A shift in focus from competitions to social media likes as a result of a downturn in sponsorship dollars is the reason why bodyboarding faces its modern-day struggles.
World-renowned bodyboarder Ryan Hardy shared some tricks of the trade when he held a coaching clinic in Port Macquarie on Saturday afternoon.
The 2006 Australian Tour and 2009 Pipeline champion has seen the change in how people perceive the sport - both in and out of the water - over the last decade in particular.
"That drive to compete is not there as much as it was when I was professional," he said.
"The younger guys who get into it these days are into it for fun and to get some videos to share on Instagram because they make their name in the world that way rather than through competition.
"A young rider wants to shine and competition is not so much the way to shine as it was in the 90s and 2000s."
The result is a lack of a competitive edge because riders aren't interested in pursuing a career in bodyboarding.
"The aspiration they have nowadays is to get a really (video) good clip or surf a nuts wave or ride in a video section, that's what they're aspiring to," Hardy said.
"When I was younger the magazines and videos had so much focus on the competitions and all the best guys in the world were doing it so that was what I aspired to.
"Now if you really look at it, it's quite clear that the career possibility is not really there."
Hardy said the industry had changed and the focus was creating an image on social media rather than chasing sponsorship money.
However, the founder of the Ryan Hardy Bodyboarding School had noticed the number of people taking up bodyboarding as a hobby had increased.
He was hopeful that could lead to more development opportunities and a resurgence of the sport over the next decade.
"Given the current global climate, it's a good time to get a bodyboard and forget about all the dramas of the world," he said.
"Anyone in the family can get a salt fix and when you get home the dark COVID news of the world isn't so bad.
"You appreciate where you live, but it does seem like a positive time for growth and development in Australia for bodyboarding."
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