Are you physically prepared for surfing as a beginner?
Nearly 60 years ago the Beach Boys were smashing the charts talking about a new evolution in sports called surfing, and since then millions have tried it, and thousands try the sport every year.
And what could be simpler, right? You simply paddle out on a board, turn toward shore
and catch what seems to be an endless wave.
Simple that is until you get crushed by a wave a few times because you didn't paddle fast enough, or you wake up the following day feeling aches and pains you didn't even know were possible.
No, you don't have to be a Mr or MS Olympia contestant to master surfing, but if you are going to master the sport, or at least continue with it and have a lot of fun, then you had better get in surfing shape, or at least be beginner prepared for the rigors of surfing.
Here are some exercises you might consider, as well as why they will help you be a better surfer:
#1 Pull-ups and push-ups
Yes, that's right, we combined two exercises into one. Of course, you have to do them one at a time, but beginning surfers are often amazed at just how much their arm muscles are involved in surfing.
Paddling (and paddling fast) is one of the sports hidden requirements, as are push-ups to simulate duck dives and pop-ups.
We like the approach of Starsurf Camps who run a chain of surfing schools, which suggests that the best exercises are often done with speed and force
to simulate surfing.
So try to do your pull-ups and push-ups fast, to simulate the actual movements in surfing.
#2. Hindu Pushups
While Hindu Pushups, a somewhat complex move that involves the triceps, pectorals, and hamstring muscles, are great for tuning up your body, the main benefit of Hindu Pushups is in strengthening the upper and lower back muscles, which are intimately involved in surfing.
To see how they are done, try this YouTube Video for a detailed look.
#3. Consider Foundation Stretching
Dr. Tim Brown, a licensed physical therapist an avid surfer, and co-medical director for the World Surfing League is consulted by many surfers with body/pain concerns.
In 2015, Dr. Brown told the Orange County register that Most surfers surf to train, while he advocates training to surf.
Among Dr. Browns, pivotal advice is stretching thoroughly and one of the best foundational core of stretching exercises are found at
Dr. Browns stretching exercisses
Here there are not one but actually 12 video exercises.
Dr. Brown says that the problem with surfing is that in many ways the body in from the knees to the neck is not ready for it, and in addition, surfing tends to be asymmetrical, meaning that depending upon a surfer's body preference, they will mostly make all of their turns in one direction only.
Dr. Brown is convinced that stretching properly is the essence of being able to go out in the water and surfing without body pain, particularly for those in their 40s and above, that he would much rather have them do his basic stretching exercises above any other types of the bodies training exercise.
That is high praise for stretching, but beginners should probably do these stretching exercises, (at least 3 or 4 of them) before moving to other physical stamina exercises.
For alignment, mobility, and stretching at the same time, Dr. Brown recommends that all surfers at least adopt his basic, foundational exercise which involves stretching the back, the hips, the legs, and the hips altogether.
For a demonstration of his favorite exercise, try going to Dr. Browns Foundation Exercise
Burpees were created by physiologist Royal Huddleston Burpee around 1940 as a way to quickly assess the ability of a person's physical fitness.
So popular were burpees that in World War II, the United States Military used burpees as a general test of recruit candidates test of their physical fitness.
How many burpees a recruit could do in 20 seconds gave the candidate a fitness rating of poor, fair, or excellent. In addition, soldiers were considered ready for the rigors of war if they could do 40 or more burpees non-stop, in an easy manner.
Burpees stress your legs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, arms, chest, and shoulders, but for surfers, in particular, the way burpees test your legs and hips matters a great deal to your ability to control the board while out surfing.
To see a burpee in action, we like this video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJrdJBWBu08.
#5. Russian Twists
By all means, do not neglect your core waist muscles when learning to surf.
While there are many, exercises for your waist, we prefer the Russian Twist.
Russian Twists tend to work your core abdominal muscles and your hips, which are essential for surfing.
In fact, the day after your first outing on the surf, you have probably never thought of your hips in your life, but the next day, your hips will be hurting something awful.
The hips are actually involved in many sports, but surfing really tests them.
For a solid core, consider doing Russian Twists.
It is much easier to see Russian Twists demonstrated than to describe them, so again, YouTube is our friend.
There are many choices to choose from, but we like this one performed by a professional with training at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhFynCkYtD4.
Two or three sets three or four times per week will do wonders not only for your
core but for your surfing.
Finally, we love lunges as an exercise to challenge your legs and your hips.
Lunges are much easier to do technically than squats, and 3 to 5 sets per day will greatly improve your surfing ability.
The bottom line
Exercise can make a huge difference in your ability to surf, and above that, you'll experience far less pain.
At a minimum, you should do at least three stretching exercises every day, and do the others at least two or three times per week.