The Simple Pleasure of Bodysurfing

Discover the thrill of bodysurfing and hand-planing in Woolacombe. Just grab your fins, swim into the perfect wave, and let the ocean's force propel you forward for an unforgettable experience.

5/12/20232 min read

When it comes to enjoying the sea, it's not just the surfers who have all the fun. If you're visiting Westbeach One, why not try your hand at bodysurfing and hand-planing? These exhilarating watersports offer a unique way to connect with the sea and experience Woolacombe's waves firsthand.


Bodysurfing is watersports at its most fundamental. All you need is your swimsuit and a pair of swim fins. It's a fantastic way to get a full-body workout while enjoying the thrill of riding waves.

The beauty of bodysurfing lies in its simplicity. There's no need to worry about equipment or technique. You just wait for the perfect wave, swim into it as it breaks, and let the power of the ocean do the rest. The exhilaration of being propelled forward by the sheer force of the wave is an experience like no other!

Step up the experience with Hand-Planing

Hand-planing, also known as handboarding, takes bodysurfing to the next level. With a small board—typically made of wood or foam—fitting comfortably in your hand, you can ride the waves with more control and speed.

The handplane provides lift and helps reduce drag, allowing you to glide across the wave's face for a more extended ride. The close connection with the water gives an intense, thrilling sensation that's quite different from traditional surfing. And with the handplane providing extra stability, it's a great way for beginners to build their confidence in the waves.

Getting Started with bodysurfing and hand-planing

Woolacombe's main beach is renowned for its reliable surf, making it an ideal spot for both bodysurfing and hand-planing. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Choose the Right Gear: For bodysurfing, a good pair of swim fins is crucial. Avoid long snorkelling/diving fins and look instead for shorter 'swim-training' fins. We use DaFin swim fins because they're extremely well made and have a great reputation, but you'll find a variety of options online and in the local surf shops.

  2. Optional - choose a hand-plane: If you're keen to add a handplane to the mix, select one that feels comfortable in your grip. Local surf shops can provide expert advice to help you make the right choice. Our personal handplanes are from Otter Surfboards, just down the coast in Cornwall. They are hand-made and simply beautiful!

  3. Learn About Wave Safety: The ocean can be unpredictable, so it's essential to understand basic wave safety. Always keep an eye on the conditions and never venture out of your depth. Woolacombe Beach has lifeguards during the summer months, ensuring a safe environment for you to enjoy the waves. When the lifeguard flags are up, your safest bet is to bodysurf in the swimming zone, marked by red and yellow flags. If in doubt, speak to the lifeguards - they are there to help you!

  4. Practice Makes Perfect: Start with smaller waves and gradually work your way up as your confidence grows. Remember, the goal is to have fun and connect with the ocean, so don't put too much pressure on yourself.

  5. Respect the 'Surf Etiquette': This includes not dropping in on others' waves and always helping if someone is in trouble. A friendly and respectful attitude will enhance your experience and that of your fellow wave riders.

Wrapping Up

Woolacombe is a destination that offers more than just surf and stunning landscapes; it's a place where you can create unforgettable experiences. Bodysurfing and hand-planing provide a unique way to engage with our beautiful seaside location, offering thrills and a deep connection with nature. Whether you're visiting for a weekend or staying for an extended holiday, don't forget to pack your fins next time you come over!