A good bottom turn is they key to good bodyboarding.
The top guys can really be noticed by the ease and smoothness that they convert the speed that they’ve gained from dropping into a wave into down-the-line speed.
The common misconception with bottom turning is that, like surfers, you fly down the wave straight and then crank a sharp bottom turn to head back up the lip. This makes it very difficult to hold your speed, and bodybaorders need to approach the turn differently. Angled takeoffs with a smooth direction change are much more effective.
When you feel that you’ve caught the wave, move forward into the trim position and ride down the wave at an angle. The bottom turn is the act of engaging the rail in the wave face and converting speed from one direction to the other, so the emphasis is on keeping the turn smooth and skip-free. When you are ready to initiate the turn (as you reach the bottom half of the wave), begin to lean your shoulder over towards the wave face, arch your back and focus on drawing an unbroken line with your rail.
A good bottom turn sees none of the rider’s body touching the water through the turn (except maybe their legs). If your elbow or shoulder touches the water it will slow you down by creating drag. Many riders bend their outside leg at the knee through the bottom turn. It is now that you can use your outside hand to pull up slightly on the rail. The steeper the wave, the more that the rail will need to be pulled up.
Slowish beachbreak waves only require a slightly angled bottom turn. Wedgy or reef waves require a more forced, defined turn. In bigger waves the bottom turn can be one of the harder moves in bodyboarding and definitely the most important as it’s vital for setting up other moves.