So the results are in and what a fantastic response!
Overall there were an amazing 225 submissions from across the globe.
So it took a bit of time to harmonise the information such as standardising the country names, locations and dream breaks so that it all made a bit more sense.
Anyways, we promised you insight to your fellow flipper wearing (mostly), underwater submarining, barrel loving brethren and here it is!
96% of submissions were guys - showing a heavy slant to briny sand addiction in the male ranks
While most bodysurfers were in the 21-30 year age band there was really very little to seperate the main age groups of 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60. Which really shows the broad spectrum appeal of bodysurfing. Its definitely suitable for everyone and hats off to those chargers still sticking those drops at over 70 years old as well!
An incredible 20 countries were represented, ranging from the usual suspects in the USA, Hawaii and Australia to some cool an unexpected locations like Austria, Germany, and Hong Kong. The whomp truly is a world wide phenomenon.
With so many countries you kind of expect the 126 cities, the largest concentrations being from Sydney, Honolulu, Rio, San Diego and Gold Coast.
PS: stare at this long enough and you will either see a 3D version of Mel Thoman or be violently ill...or both...
Local break was naturally also very well distributed with 148 different locations varying from the lonesome "Dont have one", the nomadic "anywhere there are waves" and all the waves are mine "Secret". So passionate were some crew in keeping their waves incognito that "Secret" was actually the second most well represented local break behind the infamous Newport wedge! So huge high fives to the Wedge Crew in dialling in support for their wave.
Incredibly the largest majority of bodysurfers have been kicking into waves for longer than 40 years! Only 25% of sliders had been bodysurfing up to 5 years! That or they aren't plugged into this amazing survey...obviously impossible....
50% of bodysurfers are purists and ride waves no other way, while 44% mixed it up depending on their mood with 6% only bodysurfing when conditions didn't suit riding a board <hisssssss>
In terms of choice of wave type - shore break or point wave - the overwhelming response was that we actually aren't that fussy and have an equal love for them both.
As expected, the sweet spot for most sliders is a wave with a nice 6ft face. There were also some mentalists who selected 20ft-30ft faces but for most we max out at around 12ft faces.
Most bodysurfers use fins to get into waves but we did have a few purists in the mix.
Interestingly enough - there was a higher percentage of women (11%) who didn't use fins compared to men (3%). Go the aquawomen!
Turns out we also like to hoard a bit of rubber with over 50% of bodysurfers who use fins having 2-3 pairs. Nothing like a bit of insurance or experimentation!
Then if you were to guess what those 3 pairs were made of - you would be very close to the money if you picked DaFiN, Viper or Churchills. Outside of those VOIT, UDT and MS Vipers were also pretty popular.
It was an even split on the preference of using a handplane or not, with more than half (53%) users of handplanes having also shaped their own. The only group to not use a handplane were those that also did not use fins ...Aquaman remember!
When it came down to numbers of handplanes - there are some serious collectors out there but the majority of handplane users had up to around 3 handplanes in their quiver. If you broke through the magical seven number - well then you were certifiably all in!
If you could bodysurf any wave - which one would it be? The dream option threw out some surprising and fun results. There were waves in space, more secrets, somewhere warm, endless river waves, naked sessions, Kelly's wave pool and finally some actual waves. Despite the fact most bodysurfers preferred a nice 6ft wave - outside of Point Panic the other major dream waves could all be considered waves of serious consequence. Perhaps thats why for most they remain dreams instead of bone snapping reality!
It did get me thinking though - if the majority of bodysurfers dreamt about bodysurfing the Wedge - then where do the Wedge locals dream of going? For some its still the mighty Wedge, the rest seem to have an underlying dream of warm tropical water at sizey lefts or fun rights...guess there arent too many rights at the Wedge!
Your average bodysurfer; is a bloke between 21-30 years old who lives in San Diego CA. He has been bodysurfing for around 10 years and threw out the surfboard along the way. He is that committed, that his local break is the Wedge (wonder what his Wedge name would be). Its so addictive, that all he dreams about is driving up to bodysurf the Wedge at a nice 6ft while using a handplane he shaped himself and one of his three pair of fins.
Hope you enjoyed this purely fun exercise and if you have a specific query like "what % of Wedge locals shape their own handplanes?" Then please post in comments below and will get back to you. For the record, the answer is 53%
Has spent over 30 years of his middle aged life trying to spend more time in the ocean. Likes to surf, bodysurf, free dive and pretend he enjoys chasing big waves.