It’s time! You finally decided to start surfing. For a long time you have thought: will this be the right thing for me? Is it fun at all? What if I get scared? And anyway – am I actually fit enough for surfing?
Or maybe you’ve been on the board a couple of times and you’re totally stoked. Your next surf trip is coming soon. But yes, there is still the nasty winter with the comfortable couch and especially the holidays between the last and the next surf trip. No matter which of the two scenarios applies to you. What is certain is that you will be on a holiday and you want to get the most out of this time.
Our everyday life sometimes makes it difficult for us to stay in shape. Especially when you learn a new sport, it’s completely different for your body and muscles, so it’s a bigger challenge. It has to get used to it first. If you are already a surfer, it takes a little time to reactivate the muscle memory of your body.
So, let’s not kid ourselves – besides the popular lifestyle-arguments, which mainly drew our attention in the media, surfing above all is one thing: physically very demanding.
The main components of surfing are endurance, strength, agility and balance. Lying on your stomach makes it even more difficult for most beginners, as it’s unusual to move on your stomach like this for a long time. Breathing is more difficult and the neck and shoulder area are under tension. Especially with faulty execution. In a good surf school with certified surf instructors you will be taught correctly and it will help you to avoid mistakes and to constantly improve your surfing.
Before their surf trip many want to know what they can do to become fit for surfing and what they should bring with them. We have 5 tips for you, which prepare you optimally for your surfing holiday.
To train your endurance, it is best to simply put on your running shoes and start walking regularly for between 30 and 40 minutes. If you are an untrained runner, take it easy. It is important to stimulate the cardiovascular system accordingly. Running increases physical fitness and endurance enormously. The positive effect for surfing: You are not running out of breath quite so fast and you will find your resting pulse back faster after intense effort.
Generally, swimming also is one of the cardio-vascular sports – you train your endurance. But regular swimming before your surf trip is especially good to get familiar with the movement and coordination in the wet element. Swimming surely is not paddling on a surfboard. Nevertheless, you build up important shoulder and arm muscles when you crawl a few lanes from time to time. Fear of water is an obstacle for most to make real progress in surfing. Are you one of those people where water and the sea cause discomfort? Then use the indoor swimming pool as a chance to play in the water. Yes, heard right: play. Dive as long as you can, hold your breath and jump into the water. All this makes you familiar with yourself in the water and will later give you more self-confidence in the sea. If water doesn’t worry you train your endurance and lung power: hold your breath longer and longer, dive down and the next Wipe-Out will be easy!
3 Push ups, Burpees & Upper Body Lifts
THE fitness exercise that makes everyone feel a cold shiver running down their backs: the Burpee. Unbelievably exhausting, challenging and effective at the same time. A skillful set of burpees combines strength, endurance and agility. It’s perfectly okay if your burpee is still rather slothful – kinda slow. The steady drop hollows the stone. With every day you become better, more precise and faster. The surf take-off is basically a kind of burpee: with power in your arms you push yourself up and with an explosive push from the hip you jump forward. Agile, so you should be fast and precise (at some point) so you don’t lose your balance and fall off the board. You want to get as much out of the wave as possible. Back to the beginning. The burpee makes you strong. And to get a strong burpee, strong arms help. Strong arms help with paddling and your take-off – so get to these push ups. In all variations.
The Upper Body Lifts strengthen your middle and lower back. This area of your body is heavily stressed during surfing. You will lay a lot on your stomach and work with your shoulders. You lift your upper body to be able to paddle more efficiently. Strong torso and back muscles help you to paddle better and to avoid injuries in your back. With the Upper Body Lifts you lie flat on your stomach. Bend your arms and fold your hands at the back of your head. Your elbows push back. Press your pelvis into the floor and stretch your back by pressing into the middle back. Now lift and lower your upper body. Start with 5×3 repetitions and then rise slowly.
Try to integrate all three exercises into your everyday life: 10 minutes per day is enough. Start with small repetitions and increase step by step. Start with the push-ups, then move on to the upper body lifts and finish with the burpees. It’s perfectly okay to start with just two burpees. On YouTube you’ll find numerous instructions that will guide you safely through all three exercises.
4 Training Balance
In your first surf sessions you will learn how to stand on the board. Soon you will manage to do the take-off will and you will shoot forward to the beach in the white water. Or you can surf in the green waves already and take off on the shoulder of the wave. But then it happens: you lose your balance, then you lose control over your board and before you know it you fall and the wave is gone. We all lose balance and fall. Don’t put yourself under too much pressure here, because even the slightest bump on the water surface can throw you off track and there’s so much to consider once you’re on the board. Baby Steps are perfectly appropriate and you will see that the more stable your body center (see also point 3) and your balance are, the faster you make progress.
Ideal are Balance Boards. Here you stand on a wooden board which rests on a roll. It can be quite tricky, but it is a lot of fun. A few seconds quickly turn into minutes in which you stay on the board. If you don’t have any of these boards, you can balance on whatever is available to you. Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth. Just do everything one-legged :) Maybe you have some weights at home? Add these as well. Balance builds up quite fast and so you can increase quickly in your exercises. It is recommended to practice balance every day.
Okay, enough written about sports. You don’t have to become a fitness crack for your surf holiday and do sports 6 times a week from now on. Even if you only do one exercise on a regular basis, you will benefit from it while surfing.
5 Preparation is everything – bring the right things with you Cap, Zinc & Co.
Our last point tackles your surf trip packing list. When you go surfing for the first time, it’s hard to know what to expect. You will probably wonder what you should take with you and what is important. The most popular surf destinations in Europe are Portugal & Co. The summers are hot and the intermediate seasons are sunny and mild. Lot’s of sun is certainly on your wish list and according to that you have chosen your surf location.
Therefore Point number 1: Sun protection. Beside bringing the classic sun cream we recommend you to buy Surf Zinc. This special sun cream or zinc is a rather thick paste with a particularly high SPF, which does not run into your eyes in the water and cause a burn or infection. Zinc lasts very long on the skin and ideally you decide for a version with natural components to do your skin particularly well.
Point number 2: Bring a cap/sun hat with you. The surf courses usually take place in several sessions throughout the day. So you spend most of the day on the beach, where the sun shines on your head. Protect yourself from a nasty sunstroke and bring a cap or sun hat with you.
Point number 3: The surf poncho! The poncho is the ace in your sleeve when you’re standing on the beach or the surf van and it’s time to put on your wettie! You simply throw on the practical towelling cape and save yourself the acrobatics of changing with a towel that is too small. The same goes for the undressing of your wetsuit. The great thing about the poncho – after surfing, it’s directly cozy, especially on cloudy or windy days.
You can find ponchos in every well-assorted surf shop online and also in stationary surf shops. The keyword „Surf Poncho“ helps your search on Google.
Point number 4: The dry bag. Hot days and sunshine are almost guaranteed in Portugal. But still, bad weather is also common here and there. But the surf is still on and you will ask yourself – what to do with my stuff when suddenly the rain breaks over you. A Dry Bag is ideal for it. The waterproof backpack keeps everything dry and with different sizes it offers enough storage space for your stuff from poncho to changing clothes to room keys. Above all you will be thankful to have one when the tide coming in is faster at the towel than you :)
Point number 5: Your own water bottle. This one is for the love for our environment! The pollution of nature by plastic waste is no longer a secret and so it is a matter of responsibility of each individual to get involved. So even small things can make a big difference – a refillable drinking bottle, ideally made of metal. This way you keep the beach clean and don’t have to worry about buying a new water bottle all the time.
Now, these were our tips, which will let you start your next surf holiday well prepared. If you have questions or suggestions please leave a comment!
Take a look at Da Silva Surfcamp in Portugal for your next surf holiday. In the middle of a beautiful landscape in a rustic house you will find time to relax. The camp’s own surf school will get you on your board and ensure an unforgettable surf holiday.