Many people's backs will hurt just watching the above bodyboarding video. It's a five-minute montage of flips, turns, and wipeouts on thick slabs of crashing surf. For others, the video will be inspiration to get in the lineup. For others, the video will just lead to some grunting, and, possibly, swearing.
Surfline has a great history of modern bodyboarding. It starts off with the fact that a number of surfers aren't exactly fond of the shortboarders—case in point the not-so-politically-correct reference to them as "dick-draggers." Then it moves onto the details. The modern bodyboard was born when Tom Morey designed a shortened rectangular mat and took it out in the Hawaiian surf. By 1977 he was producing 80,000 a year. The first professional event took place in 1979, inspiring more events all over the world. You might not have heard of a single professional event, but there's an International Bodyboarding Association that that draws competitors from eight regional tours to determine a world champion.