How To Bellyboard | All You Need To Know About Bellyboarding
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Everything You Need To Know About Bellyboarding

What exactly is bellyboarding? Is it a new sport? Who can give it a go? Here’s everything you need to know about bellyboarding in Newquay (and why you need to make time for it on your next Cornish holiday).

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How To Bellyboard

From summer 2023, we’ll be adding bellyboarding to the exciting list of activities we offer at Cornish Wave. But what exactly is bellyboarding? Is it a new sport? Who can give it a go? Here’s everything you need to know about bellyboarding in Newquay (and why you need to make time for it on your next Cornish holiday).

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Everything You Need To Know About Bellyboarding

So, What Exactly Is Bellyboarding? A bellyboard is usually around 3 feet long with an elevated round nose and a flat tail. They can be made from a number of different materials including wood, fibreglass and foam. Boarders use the white water to ride into shore. As the name would suggest, riders lie flat on the board, close to the water, and speed towards the sand on the sea’s surface. The sport has been hugely popular for decades – and the main reason for this is the accessibility of bellyboarding. Not to mention how fun it is! Lying on a board and riding the waves into shore is certainly a little easier than trying to stand on a surfboard!

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What Makes Bellyboarding So Fun?

Of course, at Cornish Wave, we love surfing. But there’s something just as incredibly fun about bellyboarding. Gliding on the surface of the water and playing around in the white water is a great way to spend an afternoon on holiday. Kids can also enjoy riding the waves without having to ‘learn’ how to surf!

The History of Bellyboarding

History of Bellyboarding Bellyboarding might be new to Cornish Wave but it certainly isn’t a new sport. In fact, many historians think bellyboarding might date back as far as 2000 BC! It’s thought to be the original form of surfing, body boarding and boogie boarding. The first bellyboard was found in the early 18th Century in Hawaii – where the sport originated.

History of Bellyboarding in Great Britain The pioneers of British bellyboarding were George Tamblyn and William Saunders, two soldiers returning from World War I to Cornwall’s famous beaches. During the war, they fought alongside soldiers from all over the commonwealth, many of whom told stories about bellyboarding. Once they got home, they decided to give the activity a go themselves. Since 2003, the World Bellyboard Championships have been held in Cornwall, firmly placing the county at the heart of British Bellyboarding!

Dick Pearce and Friends – Bellyboarding in Newquay

In Newquay, we’re lucky enough to have expertly crafted bellyboards on our doorstep, thanks to Dick Pearce and Friends. In the 1950s, Dick took over his father’s workshop and carried on making the best bellyboards for locals and tourists alike. The wooden boards are skillfully hand-made, ensuring you get the perfect water glider to enjoy the waves with. They’re also committed to being responsible manufacturers in the water sports industry and do everything they can to reduce plastic pollution on Newquay’s beaches.

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How Do You Bellyboard?

Before you go bellyboarding, it’s important to know (and tell any children) that a bellyboard isn’t a flotation device. This is where it differs from a bodyboard or a boogie board which are designed to float. A bellyboard is much thinner and acts as a plaining surface to glide across the water.


Unlike surfing, it’s best to start off bellyboarding where you can stand. This allows you to push off the sand for even more fun! Place the tail of the board close to your hips and your hands as close to the nose as possible. Then just wait for the perfect wave…


As is the case with many water sports, choosing the right wave is really important. It can mean the difference between a fun ride to the shore and a bit of a limp push forward. You want to choose a wave that looks powerful and that’s coming at a good speed. It’s a good idea to choose a wave that’s just about to break a metre behind you so you’ll be pushing off in maximum white water. Selecting the right wave isn’t always easy and takes practice. But that just means you get to spend more time in the water bellyboarding and learning for yourself!


Again, this is something that will take a bit of getting used to – after all, timing is everything! Ideally, you want to jump onto the board slightly before the wave comes behind you so that there’s power in it to push you forward. Practising is a fun way for you to immerse yourself in the water. You’ll get the hang of it in no time

Thinking About Bellyboarding With Cornish Wave?

Bellyboarding is a really fun activity to do in Cornwall. Entire families can enjoy gliding on boards and spending time in the waves – which is important to us! All our instructors are well-trained in bellyboarding and are beach lifeguards so you can be sure that your group will be small for maximum fun in the water. We’ll take you through the basics and leave plenty of time for you to practice wave choosing and pushing off! Get in touch with us today to book your family in to try this new activity at Cornish Wave.

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