Be Surf-Ready: Top Ways to Train For Your Next Surf Trip
by Mia Angela Dagsaan
Thursday, January 17, 2019
If you can’t ride waves every single day, staying in shape and working out for strength, agility, and endurance should be top items in your checklist.
Surfing is a physically demanding sport that demands constant maintenance, and preparation.
With these top tips, take the beatings and catch more waves when you finally get your long-awaited water time.
Surfing Fitness Essentials: Training for Strength and Endurance
Aim to constantly improve your surfing performance. An excellent surfer maintains body strength and endurance to stay in the water for hours. A good surf workout enhances your capacity to paddle out to great distances and crash against powerful waves.
If you don’t surf regularly, be aware that athletic performance tends to decline after being sedentary for two weeks. If your arms, core, and shoulders don’t have enough strength to paddle strong, you might miss your waves and take many beatings when paddling out.
These workouts will help when you’re not in the water. Exert time and effort to maintain your surfing progress and confidence!
Swimming, running, and jogging are exercises that keep your heart pumping for your next surf session. These exercises can be done for free – just hop into your favorite pair of training shoes and run around the block!
If you can find a nearby public pool, it’s even better so you can practice survival swimming. Be prepared for when you break your leash and need to swim back to shore.
For surfers, it is advised to train for a minimum of 150 minutes per week at around 65% to 80% of your target heart rate. This amounts to a thirty-minute run every day or an hour at the treadmill three times a week.
Surfing is primarily a cardiovascular activity. But keep in mind that strength also plays a key role in determining how well you move around the water, maneuver your board, and carry yourself.
Practice lifting weights (not just for a heavy longboard!) and aim to increase the amount of force that your muscles can exert. If you can hit the gym, here are good weightlifting exercises for surf strength:
- Dumbbell rows – engages your core for better balance
- Squats – strengthens your lower back and core for paddling endurance
- Bench-presses – activates the back and shoulder muscles required for pulling water during paddling
- Kettlebell swings – helps you generate explosive power, fast motion, and flexibility
Weightlifting is beneficial for surfing as long as you don’t wear yourself out and pack on too much weight (keep a balanced diet!). High repetitions and low – but challenging – weights are encouraged.
Aim for strong and lean. Keep your body light and agile. You’re not training for powerlifting; what you want to accomplish here is endurance and stamina for better wave riding!
Living A Healthy Lifestyle and Forming Good Habits
Fitness isn’t just about stepping into the gym, playing in the field, or surfing at your local break. If you want to stay in shape – and surf better – you must keep a “fitness mindset” and design your lifestyle towards improving your performance.
Most surfers are carefree people who wear summer smiles on their tanned, chiseled faces. After a surf session, you might catch them at the local pub with buddies enjoying a couple rounds of beer. Don’t be fooled though – athletes can have a good time, but they don’t ever “let go” and let a poor lifestyle get in the way of their performance.
Get Quality Sleep
If you religiously work out and physically engage yourself, make sure you get enough rest at the end of the day.
The body needs recovering. When you lift weights, for example, your muscles experience “micro tears” that must be repaired through proper diet and rest. The same is true for when you’re surfing or training for sports.
Educate yourself about good sleep hygiene. Practice rituals and habits that encourage quality sleeping.
Here are some tips:
- Avoid using electronic gadgets before bedtime
- Practice sleeping and waking up at the same time
- If you use an alarm clock, don’t get used to hitting the snooze
- Avoid consuming caffeine and nicotine
- Keep your bed comfortable and dedicate it as a place for sleep
On the days that you can’t surf, you might feel anxious because you’re missing the sport. It could be you’re dealing with your office job, business, or personal matters.
In case you don’t hear this reminder enough, focus on the next two words: stay sane!
As a surfer, you must maintain a strong, sharp, and calm mind. When on dry land, do your best to take care of your mental health. Try the following stress-reduction techniques:
- Deep breathing exercises
When you finally hit the water, it is important to be on the top of your game and be fully prepared: physically and mentally.
Drink More Water, Eat Clean, and Stay Clean
Watch what you put in your mouth. Becoming a good surfer is also about embracing clean eating habits and being educated about proper nutrition.
Here are quick reminders in case you missed them:
- Consume enough calories – you need energy for your pre-surfing workouts
- Eat whole foods, cut sugary beverages, and eliminate processed junk – get quality nutrition from your diet
- Get the right combination of macros – develop muscles to stay lean and burn fat
- Consume a gallon of water every day – fluids wash down toxins and boost metabolism
Try maintaining a strong and lean physique to catch more waves and be agile in the water. The right combination of diet and exercise will help you achieve this.
Watch surf videos
Use your time to discover new techniques, wave riding styles, and familiarizing yourself with proper surfing skills – by learning visually.
There are a plethora of surfing videos and full-length movies that you can watch online. It is also a great idea to exchange tips and get advice from fellow surfers through forums, groups, and communities.
Embodying a Surfer Lifestyle
Preparing for the surf doesn’t happen just a few moments before getting wet. It goes beyond waxing your board, checking your leash, and choosing your wetsuit or board shorts.
As soon as you step out of the water after a surf session, keep in mind that you’re already preparing for the next one.
If you can’t practice in the water for weeks or months due to time or geophysical certain constraints, don’t feel limited about your surfing competency. Nothing should restrict you from priming yourself and staying as strong as surfers who practically live by the beach.
Be prepared so you can ride more waves when you finally hit the water. Stay stoked!