Improve your surfing without living near the ocean (Part 1) – Stay in shape

Improve your surfing without living near the ocean (Part 1) – Stay in shape

This post is part of our “Improve your surfing without living near the ocean” series.

Read part 2 here: Keep the board feeling alive

Let’s be real. Not all of us have the chance to live close to the ocean. Yet, many of us still love surfing and want to get better at it. While being in the ocean and surfing every day is clearly the best way to improve your surfing, there are many other aspects that you can work on while away from the ocean.

To make sure you get the most out of your surf trips and are constantly improving your surfing, we have collected a list of useful preparation tips.

Stay in shape

It is safe to say that if you’re in good physical shape, you will improve your surfing much faster than someone who isn’t in good physical shape. However, even you’re working out regularly, training surf-specific movements and muscles will make a big difference in your surfing. We have collected several exercises to boost your surfing.


Strength and mobility training

Paddeling and popping up on your board require specific muscles to be strong and your mobility to be on point. Luckily, you can train these areas of your body, even when you’re not in the ocean. We recommend incorporating surf-specific strength and mobility training into your regular workout and increase the training 4-6 weeks before surf trips.

The following video shows several great exercises if you have resistance bands available:

At home paddle training without equipment:

Pop-up training without equipment:

Surf Yoga routine for mobility & flexibility:

Paddle in a lake near you

To get more waves in the ocean, you have to paddle. Enough strength and a good paddle technique help you to better position yourself in the lineup and allow you to surf longer sessions.

Daniel Dingerkus Eisbach

While strength exercises improve your paddling strength, the best training is still simply paddling. So, if you can, grab your board and find the nearest lake, river or canal and paddle several times per week. It might feel and look weird taking your surfboard to a lake, but you will notice the difference once you’re back in the ocean.


Swimming trains your arm and back muscles in a similar way to surfing. It also improves your endurance and helps with feeling comfortable being in the water.

Start easy and slowly build your endurance. Ideally you want to get to a level where you can swim 1000m. As for the technique, make sure to switch it up. You can start each session with breaststrokes and then switch to front crawling. We suggest your swim workout to be at least 20-30 min long and ideally you can repeat 2-3 times per week.

Get out there!

Nothing beats being in shape for when you surf in the ocean. However, sometimes you might not find the motivation to train properly before a trip. How about telling yourself that with every training session, you will catch one extra wave!

Now go find a pool or lake near you!