Kids usually love going to the beach and playing with water. Splashing on the water and being washed by waves are among kids’ favorite amusements during a beach day. Their happiness while connecting with water is priceless.
For those kids who would like to take their water connection experience to another level, bodyboarding might be of their interest.
Riding a bodyboard on a wave is not as easy as it may seem. Bodyboarding is tricky as you need to keep balance on the bodyboard at all times, maneuvering while water currents and waves are strong. Therefore, it is advisable for kids to take lessons to learn basic bodyboard techniques and body movements.
While in Puerto Rico, a great bodyboard destination in the Caribbean, you may have the option of turning your kids’ beach day into a noteworthy bodyboard lesson experience. That is how we perceive it after spending an afternoon with well-known Puerto Rico and Pipeline Pro bodyboard champion and worldwide medalist, Luz Marie “Loly” Grande, and seeing how she instructed the adventurer kid during a bodyboard lesson for beginners. For starters, Loly has a special karma and “glow” that may immediately attract a kid (and you) to take bodyboard lessons. Her love, passion, and respect for this sport are noticeable as soon as you meet her. These characteristics as well as her assertiveness and kindness while teaching the kid are a plus for a memorable lesson, especially when the student is a beginner.
There are various factors to consider when selecting a beach for a bodyboard lesson for beginners. According to the 2009 Pipeline Pro Bodyboard Champion, the weather, water currents and bottom of the beach need to be considered, among others. She stated that sandy bottom beaches are preferable, subject to weather conditions. Also, basic lessons may be given in reef bottom beaches with deep waters.
Subject to appropriate weather conditions and water currents, some of Puerto Rico’s spots suitable for bodyboard lessons for beginners are: (a): Pine Grove Beach, Isla Verde area in the Municipality of Carolina, (b) Aviones Beach in the Municipality of Loíza, (c) Los Tubos Beach in the Municipality of Manatí, and (d) Domes Beach in the Municipality of Rincón, as informed by Loly.
Even though Puerto Rico’s weather tends to be convenient all year round for bodyboarding, Loly stated that the best season to learn this water sport nearby the island is from June to August.
Below we summarize the bodyboard fundamentals taught by Loly to the adventurer kid in Aviones Beach. Instructions were first given while the kid lay on the bodyboard on the sand. Then these were put into practice on the water as Loly stayed next to the kid step-by-step.
Loly’s Bodyboard Basics for Beginners:
#1- Lying Down on the Bodyboard
Lie down on the bodyboard with the front of your body facing downward, placing your core (torso) on the center. Raise your head and look at the horizon, keeping your jaw level.
Once you are lying down adequately on the bodyboard and have control over it, press your torso to keep balance. Also, lying down in the proper position will help you paddle correctly towards the waves.
#2- Keeping the Bodyboard in a Straightforward Course
Water currents will move the bodyboard so you need to keep your balance. If the bodyboard turns to the left or right side, paddling towards the opposite direction may straighten the bodyboard towards the horizon.
Once the bodyboard is straight and in a direction towards the horizon, paddle while making one stroke at a time.
In order to perform each stroke, lift your elbow pointing your hand straight ahead (90-degree position), move the elbow backwards, and move your arm upwards and forward. While making a stroke, keep the other arm fully stretched backwards.
As you paddle, try to keep your body straight on the bodyboard and continue pressing your core to maintain balance.
After learning the correct paddling movements while the bodyboard was on the sand, the kid practiced paddling nearby the shore and then headed towards the small waves.
#4- Duck Diving
Duck diving, a term used by bodyboarders and surfers, refers to diving under the broken wave or froth (foam left after a wave has broken) while being on the bodyboard.
According to Loly, the froth has a lot of the wave’s energy while the water underneath it is calm. Duck diving is performed to prevent bodyboarders from being washed and moved backwards by the waves.
During the lesson, Loly instructed the kid the following duck diving segmented body movements: (a) grab each side (rail) of the bodyboard while doing a push up-like position and lying down the rest of the body on the bodyboard, (b) lift the buttocks when lying down, (c) raise the body while still grabbing the rails, and place the right knee near the bodyboard’s tail while keeping the left leg free for kicking, as needed, (d) lower the body, push downwards the bodyboard, and sink the head and then the rest of the body, (e) raise the body in a cobra-like pose, and (f) paddle out to cross the wave or froth.
The kid practiced duck diving to cross a small wave. Following Loly’s instructions to lie on the bodyboard and grab it, the kid happily rode the bodyboard in an area not too far from the shore.
The 2013 ISA World Bodyboard Silver Medalist stressed that those who wish to learn how to bodyboard and even current bodyboarders should persevere and never give up. She emphatically said: “Follow your dreams. Always look at the horizon both while on the bodyboard and in your life. Always be firm and focused on going to your north and finding the horizon.”
While she is in Puerto Rico, Loly gives from time to time bodyboard lessons to kids, teenagers and even adults. For instance, the worldwide recognized athlete gives free lessons to kids and teenagers during events, especially to those who are physically or socially disadvantaged. This professional surfer has the mission to help the lives of others by means of these lessons and, of course, her kindness. You may find out about Loly’s special lesson events by browsing social media pages such as Facebook (Luz Grande) and Instagram (luzgrande).