Perspectives from Professional WaveRiders

Rob Machado:

Rob Machado

Bodysurfing played a huge role in my development as a wave rider.  My first memories were from the shore break.  It was my first understanding of what it felt like to get tubed.  From there I graduated to riding a body board and then eventually on to a surfboard and I took those same fundamentals of “how to get tubed” along with me ever since.

I love when I see guys bodysurfing.  I always give them the right of way.  It takes so much more effort to get in the line up and put yourself in the right spot for the right wave… They deserve more respect.

I still bodysurf and I don’t leave home without my fins… Always in my car or in my board bag.
*Cover Photo: Sean Davey

Greg Long:

Greg Long Photo: Robert B. Stanton

Bodysurfing…. The most pure and beautiful way to experience the act of wave riding. Every surfer out there should occasionally take a step away from their conventional wave riding craft and dive back into the water with nothing but a set of fins. There is no freedom quite like that which you experience when you’re body surfing, fully immersed in the ocean, gliding in harmony with mother natures energy. Body surfers are welcome in any lineup as far as I’m concerned.

Gary Linden:

Linden Surfboards

Bodysurfing was my first experience riding a wave and one I will never forget. My Father grew up in Hermosa Beach and started teaching me about the Ocean from an early age. In those days there were no Boogie boards so we learned to bodysurf. Once I had a feel for how the Ocean worked with the currents and swells it became my number one priority. I eventually got a surfboard but the knowledge acquired from bodysurfing is still in use to this day.

I am really stoked that a group of guys are bodysurfing at the beach where i always surf. It reminds me of what we are out there for, to feel the force of nature. Bodysurfing is the root of all wave riding and seeing it being enjoyed keeps it all in perspective for me.

The Lonely Swim

In a different time, I had the good fortune to live on the bountiful coast of the Central Americas. The shoreline only dotted with mild human interventions, breathed with lush vegetation and its ecological counterparts. I would often wake to the guttural howler monkey and sleep to the torrential rains. Just prior to leaving I had the fortunate experience of bodysurfing, so in addition to buying a second-hand board I had brought a pair of V-5s with me.

In front of the house there was a fine beach break. I would walk down the path to the Ocean being careful not to step on debris which had washed ashore from some other town up current. The water would always greet me with warm embrace and beyond the meeting of scruffy dog-packs I would enter unnoticed. In the water I could turn and look back at a wild coast that would swallow the pitiful buildings to disrepair without so much a decade’s hesitation should we leave them to their own path. In this place I was alone. Forced to battle with my own short comings and lose my ego in each passing wave.

Through the intense feelings of happiness my mind would be tugged back to the alarms of my past. Growing up on the east coast, my mother held the Ocean in high esteem for beauty, but just below her awe lay a well of fear. “Not so far out!” she would call as we waded into the cold water. She did her best to mask the tinge of panic from seeing her babies swept out to sea in her mind’s eye, but you could hear the bone-deep concern in her voice. In these forgiving, warm waters I had no need to fear a watery conveyor belt to Japan. Instead my programmed alarm could indeed find dark shapes and sharp tips of fins everywhere. The few local surfers I had met were fond of telling me the times they’ve swam with the local, ill-tempered croc. The fresh water estuary would surge to meet the sea not 100 yards away from my wave. They also knew which sharks were patrolling and which of those would feed on human. After all, I was alone.

Regular feuds with my insecurities, Of course there are sharks, there’s always been sharks. Why did I care now? If there was another surfer here, I’d not so much as wander into that dizzying reality. In truth, another surfer would very likely be an insignificant element in a shark attack story. The rational mind is my only defense to the aggressive emotional reactive. These beautiful vulnerabilities push me to a deeper acceptance. To be alone is to be alive. If the tiburón comes, it would have always come and it is always answered alone.

There are a numbered, few trials which challenge the mind and gut of a bodysurfer like swimming absolutely alone. We very often pod together, being that we have to fight for waves among crowded line-ups with surf-craft dominating the wave count. However joyous our swims together may be, it is the lonesome encounters with the Ocean that leave a lasting imprint on our nature.


Pikers Gamble

By  Nick Brbot @nickbrbot
All Photos by Keeland Tracy @keelandtracy

So much anticipation and days of swell checking means the forecast looks ideal. The fins, handplane, budgies and towel are packed into a bag. With a last check of the swell forecast to settle the nerves, the lights are switched off, and some rest is sought.

The 0430 alarm goes off, but I’ve already been awake, so much excitement meant I couldn’t sleep. With a final check of the live wave and wind conditions the message is sent out to the crew.



In need of sustenance for the day, a couple of bananas, a water bottle and some RedBull are grabbed from the kitchen for the drive. The roadtrip begins. From all corners of Sydney the boys drive to get to Pikers Hole before first light. For me, the dark morning trip to the place where I grew up is filled with anticipation and questions. Is the swell big enough? Is it too big? Are the winds right? Is the tide right? Bodysurfing a place like this you need to have all weather conditions in your favor otherwise it is a recipe for a broken neck.


As we make our way into the national park, with the deep throaty sounds of the swell crashing on the rocks in the distance, the cockatoos and kookaburras lighten the mood and swell the heart with their morning sings. Rounding the hill and into the car park, and there it is.

Pikers Hole.

Car by car the crew arrive hastily, Peter Sperling (@peter.sperling), Rikki Gibley (@wawhandplanes), Russel Pollard (@bornwithgills), Dan Carr (@captain_kookman), Vic Ivec (@whomp_dog) and Keeland Tracy (@keelandtracy). The initial signs are great, the thunderous sounds of waves crashing against the cliffs and the light offshore winds giving us a false sense of security about surface conditions. By now there is a touch of light in the sky and a bomb rolls through. More than enough to excite the bodysurfer inside.

Everyone suits up, a few stretches are performed and then a rock hop down to the entry. Timing is crucial. An error here can be an early and abrupt end to the morning session. The right wave is eyed off, followed by an entry as the water drains back off the cliff.

The chill of the water immediately wakes you up. But the swim out to the take-off zone through the channel is enough to get the blood flowing. A bump on the horizon presents itself. As it hits the shallow rock ledge this bump triples in size, it is no longer a bump but a mountainous wall of water. You kick as hard as you can onto the face of the wave, a large initial drop that makes it feel like you’re flying, followed by a huge push along the face. The roaring sound of the wave crashing down over you, coupled with the view of the oncoming cliff and rock ledge definitely gets the adrenaline going, those chills from the jump in a distant memory.


The wave starts throwing over you. Enjoy this moment while it lasts. If you’re in luck, the next 10-20 seconds will consist of you being washing machined into the shallow reef with a collection of cuts and bruises to take home with you.

Sometimes the wave will let you out but most of the time it won’t.

This is the gamble of Pikers Hole.   

Glassy: Fernando Amorim

My name is Fernando Amorim. I am 31 years old and living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Three years ago, I bought a GoPro and started to take photos in the water. Around the same time, I met a lot of bodysurfers on the beach.
 During these three years, I have learned a lot about water photography and bodysurfing. I recently bought a new camera and a waterhousing.

In Rio, we have numerous slabs and plenty of good shorebreak, so consequently a lot of bodysurfers. There are a lot of well organized bodysurf crews in Rio including Leme`s Crew, Mafia Bodysurf, SoulBodysurf, Itacoatiara Crew and every two months all the crews get together to have fun and share some waves.

Compendium: A Short

Compendium: /kəmˈpendēəm/

  1. a collection of concise but detailed information about a particular subject

This short is a collection of bodysurfing clips from the last three years. I’ve always anticipated creating more video content, so I’ve collected bits of footage here and there. The piece has no theme or story, rather it is a simple brief collection of clips from the riders I swim with. More films to come. Enjoy.


Special thanks to Steven Cummings @JacuzziSurfer for providing the drone footage and some additional land footage.


Matt Larson

Rachel Newton-Joyce

Skye Walker

Dallas Campbell

James Fenney

Kyle Stock

Shayne McIntyre

Mark Drewelow