5 Keys to Quick Surfing Progress



When I teach Surf Lessons in Oceanside, I get a wide variety of physical specimens and athletic abilities. One common statement is this is much tougher than I thought it would be. Surfing requires athletic ability which can be divided into a few components, stamina, and preferably lean body weight.

Surfing looks easy. The films and videos make it look easy because the advanced surfers have been doing it for years and maybe train daily. Most people wouldn’t go for a gymnastics lesson. Yet, surfing is a little bit of gymnastics in disguise.

The four components of a good surfer are flexibility, upper body strength in proportion to their weight, flexibility, and stamina. What makes surfing more difficult than some people imagine is that they have trouble getting their body to perform a pop up in the water and they are tired quickly.

I have continuously tried to judge who makes up my best students or who is most likely to succeed. At first I found swimmers have the strength and stamina. Then a few gymnastics students were very good. Tri-athletes have all the components. And lately, I have found that students doing yoga only, have the necessary attributes.

That might give you an idea of what surfing requires. I ask my regular students to do pop ups in their living room on a daily basis like I and my friends did; for months. You can never have too good of a pop up if you are going to progress to bigger waves. There is a video on my landing page that demonstrates the proper form. Practice creates all the sport specific muscles.

Cross training is also helpful. If I surf only, it is very good for surfing but sometimes my over all conditioning starts to deteriorate. Like the pros, I believe you need more full body and other types of conditioning. I ride a bike because my knees no longer like running. I also have a good stretching/yoga routine every morning.

Many of my students, even the kids cannot put their palms on the ground without bending their knees. This is a good first test for flexibility. Flexibility is in the hamstrings, lower back, and what most people don’t realize, in the buttocks. Staying very loose also prevents tweaks when Mother Nature decides to tumble you and your board.

Nothing creates paddling stamina like paddling or swimming. The less you do, the bigger the board you want. The high volume board makes it easier to paddle out for waves and to catch waves. When you are tired paddling, the fatigue works its way into your body and you are done for the session.

Nutrition is important for all sports. Athletic training certainly includes the nutrition necessary for muscle recovery and energy. Most surfers like to eat an hour before they surf. Like any sport, you should eat afterward as well because the body absorbs protein it needs at that time.

So, as you can see, you can surf just to cross it off your bucket list, or you can get serious and train with a goal to be the best you can be.


Surf Instructions  Beginner to Advanced E Book   $5.95   

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Illustrated 80 page E Book 

by Mark Kaplan, Surf Instructor

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Learning the Physical, Technical and Psychological stepping stones to becoming an Advanced Surfer

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