplated catching your first wave!

Where there is a strong sweep (a sideways current rushing along the beach), you should probably walk along the beach and enter the water well up current of the break you wish to surf. A rip (a current that heads towards the horizon) can be used to your advantage for quick trip out the back , but be make sure you know when to starting paddling out of the rip in a diagonal path, so that you don’t end up in New Zealand!