Whether you are a beginner to the sport, or whether you are more serious about it, you will have realized by now that surfing is not something that you should be focusing on if you are unfit. Yeah, it’s possible to be fit and unhealthy.

I have seen some really fit surfers out there who are also very top heavy, but you will be a lot better off if you pay attention to what you are eating. You will also feel a lot better as well. I also thought this was a bunch of sales talk, but once I started to take in the essential nutrients I can tell you that I feel a million times better.

If you want the odd burger and fries then don’t stop yourself. You shouldn’t have to change your ways completely. Going from one extreme to another is not an easy thing to do, but you can adapt. Have a refreshing berry smoothie instead of that chocolate milkshake is going to do so much more for you.

beginner surfer

Once you start to change your ways, you will start to feel so good, I doubt you will want that burger again! Once you have lost those extra pounds you will definitely notice the difference when you go out paddling and it will increase your performance because often you have to speed up the process when a wave is breaking a lot quicker than you expected.

Generally, as a surfer, you want to be out there for some time, but it’s hardly comfortable if you are struggling to move your arms, huffing and puffing as you try to catch the next wave.

The Surfing Diet Plan

Skip the traditional three meals a day, and go for snack type meals. You will still have breakfast, lunch and dinner, but you will probably cut down on the portions and have two or three snacks in between.

Have a look at the five food groups and maintain a steady balance throughout the day. A snack would be one of the nutritional meals, which may consist of a couple of nuts and an apple or a protein bar if you are feeling there is more of a gap to fill. This will also depend on your requirements. You may need more and you may need less. You also have to assess how often you are surfing.

The Food Groups

  • Protein – this is a biggie that should be added on the surfing diet. Basically after weighing yourself you just need to double your weight to work out how many grams you are allowed. Do you get that? So if you are 70kg then it’s 140g. This is a powerful food group because it works with both the repair of the muscles as well as strength so don’t leave this one out.
  • Carbohydrates – it’s funny how things change because at one time carbs were the talk of the town, but lately they have been played down. In saying that, you can’t ignore your starches because you have to refuel. Focus on the right kind of carbs. Low-GI breads and flours are going to be great because they release the energy slowly.
  • Vegetables and Fruit – There are not many veggies that are not good for you, but there are a couple that are going to be more advantageous for you. The dark green veg like broccoli, cucumber and spinach are excellent. You will find protein in these vegetables and it also helps with muscle growth so you can’t complain too much about this. A lot of fruit falls under the carbohydrate section. Don’t have too much of this because certain fruits can pack on the calories. The good old banana is one of the healthy meals that is great to take along with you as a snack for when you have finished a session and are starving. You may want to think about a vitamin supplement if you think you are not able to get all these fruits and veggies all in one day, which can be a mission.
  • Dairy – things like yogurt, cheese and of course milk will fit in here. Don’t overindulge, but this is where a snack will come in handy. A couple of spoonfuls of low-fat yogurt will be excellent.


Any surfer knows that as soon as you come out of the water you are finished, especially if you had a really hard core session with some killer waves and you were really going for each and every one. If it was just a day out in the park then you may just need a cup of coffee to you warm you up and possibly a nice bowl of veggie soup when you get home.

advanced surfer

One thing that seems to work for the more serious surfers is L-Glutamine. Ask any pro and they will know what you are talking about. This is absolutely instant, getting your muscles back on track so you are ready to get out there a lot faster now that your endurance and recovery is right up to speed.

Another thing that helps is protein powder. It’s not for everyone because it can get expensive and it can be like having a meal out of a glass, but if you want to recover in no time then this may be the thing for you. For a pro surfer who is on tour then something like this will come to good use.

Surfing Exercises that Will Help Improve Perfomance

Apart from what you put into your system, there are a few guidelines to follow, which will help you when next you get on your board. These exercises are a good place to start.

You will also find that before you catch a wave you have to really turn to your stomach muscles for help, lifting you onto the board. When you become more advanced you will want to stick to specific surfing training exercises to help you get you performing at your very best.

Developing upper body strength, lower body strength as well as complete flexibility is all important. A lot of surfers go for yoga, not only as a way of conditioning their body, but also as a way of life. Getting into a routine with stretching, which can also help balance is a thing that you will want to think about. Routine can be boring, but if you just get up and do a couple of stretches you will feel a lot better already.

Core Exercises for Surfing

You will definitely see results in a couple of weeks if you do these exercises on a daily basis, but that doesn't mean you must stop doing them because you may just go back to square one. Try not to take too much of a break inbetween exercises.

  • Squats for 30 seconds as well as squat thrusts - this will help with your balance as well.
  • Use a stability ball to do push ups. This will help build major core strength.
  • One-leg squat - this will also help with balance. Five repetitions per leg.
  • Position yourself on your hands and knees. Raise one leg with the opposite arm at once and hold it for the count of ten. Then swap over. Repeat this ten times.

Surfing Exercises for Paddling

Every surfer has to paddle. You can't get away from this. Unless you want to be towed in to every wave because you are lazy or tired, but that just doesn't make sense if we are talking about the smaller stuff out there.This is where you have to pay a lot of attention to the upper body so that life is a lot easier for you at the end of the day.


Here are a couple of things that you can concentrate on:


  • Bench press
  • push-ups


  • Pull-Ups
  • Pull-Downs
  • Rowing


  • Lateral Raises


  • Bicep Curl
  • Skull Crushes
  • Press-Ups

Lower Body Strength for Surfing

Don't forget about those calf muscles now. It's all good and well having a strong upper body and sweet arms for paddling for hours on end, but one thing you have to think of is focusing on strengthening the lower half. Exercising should be composed of anaerobic as well as aerobic exercises so if you take time off then do a little cycling or running - what ever grabs you.

Go to the gym and just swim, but don't become a potato couch because you will really start to feel it once you get back into the water and then you will be back at the beginning and that won't be fun. Exercises for balance is always a good thing. Things like balance boards and balls have not been invented for nothing.

These are reallly good and you should really think of getting yourself a balance board if you are new to the world of surfing and just learning. You will really see an improvement with this. It can be frustrated when you are first out there, but these tools will help you with your skills. Once you have had enough with these toys you could move onto the one-legged moves which lots of surfers rave about.

GoofBoard Classic, balance board for Surfers
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