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Bodysurfing Beast Mode – can you do it?

According to the Google Search Engine, when it comes to wave pools the lion’s share of YouTube results go to Kelly Slater or that one time a Chinese wave pool malfunctioned and sent out a huge wave injuring people. It’s not a very accurate representation of who uses pools. Beyond the bot algorithms that provide these search results so much more happens in the surf tank: longboarding, skimboarding, bodyboarding, inflatable orca wrangling and some other stuff we can’t share because we’re under NDA (insert winking emoji).

But what about the surfers who resemble the barista at your favorite cafe? You know, the guys with creative facial hair who swear by the lost art of bodysurfing? Well. We found em.

The crew at WAW Handplanes took their team to Urbnsurf in Melbourne to see how craft-enhanced-bodysurfing works in a wave pool. We were curious to know if a wave designed for board surfing works equally well for bodysurfers.

“As wave pools were becoming more and more popular and the surfing footage started filling up my feeds, there was one thought on my mind… Is that body-surfable?” said WAW Handplane Founder Rikki Gibey.

Rikki said it was great to discover that wave pools are in fact body-surfable adding that the realm of surf parks open up heaps of opportunities within the bodysurfing community. He also admits that there was a pretty steep learning curve to getting the wave dialed.

handplane at Urbnsurf by jack rubestein
Handplaning at Urbnsurf: To make the barrel requires a no-frills highline. Photo by jack rubestein

“We quickly realized the wave design has been shaped specifically with surfing in mind. After experiencing the first set at ‘Beast Mode’ we quickly realized that this thing was fast. The barrel section ate us all up one after the other.”

Rikki says they quickly adjust their approach, ditching tricks and taking a highline to generate more speed.

“The second beast mode set was a different story. Using the easy take-off and the steep wall to gain as much pace as possible, we would enter the slab section at full speed. Being sure to remain in contact with the waves face when we dropped down into the pocket. From here on in, it was a matter of positioning yourself on the highline and holding on.”

Yes Rikki has a product to sell, but after watching the footage, we believe him when he insists to make it out of the barrel you need a little help. In this case, hand planes.

“Without the added planing surface to reduce the bodysurfer’s drag it would be extremely difficult to generate the speed required to make the section.”

You can check the full clip of the team’s visit below.


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