Testing Your Physical Fitness with Surfing


Teaching Surf Lessons in Oceanside to over 200 people a year, I encounter a variety of physical conditions.  Surfing requires different assets than running, biking, baseball, soccer or other sports people engage in with little difficulty. The closest allies to surfing are swimming and triathalons. Yoga and gymnastics are excellent preparations for surfing because of the stretching, core strength, and upper body development.Take off

Surfing requires upper body strength in proportion to body weight. Even though kids are lean, they don’t have the upper body strength to do a real pop up. Because they are light, they can still get on the board and get into proper position to ride waves.

Adults who have gone flabby in the middle have also probably gone soft in the upper body muscles. They have the double burden of pushing up a belly with a weak upper body. Then there is the flexibility issue. The pop up brings a knee up to the chest while placing both hands at the forward foot. Tight buttock, lower back, or hamstrings muscles make this more difficult.

Balance is important in surfing. Most people don’t have a balance problem once they are up. The second part of the balance is having the hands in front of the body so that the body is positioned properly on the board. Once I can get students to turn their body toward the beach after popping up, they do fine.

The paddling stamina is noticed after about an hour of lessons. I let stronger students start paddling for their own waves early. When I think stamina is going to be a problem I push students into the waves. If students are getting tired of paddling I start pushing them into waves again.

Even the most fit notice that they are tired at an hour and a half. This is to be expected for the surfing muscles have to be conditioned just as if you were going to start a running, biking, or swimming regimen.

One thing most people have in common is they find it fun. The surf board is a great boogie board and even if you are not great at pop ups, catching and riding waves is a real thrill. Those who need to build the pop up expertise can practice the motion in their living rooms. I have a video on the landing page that shows how to do it.


“I’ve read and watched so many on-line tutorials and I’ve gotta say your book is the coolest, most succinct and comprehensive I’ve seen. So good!” A. Parker, OR.

Surf Instructions 

Beginner to Advanced E Book   $5.95    Add to Cart     

Illustrated 80 page E Book  by Mark Kaplan, Surf Instructor Download Immediately Learning the Physical, Technical and Psychological stepping stones to becoming an Advanced Surfer

See Sample Pages


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