To get on the wave, bodysurfers must pick a direction, swim and/or kick and/or paddle hard, use their back or an outstretched arm, and ride the wave in a streamline position. Left and right turns can be performed by digging the shoulder into the wave, causing the person to slide to the side of the wave. To exit the wave immediately after catching it, simply drop the head and a tumble turn will exit the person out of the wave. Care must be taken to ensure the water is deep enough so that no injury is brought about by the head, neck, and shoulders hitting the sand. Other tricks or variations include underwater takeoffs, like the "Dolphin Pop" which involves diving towards the shore in waist-deep water as the wave prepares to break, resulting in popping out on the wave like a dolphin, as well as spins, barrel rolls, and the ever-popular getting pounded.
Some bodysurfers have a minimalist attitude toward wave riding and consider their sport to be more pure than other forms of riding waves--this philosophy was originated by Robert Hankins, BB&T Banker and two-time California "Body-Surfing King of the Beach". Because velocity is slower without a board (due to increased drag and limited planing ability), bodysurfers tend to focus on barrel riding. Consequently, bodysurfers tend to congregate on slower waves or shorebreak, where close-out barrels are the flavor of the day. Getting "tubed" is generally considered the grail of surfing, which may help explain the superior attitude bodysurfers have toward their sport. Some surfers in Hawaii have stated that they use bodysurfing as conditioning for big wave riding.