New Surfing Students Over Estimate Their Fitness


Cut backWhen I teach Oceanside Surf Lessons to new students, most of them would say they are fit. As soon as they begin to learn what surfing demands, they realize they have not gone far enough with their program. Surfing physically is one of the more demanding sports.

You might get away with incomplete fitness riding a bike or snowboarding or playing basketball. Surfing demands flexibility, upper body strength, core strength, and power to weight strength. The power to weight is a stopper for a majority of adults because they can no longer power their over weight bodies with agility.

I ask students if they can touch their palms to the ground without bending their knees. I find that even 12 year olds can’t do this. Getting the front foot past the middle of the board on a pop up requires flexibility. Lacking it causes the foot to land behind the midline and the nose of the board to rise in the water dumping the surfer.

Students can often do a pop up while on the sand which is an athletic and gymnastic move to rise to the feet. In the water where there is no support for the board students often cannot do more than raise their body off the board like in a push up. When it comes to springing so the front foot moves between the hands, they don’t have the upper body and core strength to execute.

In my list of which students perform best I first have to say those that are lean. Secondly, gymnasts have the total body strength and balance to perform well. Yoga students have surprised me but they have an over all body strength and flexibility. Athletes like tri athletes have total body strength.

Students can develop the necessary skills by practice. Doing the pop up as in the video on the landing page of this site 25 times a day for a few months will make even the weakest student more adept. Surf techniques are muscle specific so one has to practice and develop the necessary muscles.

Push ups and crunches are basic. Stretching so that the head can touch the knees in various postures is valuable. Loosening the buttocks with various yoga poses is just as crucial as the hamstrings and lower back. One legged yoga postures do help with balance as would riding a bike, skateboarding, or balancing on a curb.

If you follow what professional surfers place in their routine you would see how much preparation is necessary. They may surf an hour and a half a day and then spend two hours developing their entire body structure. Surfing is glorious, but it is not as easy as it appears.


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