Bodysurfers around the world take on challenging waves. Each of them risk life and limb to experience the Ocean in a way few people even dream of. A few bodysurfers have offered an inside perspective on how they get ready when big swell is headed their way.

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Nick Menas

The one thing I do to get ready for a BIG SWELL, like on the North Shore, in town at Panics, or on the Westside, is check and make sure my Handboards are in good shape the night before. They require constant repair and I believe you’re only as good as you’re prepared, but you have to know your limits, and the tide matters! I mentally envision GOING BIG at home on the computer with all the forecasts and cam views, but getting “Eyes On” the break provides me all the information I need before heading out to the line-up. Seeing where the rips, rocks, and peaks are located help me understand the conditions that will put me in the right place, at the right time, for a great ride. It doesn’t matter if the surf is big or small, just catching waves makes me happy.


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Kalani Lattanzi

For tell the truth I didn’t train for that, I live at Itacoatiara beach the heaviest wave in the world in my opinion, so it’s already a big surf training there. The most important thing is mentally, I use to say ” it’s only water.”


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Daniel Williams

I‘ve been a part of the old guy crowd for a while now. This means I’ve lost a step or two and what used to be muscle mass is now more or less jelly donut density. This of course means that when it comes to big waves I have come to rely on accumulated wave knowledge over time and muscle memory. Muscle memory being the one thing I work on before a proper swell shows. Putting in my water time the day(s) before the arrival of large surf allows me to tap into that muscle memory so hopefully when I hit the surf I’ll have developed a flow and rhythm that might just help keep me from getting my ass handed to me…sometimes it seems to work.


 

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Chris Ford

I just get extremely amped when I know it’s gonna get big, then immediately find center and begin to visualize. I may visualize the source of the power and it’s relationship with the Earth. I might visualize my relationship with the swell, the when and where possibilities/probabilities, my current ability and getting barreled, making sections, body positioning etc. This all happens very quickly. When I’m on the beach I am calm. I may imagine myself as an old man on the beach watching the raw ocean and all my surfing ability dried up. I become thankful, focus on charging and making it to the beach safely for my family. I think of my grandpa.


 

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Ron Pringle

Besides the obvious wind and tides check and how it will affect the best times to get in the water, I like to drink a couple of quarts of coconut water to really hydrate – If I can I get on the Pulsed ElectroMagnectic Frequency device available to us at WaveBalance Wellness in Dana Point ( John John and Kelly among many others have been known to make great use of this astoundingly rad technology there with Dr. Burton Lucich) and I take a product called master amino acid pattern at least 10 of them an hr or so before the sesh – for sure the power of positive thinking comes into play and only using the spoken words that pass my lips to talk only about what I want, and never about what I don’t want. Most of all seeing myself in the bowl laughing with my bros and the best possible outcome enjoying what Neptune and Nature delivers. Good Vibes!!


Photograph by Morgan Launer

Tim Barnes

I get much more focused and excited about a strong storm in the NPAC because they are much easier to predict.  I am studying models, tracking buoys – I even created my own forecast tool in a spreadsheet to calculate the exact arrival time at my favorite breaks.  I never get much sleep before a big swell due to the excitement and anticipation but I certainly make sure to eat very well the night before I expect the surf to show up.  The morning of I always put my wetsuit on first thing because there is no way in hell I am going to walk away if the conditions don’t look “perfect.”  Driving in the dark to the beach I am pumping music – “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” is a great song by Black Rebel Motorcycle Gang and a big-swell favorite.  Also – a little liquid courage goes a long way – I usually pack a tall-boy beer in my bag to drink while I measure up the swell.  Loosens me up for when I inevitably get my ass handed to me as I sync up with the rhythm of the new energy.

Bodysurfing yarns woven 'tween crest & trough