Getting started with bodyboarding in Port Waikato: from little ones to adults!
Port Waikato is a picturesque Kiwi coastal town and perfect for families seeking outdoor adventures. Above all, Port Waikato is known for its long sandy beach and consistent waves. So, it’s an ideal spot to learn bodyboarding (or boogie boarding as it’s also known.) whether you’re a kid or an adult! As a family, everyone can get on a boogie board as long as they know how to swim! Furthermore, it’s an easy water sport that builds water confidence, improves balance, and creates lasting memories. Needless to say, it’s also a stepping stone to surfing!
It’s best to have a few tips up your sleeve when teaching kids to bodyboard. At Port Waikato, we always start by pointing out the safe places to swim so that kid’s learn to swim between the flags. Start on the beach helping them orientate where they are by spotting shore markers to see from the waves. For instance, pointing out the lifeguards and any obstacles is a good practice.
Generally, teaching kids on a holiday or weekend away is a good idea because it gives them a couple of days to build their skills. So, check-in to Port Waikato Holiday Park for a few days to allow little ones to perfect their technique. Also, being close to Sunset Beach, it’s easy to pop back to shore for a rest too!
Top tip for teaching kids bodyboarding in NZ – be prepared!
Being prepared means gearing up well. Make sure your kids have the proper boogie boarding set up before hitting the waves.
Here’s what kids need for bodyboarding at Port Waikato
- Bodyboard: Choose a bodyboard that suits your child’s size and skill level. Look for one with a leash attached to keep the board close. Start with something simple and inexpensive, perhaps from The Warehouse. However, if you’re looking for something middle of the range, we like the selection from Torpedo7.
- Fins: Fins provide extra propulsion and control in the water while boogie boarding in the surf at Port Waikato.
- Wetsuit / Rashsuit: Ensure your kids stay comfortable by wearing a wetsuit or rashguard, depending on the water temperature.
- Sun Protection: Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and provide your kids with waterproof UV-protective rashguards or hats. Oftentimes, overseas visitors underestimate burn times in NZ, which are quicker than abroad. So a long-sleeved rash suit or swimsuit is best for kids with delicate skin. If you’ve come from overseas, Sunsmart NZ has good guidelines for safety in the NZ sun!
Safety First: always be in the water with your tamariki (kids) while they bodyboard
Safety is a top priority when introducing kids to any water activity. Keep these safety measures in mind when starting to teach kids bodyboarding:
- Choose a safe area: Pick a section of the beach with smaller waves and minimal currents. Avoid areas with rocks or strong undertows. Luckily, Sunset Beach marks this out with the presence of Lifesavers, who set up flags.
- Supervision: Always watch your children closely while they’re in the water. Ensure they understand the importance of staying within sight and calling for help if needed. Stay as close as you can while they get the hang of it. Once kids become independent on their board, it’s time to board yourself alongside them!
- Swim and wave knowledge: Teach your kids the importance of swimming parallel to the shore when caught in a rip current and how to identify and avoid hazardous waves.
Start with the Boogie Boarding Basics when teaching kids:
Begin by teaching simple bodyboarding techniques to build kids’ confidence gradually:
- Proper Positioning: Teach your kids to lie on the boogie board with their chests in the centre and their arms extended towards the front.
- Paddling: Demonstrate how to paddle with their arms and kick with their fins to catch small waves.
- Timing and Balance: Show them how to time their paddle to catch the wave and maintain balance on the board.
- Help them by pushing them on top of the waves in the shallows while they get a feel for it. Stay close and keep a flow of high fives to celebrate each ride!
3 Steps to Riding the Waves:
Once your kids feel comfortable with the bodyboarding basics, it’s time to learn ride the waves at Port Waikato:
- Catching Waves: Encourage your kids to paddle towards an approaching wave and try to catch it just as it starts to break.
- Riding the Wave: Instruct kids to shift their weight towards the front of the board to maintain stability and steer by leaning and shifting their body weight.
- Falling and Safety: Remember to teach children to fall away from the boogie board to avoid injuries and protect their heads and necks.
Have fun, practice, and learn to Boogie Board during your stay at Port Waikato Holiday Park!
Learning to bodyboard takes practice, and confidence grows over time. Consider staying at Port Waikato Holiday Park for a few days to allow your kids to perfect their technique. Our holiday park offers a comfortable and convenient base for your family to enjoy the beach and practice bodyboarding and bodysurfing. Take advantage of the nearby beach access, and spend ample time in the water honing your skills. Naturally, the more practice kids get in the surf, the more confident they will become in riding the waves and mastering the art of bodyboarding.
However, downtime matters too. Shorter sessions are a good way to start, so ask us about the tides and when the best time of day will be to hit the beach on the day and plan other activities around your sessions in the water. Fortunately, plenty of other activities in the area allow for a break from the surf. Check out the local activities and Annual Events.
Ready to kickstart a lifetime of bodyboarding fun for your whānau at Port Waikato?
Teaching your kids to bodyboard at Port Waikato opens up a world of adventure and fun. By following these steps, emphasizing safety, and taking advantage of the accessible local accommodation, your family will have a whale of a time!
PS. Forgot your boogie board? Don’t worry; we have some for sale at the Port Waikato Holiday Park reception shop.