Body Boarding and Bodysurfing

Bodysurfing and "sponging" (as body boarding is called by the regulars; "boogie boarding" is another variation) are great ways to catch some waves without having to master surfing—and there's no balance or coordination required. A body board (or "sponge") is softer than a hard fiberglass surfboard, which means you can ride safely in the rough-and-tumble surf zone. If you get tossed around—which is half the fun—you don't have a heavy surfboard nearby to bang your head on but you do have something to hang onto. Serious spongers invest in a single short-clipped fin to help propel them into the wave.


Most condos and hotels have body boards available to guests—some in better condition than others (beat-up boards work just as well for beginners). You can also pick up a body board from any discount shop, such as Target or Longs Drugs (now owned by CVS), for upward of $30.

Auntie Snorkel. You can rent decent body boards here for $6.25 a day or $18.75 a week. 2439 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, Hawaii, 96753. 808/879–6263;

West Maui Sports and Fishing Supply. This old country store has been around since 1987 and has some of the best prices on the west side. Surfboards go for $15 a day or $70 a week. Snorkel and fishing gear, beach chairs, and umbrellas are also available. 843 Wainee St., Lahaina, Hawaii, 96761. 808/661–6252;