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Boogie Boarding

bogie_boarding.jpgIf you’re craving to ride some famous Hawaiian waves, but not sure if you’re up for the grueling challenge to learn how to surf, than body boarding (aka boogie boarding) might be the perfect activity for your island vacation. Body boards, which are more commonly known as boogie boards, can be found anywhere from drug stores to surf shops. And unless you are looking to haul your boogie board on the plane home, your best bet is probably to rent one at a local shop for about $10-$12 a day. Most shops will even throw in a pair of flippers for free or for a couple extra bucks (which makes trying to catch those waves a lot easier).

Although Polynesians have been riding waves in the prone position on short boards for thousands of years, boogie boarding first exploded in popularity in the early 1970s after a surfboard maker name Tom Morey fashioned a short, rectangular board from an extra piece polyethylene foam in his shop. Tom took his new short board for a ride. Realizing the mass appeal of this easier, but still exhilarating, way to ride waves, Morey trademarked the name Morey Boogie Boards in 1973 (giving body boarding it’s more popular name). By 1977 he was producing 80,000 boards a year.

Boogie boarding is an ideal activity for visitors to Hawaii who like me come from landlocked states or those who have never been on a surfboard before. You can get out in the waves and enjoy the exhilarating thrill of riding the surf without spending frustrating hours repeatedly falling. Unlike surfing, boogie boarding has a gentle learning curve and can be enjoyed immediately without experience or lessons. You’ll also save a bunch of money on surf lessons and an expensive board rental. A $10 boogie board rental will provide hours of fun. Kids can also boogie board smaller shorebreak waves easily. If you are looking for a more adventurous ride, more experienced riders can get a pair of fins and head out to the larger waves (watch out for surfers in these waves though, some tend to harbor some animosity towards boogie boarders and can be territorial over waves). Tom Morey created the modern boogie board hoping to bring surf riding to the masses. He accomplished it. At any beach in Hawaii where you find waves (big or small) you’ll also find a range of boogie boarders. It has definitely provided me with hours of entertainment during my trips to the islands.

Where to Boogie Board

  • White Sands/Magic Sands Beach–4.5 miles south of Kona, Big Island. Intermediate/Advanced boogie boarding, can get crowded, watch for and rocks, but the waves are great and a lot of fun!
  • Honolii’i Cove–Past milemarker 4 on Highway 19 near Hilo, Big Island
    Rentals right at the beach, good shorebreak waves
  • Hapuna Beach–Milemarker 69 off Highway 19, Big Island
    Sandy bottom, good shorebreak, great for kids
  • Wailea Beach–South Maui
    Gentle shorebreak, not as punishing, great for kids and beginners
  • Kalihiwai Bay–North Shore, Kauai
  • Shipwreck Beach–South Shore, Kauai
  • Kalapaki Beach–East Shore, Kauai
    Great learning spot
  • Kaelia Beach–North Shore, Kauai
    Great for surfing and boogie boarding, strong waves, best for more adventurous, advanced boarders, strong currents and rough surf conditions, swim only on calm days!