BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014
Wales Surfing

BBC Homepage
Wales Home

Contact Us

Pre-surf stretch, North Shore - Getty Images


Nothing prepares you for surf fitness better than surfing itself. There are however, a few things you can do to keep the right muscles in working order and help you surf longer.

Fit to surf

  • Swimming

  • Obviously swimming will help your surfing so try and practise in the sea rather than the pool. This will get you in tune with the ocean and prepare you for surfing. "When paddling, surfers use a lot of the same muscles as swimmers," says long time surfer, chiropractor and trainer of surf stars, Tim Brown of Newport, USA - Spine & Sport. swimming
    Swimmers are big on strength training but most surfers can't be bothered. This says Brown is a mistake as "Surfers should take advantage of down time between swell or seasons to work on their muscular imbalances.
    They should strengthen the muscles they use but also work on the opposing muscle groups - stretching, aligning the joints, working through a full range of motion."

  • Running

  • Still considered one of the best exercises out there. Yes, it's mind numbingly boring! But it's a great cardiovascular workout for the heart. runningRunning on hard sand near the water's edge will give your legs a better workout and there will also be less impact on your joints.

    Former UK World Champion - 'Pottz' and 'Occy' religiously ran up and down sand dunes to improve fitness during their time on the ASP Surfing Tour.

  • Weights

  • If you want to have strong arms for paddling buy a set of dumbells as they can be used to work out your entire upper body as well as your arms - you can buy a second hand pair for virtually nothing. Here are some workouts you can do with dumbells and weights to improve your upper body and paddling fitness.

    The Dumbell Row - Pick up one dumbell in you left or right hand. Lean forward and support yourself on your free hand. Keep your back straight and don't let your shoulders hang down. Slowly pull the dumbell upwards, keeping your arm close to your body.

    Change sides after every set. Use a weight your are comfortable with - a 5kg dumbell should work for most people. Do as many sets as you can x 3 a week and gradually work on it. weight reps
    Lying Triceps Extension - This one is excellent for paddling - try do this with a light weight and do x 200 reps as you want this muscle to be strong enabling you to paddle longer. Do this x2 a week and then one day a week with a heavier weight to build muscle.

    Choose a weight that you can only do 15 reps on. Lie on a weight bench (or anything so that your arms can move freely behind your head) and raise a light barbell over your chest whilst keeping your back straight.

    Lower the bar down behind your head in a semi-circular motion until your upper arms are parallel to the ground.

    Front Shoulder Press - You will need a pair of dumbells in both hands again to do the same exercise as above x2 with lighter weight and x1 day with heavier.

    This exercise is good for working your upper body and shoulders for paddling. Sit with your back straight and slowly lift the dumbells upwards until the bars almost touch each other.

    Start with your palms facing inward, then when your upper arms reach the level of your shoulders, rotate you palms forward.

  • Press Ups

  • Another great exercise for paddling and one you can do alone. Do a certain amount every night and set yourself a goal of between 20-30 a night depending on your fitness for the first fortnight and then build on it.

    If you are a beginner surfer it really helps to have done some work on your arms as you'll be doing lots of paddling. As always the best exercise to work your paddling muscles is actually getting out there and surf, even on flat days.

  • Yoga

  • Many top professional surfers are now turning to Yoga to increase their longevity and strength. Taylor Knox is a re-nound big wave surfer and won the K2 Big Wave in 1998 after riding a 52 foot wave at Todos Santos.

    Taylor Knox - "Yoga changed my surfing and my life". Women's professional surfer Rochelle Ballard is also a convert - "Surfing is all about being flexible and loose and nothing helps more than Yoga."

    She firmly believes that Yoga has helped her develop the stamina, power and mental focus needed to perform well in the water. "Surfers need to be strong and flexible and nothing does that better than Yoga!"
    Yoga information courtesy of

    Disclaimer:The information found within this site is for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for medical advice from your own doctor or any other health care professional. The BBC is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the information shown within this website. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

    More information on health and fitness can be found here.

    About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy