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Bodyboarding

Champion bodyboarder Hugo Pinheiro discovers the roots of his sport

YouTube filmmaker Andy Burgess joins five-time European bodyboarding champ, Hugo Pinheiro, on a trip to Hawaii to explore the history of wave riding with some of the sport's most celebrated watermen.
By Andrew Lewis
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Hugo Pinheiro

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The origins of most extreme sports go back only a few decades, but for surfers and bodyboarders – what we like to collectively call waveriders – the roots of their sports run deep. And we're not talking, like, centuries deep. We're talking millennia deep.
But first, let's go over the basics. Think about a typical summer beach scene and your typical idea of a surfer. You're probably imagining the girls and guys standing up and riding waves on fibreglass surfboards – not the kids riding the whitewater on those finless, foam boards. Right?
Well, the truth is, the kids riding the whitewater are surfing just as much as those standing up on the waves.
When we think of waveriding, the first thing that pops into most people's minds is traditional – or stand-up – surfing. While it's true that ancient Melanesians and Polynesians, living in what would eventually become Fiji, Hawaii and the other island chains scattered across the tropical Pacific Ocean – used wooden planks to stand up on and ride waves for fun, they also laid down on them prone, to ride waves on their bellies.
Andy Burgess and Hugo Pinheiro survey the surf at Pipeline on the North Shore of Hawaii.
Andy and Hugo check out Pipeline
But that little fact has been forgotten in recent decades. So, filmmaker Andy Burgess decided to team up with Portugal's Hugo Pinheiro to set the record straight. And there's only one place to go to do just that: Hawaii.
This past winter, Burgess and Pinheiro headed to the Hawaiian islands to meet with bodyboarding royalty – guys like Mike Stewart and Kainoa McGee – to talk about the evolution of bodyboarding as a modern extreme sport, and to travel to some of Hawaii's key bodyboarding waves, like Pipeline, on the North Shore of Oahu.
Along the way, Burgess and Pinheiro paddle out with Hawaiian pro surfers CJ Kahuna and Cliff Kapono to test drive replicas of ancient Hawaiian surfboards, like the Paipo and Alaia.
If you're looking for a dose of history to add to your surfing addiction, there's no better trip to take than this one with Burgess and Pinheiro. But the question remains: surrounded by all these surf legends, will Burgess step off into the ocean and give bodyboarding a go? Watch here to find out!
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Hugo Pinheiro

PortugalPortugal
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