Surfing instructor Clayton Beatty talks us through the varying degrees of fitness needed when riding the waves.
The challenges of surfing
Duck diving: Diving under an oncoming wave. Timing your paddle into a wave.
Popping up (take off): Making sure you pop up quickly and stay low to keep a low centre of gravity for better balance.
The muscles engaged
Paddling: The shoulders and upper back muscles.
Duck diving: The chest, arms and core muscles.
Popping up or takeoff: Chest, arms, core muscles and balance.
Surfing a wave: Legs (mainly your quads, glutes, hamstrings) and core muscles.
Why you need good balance
Balance is crucial in order for you to take off correctly when you are riding a wave or about to ride. In order to have good balance you must work on your core stability and learn to keep the movement in your hips, knees and ankles steady.
Why you need a strong core and upper body strength
Core strength is what gives you the balance needed for duck diving, popping up, and riding a wave correctly. If someone has a weak core then their body cannot transfer force effectively, causing them to lose movement efficiency while surfing.
Upper body strength is important for endurance when paddling, power and for duck diving and popping up on the board.
A regular surfer’s body
Surfing is an excellent total body workout. It combines cardiovascular fitness, core strength, stability, balance, upper and lower body strength and power as well as mobility and flexibility.
Surfing on a regular basis builds up cardiovascular endurance and creates a lean muscle definition.
Surfers are likely to have low body fat and be more agile.