A Secret Surf Shop

A Secret Surf Shop

Date Posted: 24 Jul 2019

Belly Boarding in Bude

If you want to have fun on your holidays in a sustainable way and limit the impact you have on the environment then this is just the blog for you. This month we met up with Paul from Zuma Jay to find out all about the fun sport of belly boarding!

If you have ever visited Bude, then the name Zuma Jay will be familiar to you. To locals and keen surfers Zuma Jay is an institution. Opened in the 1970s, the guys in this surf shop know what they are talking about, all being avid surfers themselves. No-one makes it onto the team unless they have proved their passion for the waves!

Last year, Zuma Jay published a blog about the true cost of using cheap bodyboards in our seas and the damage they do to our environment and it made the Bude community stop and think. Holidaymakers (and locals) often enjoy a day at the beach but may not realise the implications of purchasing a cheap £6.99 bodyboard that is used just a few times and is quickly forgotten after the holiday ends. We have all been guilty of these purchases in the past and in fact Zuma Jay used to sell these boards before they were more enlightened. You can read their full article here. This blog though is about a fun, sustainable and somewhat vintage alternative to cheap bodyboards.

We’re talking about belly boards.  Grandfather to the modern surfboards, these thin wooden boards haven’t changed much over the last seven decades. Made in Cornwall and proudly sporting the Zuma Jay logo, these are the most fun you can have with a 5ft piece of marine grade plywood, period.

There is no standing up like surfing and the experience is more akin to bodyboarding.  Although, whereas with bodyboards you position your whole body on the board, with the belly board around a third of it is ahead of you.  It is a niche hobby, but belly boarding has a dedicated following and we are lucky enough to have The World Belly Board Championships right here in Perranporth, Cornwall.  2019’s championship is being held on the 8th September, with more than 200 competitors taking part from all over the world.

It seems that buying a belly board is pretty straight forward too! Paul, manager of Zuma Jay, says that because the original design of the belly board has barely changed since the 50s, all you really need to look for is a board that meets, or is just a little higher than your belly button.

As for technique, belly board makers Dick Pearce, advise ‘Stand in thigh deep water with your back to the incoming waves holding the board.  Choose a wave about to break approximately a metre behind you and push off, body on board, legs trailing’

There must be a high maintenance care routine though, right?  Nope, a rub down with linseed oil once a year is all that is needed and once purchased, your belly board will last a lifetime of fun in the sea (and perhaps even be passed to the next generation).  Zuma Jay’s belly boards are all made locally by Dick Pearce and The Traditional Surf Co, priced at £70 they sit within most people’s budgets.

If you only get to make it to the seaside once a year or less though, what is the point of buying a board?  Completely agree… which is why you can rent a belly board from Zuma Jay instead.  Get out on the waves, make a big splash and no need to have to squeeze it in an already cramped car for the journey home or have it take up space in the garage.

Belly boarding is all about having fun in the water with the added benefit of not impacting the environment.  Be ahead of the curve, because we think belly boarding is only to get more popular in the years to come!


Zuma Jay 20.9 (2 of 7)
Zuma Jay (6 of 7)
Zuma Jay 20.9 (3 of 7)

Related Blog Posts...