I've done both. I can not for the life of me see how people find body boarding more fun then surfing. Some of the above posts prove the point that body boarding is for people not athletic enough to surf. Surfing is difficult..takes time to master. Today's culture of immediate gratification has youngins drawn to bodyboarding more and more. I will admit..surfing is a bit more expensive..especially when your board breaks and you're more limited in where you can go out but laying down on a wave vs standing up on a wave is no comparison.
I don't disparage anyone for body boarding, but in my humble opinion it's no where near as fun as surfing.