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The bare necessities.
Although I am first and foremost a surfer, I am aware that some days, boards can be left on the beach, for some alternative wave-riding activities. Indeed, I am referring to good old-fashioned bodysurfing. Over the years, after many surf trips consisting of a couple (or several) flat / blown out / unsurfable days, I have learned my lesson to never, ever travel anywhere without my swim fins. Back home, bodysurfing is a favorite summertime activity among myself and many of my friends. It has almost become somewhat of a trend within the longboard scene to have a pair of fins, a handplane, and a surf mat included in the quiver. While some may argue that this is just a retro hipster thing and that it’ll pass soon, I argue that people have just rediscovered how dang fun the occasional whomp can be.
There’s just something about that feeling of being thrashed about by some shorebreak. Personally, I am so used to having a giant board and thus hoping to avoid any type of situation in which I am going to take a set on the head, I find relief in being solely responsible for my own person. I almost feel that it's therapeutic to be completely washing-machined in the white water; I let my body go sort of limp, finding peace within the chaos. I am aware that this experience is many people’s greatest fears, and I know it's not for everyone, but regardless, there is so much enjoyment that can be gained just from chucking a simple pair of flippers in your bag before hitting the beach.
On a tropical vacation, standard swim fins can not only be used for bodysurfing, but in a pinch can be used for some casual snorkeling or free diving! While they don’t exactly make a perfect substitute for dive fins, they definitely do the trick and are a more versatile accessory to bring on a trip when packing space is limited. Even here in Byron, I’ll swim out with my DaFin flippers just to float around and try to spot some manta rays and turtles! Swimming with fins also is a great, no-impact leg workout, so it serves as a fantastic cross-training tool.
Bodysurfing fins last for ages, are generally affordable, and are easy to keep in your car or bring along on vacation, so there’s really no reason not to grab a pair (or dust off the ones that have been sitting on your garage for the last decade).