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It is impossible to date when bodysurfing first started, due to the simplicity, nature of the sport and the equipment used. We have seen an increase in popularity of the sport over the past few years. Many body surfers can ride down the wave with no aid, which has lead many a discussion between us and we conclude, as long as we have been in our seas, we have been able to ride the waves using our body’s as the craft.
A handplane is ‘quite simply’ an aid for your hand, giving you a larger plaining surface when riding a wave into the shore. There has been much speculation over the past few years as to what does and does not work as a handplane, our answer to those questions is very simple. The handplane needs to be comfortable to hold, be made from a relatively stiff material and be a larger surface area than your hand.
We have tried nearly every type of handplane on the market from moulded plastic, laminated plastic, pu and epoxy, all of which work as well as each other. The great thing about the sport is, as the equipment is relatively in-expensive, you can have a number of handplanes to suit different waves, conditions and styles. The most important thing is with any water based sports, you must look after your equipment as the sea salt and power of the wave can damage most materials.
"AS LONG AS WE HAVE BEEN IN OUR SEAS,
WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO RIDE THE WAVES USING
OUR BODY’S AS THE CRAFT"
From our own experience one of the most important pieces of equipment for body surfing is a set of body surfing fins, there are many available on the market but we recommend Dafin as they are designed specifically for body surfing and worn by many of the lifeguards around the world, which is testament to the design and performance. When choosing the correct handplane it needs to feel comfortable and be well built.
Now it’s time to get out there and give it a go. Find a spot and wave size that suits your ability, you must always be very cautious in the water as there are rips and the waves can be very heavy. Use your fins to propel you quickly out the back to where the wave is not breaking, then position yourself in front of the unbroken wave. Using your fins to project speed and your handplane out in front of your stretched arm, kick as quickly as you can and maintain this as you go down the line of the wave. It sounds simple but it will take a bit of time before you are doing this on every wave. Rest assured once you have mastered the technique you will be hooked on bodysurfing for ever.
Watershed handplanes are all made in the UK using the highest quality Birch ply. Birch plywood performs best in applications demanding high strength and rigidity, has excellent resistance to humidity, is lightweight with a very high durability and weight to strength ratio. This makes it the perfect material to use for hand planes. Unlike some other handplanes on the market, we do not use gaboon ply as this material is not as strong and does not resist impact damage well. When the surf is demanding you need a product that you can trust.
"A WOODEN HANDPLANE IS A THING OF BEAUTY,
YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE A PART OF AN ANCIENT
FORM OF WAVE RIDING"
The design of our handplanes has been influenced by the style of surfing and the surfboards that we ride, design and manufacture. The handle is an integral part of the design, as the shape enables you to use the board for waves breaking left or right. The shape of our handle is also the strongest way to construct a handle, with it’s continuous curve and no right-angle edges there are no weak points, as this could be
dangerous in the surf.
You must look after your handplane, they all come pre-treated but we recommend that you re-treat them every 6-12 months depending on how much you use your handplane. We supply all aftercare products to ensure you get years of fun.
We have established ourselves as the leading bodysurfing outlet in the UK, and our experience and expertise is based around using the products and being in the water. This passion and commitment is why Watershed exists today. We use our products regularly and when the manufacturer actually uses their own product, it fills you with confidence that the product is tried and tested.
If you haven’t tried body surfing before, it’s time to get out in the water and give it a go.
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