Surf Fitness and Training

“Training definitely helps the confidence of it, and you just feel a lot more ready. You’re just in that comfort of what your supposed to be doing and your body feels able to do whatever you want it to do, whatever you’re going to ask of it, and probably even a few steps more…” Ian Walsh, big wave surfer.

A couple of days ago I read an interesting article on the Surfer Magazine blog about a recent study on the functional surf fitness and physical demands of competitive surfing. The studies showed that to be a fit and functioning competitive surfer, you’ll need a “high endurance for paddling with bursts of high-intensity activity and short recovery times.” During a the tests run by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,the heat breakdown during a contest was as follows: Surfers spent 54 percent of the heat paddling, 28 percent of the time stationary on their boards, and only 8 percent of the heat spent actually riding waves. During the heat the heart rate was at it’s highest point just after the surfer had finished the wave.
What we can learn from these studies is key for our own surf training. We need to spend time doing exercises emphasising aerobic conditioning (swimming is great for this), fast recovery times, and high-intensity heart rate workloads. Feeling confident while surfing makes a huge difference, whether you are just out there surfing with friends or competing in a contest. Getting fit, strong, and engaging your mind and body throughout training will show huge results in your final surfing performance.
Here is a short video showing five basic exercises for each of the primary movements in surfing; paddling, duck diving, pop-up, hitting the lip, and barrel riding.

Leave a comment


  1. Thanks for posting Evie, we have a lot more videos and exercises we are releasing this week on our website


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