How To: Body surf

Body surf

Jump into the action this summer by learning how to body surf.

WARNING: Never swim alone in the ocean. Beware of coral, jellyfish, and unexpected sandbars.

Step 1: Find the right beach
Look for a beach with a gentle slope, which will allow you to wade out into the water for some distance. Beginners should pick a beach with waves that don't get any higher than about 4 feet.

Step 2: Swim toward the shore
Wade into the water past the breaking waves. Push off the ocean floor, and swim toward the shore as the wave approaches you from behind. As it nears, kick to gain speed and raise your body to the surface.

Step 3: Let the wave lift you
As the wave begins lifting you up, dive so your head and shoulders are lower than your hips and legs. As it continues to lift you, your head and shoulders will come up.

Step 4: Keep rigid
As the wave is breaking, stop kicking and keep your body stiff as a surfboard, with your arms in front of you as you ride the wave.

WARNING: Always keep your hands straight out in front of you to protect yourself from spinal injury should the wave send you crashing headfirst into the sand.

Step 5: Begin kicking
After the wave breaks, bring your feet back together and start kicking hard, keeping your head down, your back arched, and your arms in front. Continue swimming toward shore until you can stand up.

Step 6: Repeat
Wade back out into the sea. If you look at the next wave and decide you don't want to surf it, turn to the side and drop the shoulder that faces the sea; this will push your body out to the other side of the wave.

Fact: Body surfing burns about 200 calories an hour.

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