Surfing: How to Increase Endurance

As a surfer, it can sometimes be frustrating when you want to surf, but your body doesn’t want to play the game. A full-body sport, it requires discipline, training and stamina. Surfers are continually pushing themselves to their limits, making it an exhausting sport, regardless of experience.

To ride the waves, surfers challenge themselves mentally and physically. The ocean is unpredictable, so until you're out there, you can never be 100% certain what you'll face. Wiping out can be an intense experience, as you may be thrown about by the wave and pushed under the water.


© Dudarev Mikhail /

Riding the waves can provide a full body workout including biceps, triceps, trapezius, obliques, latissimus dorsi and deltoids. It builds muscle strength in your legs and upper body, as well as providing a cross-training effect and a great core workout.

There are various strength-building exercises that can increase a surfer's endurance when on the water. Being able to enjoy surfing to the fullest requires a high level of strength, so improve your fitness to have the best time.


1. Chin-ups

Upper body training and strength is the key to keeping your balance when getting up on a surfboard. When you spot a good wave, don't miss it because you can't get up quickly enough. One of the best ways to improve your chances of success is by doing chin-ups.

Grab the chin-up bar with both hands directly above your shoulders as a starting position. Then, lift yourself until your chin is positioned above the bar. You might find it tough going at first. The aim is to complete two sets of six reps. Take one minute's break in between them. If you can't manage this, just do as many as you can at first and build up gradually.


2. Running

Running exercises are great for building up endurance, as they include plenty of cardio. The easiest way is to simply go outdoors and run as often as possible for as long as you can manage. This improves your lung capacity, keeps you at your ideal weight and strengthens your legs - all important benefits if you intend to be out there surfing for hours.

If you can't go out for a run whenever you feel like it due to other commitments, establish a set routine, with a minimum of a 30-minute run three times a week. Alternatively, try running with short bursts of speed, rather than long, moderately-paced runs. For example, ten minutes' intense bursts of speed, combined with short rest periods in between, can work wonders for endurance.


3. Front squats

Squats are useful to strengthen the legs, helping surfers to get up on the board and stay out for longer. Front squats can improve your technique and help your endurance and posture.

Complete three sets of 12 squats to start. Then, begin adding more squats over time to build up your endurance. Once you've mastered the pattern, start adding weights to strengthen your ankles, hips, knees and lower back areas.


4. Dumbbell drills

Using dumbbells, rather than a fixed resistance fitness machine, is a good method of training for surfers, as this mimics the dynamic nature of surfing. Dumbbells are very versatile and can be used to exercise almost every muscle group.


Try deadlifts to increase your upper body and arm strength. Practice one-arm swings and even bench presses. If you bend over at an angle of 90 degrees and do rowing movements, carrying a dumbbell in each hand, this helps improve your core and back strength. Initially, do five reps per arm and increase the number gradually.


5. Pushups

Pushups work on multiple muscle groups at the same time, building your core and upper body strength. This will help immensely as you paddle towards a wave and quickly pop up on your surfboard. Doing regular pushups will help surfers to avoid any shoulder injuries.

Do as many as you can, building up the number gradually as your fitness improves. To make them more of a challenge, add some weight to your back.


Choosing a surfboard

Once you've increased your endurance and are ready to surf for longer, make sure you reward yourself with the best surfboard – well, you’ve earned it! Ocean Magic creates quality hand-crafted surfboards at our Cornish factory.

Try our Board Builder for custom-made boards designed from scratch. You can build a surfboard to suit your level of performance and ability.

If you want a new board fast, check out our Stock Room for a range of surfboards that are available and ready to be dispatched the next working day.