The highlight of my summer was taking some time off to go boogie boarding with friends. I got a new board, which made the outing that much more memorable. The boogie board is all about riding and watch the world go by while you skim along the shore. With the right board, this is a fun way to welcome in summer any time you head over to your favorite beach. I love all the different graphics I see on boards. People off their fun and funky personality with the brightly decorated boards. Mine is a simple fiberglass model whose seamless design lets me glide across the water with ease. It has a thick poplar plywood core construction overlain with fiberglass and protective resin and laden with scratch resistant graphics. As boards go, it is average at 41 inches long, 18 inches wide, and .5 inches thick.

Why pay $100+ for a bodyboard? You can, but I didn’t. High-quality advanced designs and styles of hard slick bottom bodyboards are the best performing and selling bodyboards right now. That’s why I got a new one. In keeping with my fixation, I decided to learn more about the water sport. Here’s what I was told was essential: Pay attention to warning signs on the beach. They may indicate hazards such as rocks, reefs, strong currents, old jetty remains or jellyfish. If you find yourself in front of a wave that’s going to crash hard on you, quickly lie down on the board facing forward, grip the board tight, push the board underwater and take a deep breath just before the wave hits you. Sounds like good advice.

Also, I was told to check the forecast to see how big the waves will be. Waves with a swell of 1 to 2 feet (0.3 to 0.6 m) are recommended for beginners. It is important to position yourself in the belly of the wave you are trying to catch; avoid the crest or tip-top of the wave. The larger the wave is, the farther you’ll be able to ride it. A regular rule of the water is to be sure to ride the waves in a path where you won’t hit anybody. Colliding with other boarders can hurt and be dangerous.

The classic boogie board position is called prone riding. Another popular stance is drop knee, which involves kneeling on the board with one knee bent at a 90 degree angle and your foot placed flat on the board. After a wave has crashed into you, prevent other waves from throwing the board against you by curling into a ball and holding the board in front of your knees with both arms wrapped around it.

How’s that for boogie board basics. Otherwise it is pure instinct as a casual recreational activity. Most anyone can learn the ropes in an afternoon. You just have to get a board that is the right size, then enter the water and lie down with your belly on the board. Kick and paddle to where the waves are breaking, choose the wave you want to ride, and start paddling and kicking toward the beach in the same direction the wave will break. If you catch the wave, you are in for a great ride.