Surf Training Activities – Workouts That Are Almost as Fun as Surfing

fun surf training activities

They say the best way to train for surfing is more surfing and I totally agree. Surfing is the most fun activity for me so I’d love to be able to surf every day and perfect my technique. However, that isn’t possible for all of us surfers, as some of us don’t live near the ocean and others get busy with work and just can’t fit the time in every day.

To me, training for surfing just means getting yourself in shape by building strength and cardio endurance. However, I easily get bored with routine exercises with rep after rep of the same activity that you often find doing when going to the gym using weights and doing workout/yoga videos.

Working out by doing things you enjoy or using new fitness type of products that mix up your fitness routine motivates me to keep with it. Below are some activities that are fun and unique ways to help you get in shape or train for specific surfing skills.

Wave Riding Skills = Surf Skating

I started doing a lot more of skateboarding lately on these surf skateboards during the stay at home/lockdown era when you couldn’t surf. I’ve watched a lot of YouTube video reviews of the various surf skates out there and decided to go with a Carver C7, as it was recommended to have more of a longboard surfing feel (vs. the Carver CX which has a more shortboard feel).

The Carver was said to also be stable enough that you can also use it to get around vs. just for surf training. I do want to try the Swelltech and Smoothstar, and even Carverboard options as well, but after my experience with Razor’s RipStik Ripsurf, with only two wheels (total disaster as I couldn’t even balance at all on that thing to pump any – see I’m not very coordinated), I decided to play it safe with the Carver for now.

Just two wheels to this thing – need to be super coordinate to ride this puppy!

I also rented the super long SUP skate that Hamboard makes in Huntington Beach awhile back. I used one of the poles that came with that and it was super fun, just a bit bigger to carry around. They also have longboard surf skates and fish style surf skates that I want to try soon too.

The Waterborne Surf Adapter is also a cool new product I want to try that can turn any skateboard into a surf skate type board with a surfy/cruisy feel.

Before I tried surf skates I had a regular Sector 9 board and I just push skated, which in doing that I tended to be a goofy skater vs. the regular surfboard stance I have. However, with doing less pushing and more pumping on the Carver, I made an effort to replicate my regular surf stance on the skateboard so that I can better train myself for how I actually surf.

I have a long way to go with the surf skate skills. I took it to a skatepark once, thinking the small curves would be easy to handle, but let’s just say I’m sticking to my parking lot right now that just has a very small downward slope for me to practice carving and cruising on.

Trying to look cool with my Carver surf skate but not skating cool – my current skate quiver to the right – Razor scooter, Sector 9 skateboard, and Carver surfskate (plus some roller skates and roller blades I have as well)

Surfboard Pop Up Practice & Balance Training = Surf Balance Boards & Mats

Surprisingly, balancing on a surfboard isn’t my biggest problem, even though the muscle imbalance in my eyes probably doesn’t help my overall lack of coordination. However, there are some bigger balance boards out there that are longer that no only let you use them for balance training, but you can also use them to help practice your pop up in more realistic non-stable environment like the ocean.

The Ebb & Flo/Goofboard balance boards

This balance board is so long (44” long x 15” wide) that it gives you the opportunity to actually practice pop ups on a less stable surface. To me this is super helpful because you can practice pop ups for memory, but the memory goes out the window when you’re on a less stable ocean surface vs. a hard wood floor.  

The Goofboard is basically the old school style of the Ebb & Flo board with a different design and made of slightly different materials.  The Goofboard goes for about $170 & the Ebb & Flo is around $220.

The Indo Yoga Board

This balance board is even longer than the Goofboard/Ebb & Flo balance board (70” long x 16” wide), but it’s more expensive, at around $325, & I think the Ebb & Flo/Goofboard option is much more suited towards surfing.

Juvo Board

This Juvo Board is a multi-purpose balance and yoga-surf slant board & so much more. It’s really a home fitness studio for yoga, surf training, slant board routines, mobility exercises, and weight training.

It’s the longest and widest (71” x 24” wide) and is further differentiated from the others because it can be used in the basic flat position, for more of a balance training approach or modified to have an elevated or downward angle, which would be perfect for trying to simulate a pop up on a steeper wave and handling the drop.

the 1:10 mark shows a great use of it for simulating surf balance type of training

Since this board is the longest & widest, it’s also the best to practice cross stepping for nose riding on longer boards.

It’s also the most expensive option at $799, but is so versatile and can also be used to practice instability, SUP balance/paddle practice, yoga and even for HIIT workouts. I think it could be well worth the price, if you use it consistently.

They do offer a 50/50 revenue share if you submit a workout video of you using the product (perhaps for surf pop up training could be a unique idea) and the video is purchased by their customers.

If you wanted to try and make a cheaper homemade version of just the slant board part of this product, you could use a surfboard (not an ironing board) without the fins plus a box and kind of jimmy rig it like they did in the video below, but to me the versatility of the juvoboard seems much more convenient to fold back up and store.

There are other slant boards out there that are lower priced (from $105-$450) – however they’re more meant for just an inverted laying down position as their surface isn’t hard for any standing up fitness types of activities.

Surfset Fitness

This multi-functional surf workout equipment product launched quite a while ago on Shark Tank. It’s similar but slightly less expensive than the Juvo Board ($675), but on their website there seem to be quite a few studios/trainers around the world offering classes with the product.

Pro Trainer Surf Mat

This isn’t a balance board, however you can work on your pop up skills and pop up placements on this extra large Yoga Mat. It’s the longest of them all at 84″ L x 36″ W and the mat is 1/4″ thick. The design on this surf training mat is a surfboard and shows where your feet should be placed so you can monitor your surf stance. They also have various workout videos that go along with it as well.

Surfing Simulation/Balancing Skills = Balance Board + Surfing VR

If you don’t want to buy the bigger more expensive balance boards, I came up with a homemade approach to creating my own balance board with a skimboard I had on hand plus the long sized TriggerPoint foam roller. I got the idea by watching someone’s Facebook video and it really worked! You could also put a shorter surfboard on a Bosu ball and try that.

You could also try something like a Spooner Board or Simply Fit board for some easier balance and surf/skate type moves – exercises.

Then, while you’re on these boards, put on one of those virtual reality headsets on and watching some 360 YouTube surfing videos and really feel like you’re surfing and getting some balance practice at the same time!

Paddling Practice = Swimming

There’s nothing like swimming with the good ole freestyle stroke that keeps your arm muscles strong for paddling. There’s also this interesting product called SurfinShape that you can use to focus on paddling on a board type surface that’s larger than a kick board but smaller than a surfboard.

It has a built in reversable bucket attachment so you can vary the degrees of resistance to simulate a tough paddle out for a workout. It’s a bit pricey but could be worth it for those that don’t live by the coast to get a lot of ocean paddle practice.

The Surfset Fitness board mentioned above also has resistance training on it for paddle training. Check out this video.

Another alternative to the SurfinShape board is the Darkfin Gloves. They can help increase resistance as well when you’re swimming to build up paddle strength.

Since surfing is mostly paddling, keeping your arms in paddle strength is a must!

General Fitness/Cardio & Strength – Rollerskating or Rollerblading

The amount of calories you can burn while gliding on smooth pavement is impressive. According to this source, a 143 pound person can burn from 330 to 600 calories from roller skating in just one hour (pending effort level – cruising vs. vigorous skating).

Rollerblading also allows you to go faster and exert more effort, while also working more muscle groups including your abs – it burns on average of 8.7 calories per minute vs. a brisk walk that only burns around 6.2 cal/minute and is on par with running, while being less 50% less harmful on your joints while also building muscle.

I need to start doing at least a half an hour of rollerskating or blading each day. I’d much rather do this then pound the pavement with a 40 minute run or hour walk to the beach and back. However, it’s a little scary and more dangerous so I made sure to get protective knee and wrist gear as I don’t want to get injured and then that prevent me from surfing!

Surf Aerials Training and Cardio – Trampoline Jumping

Pro surfers have been known to utilize these bigger trampolines at trampoline parks to practice on their airs and body positioning.

I just think it’s a super fun way to get some cardio, as I won’t be doing airs anytime soon or most likely ever unless accidental. Trampoline jumping also burns about the same amount of calories as running and paired with other variations within the jumping could also burn more. Trampoline jumping can also help with improving agility and balance.

If you can’t get out to a trampoline park, you can always buy a mini trampoline to use at home. This cool personal trampoline I’ve found you can use on land as well as in the water! It’s a bit pricey as well, but you might be able to find a water aerobics class at a workout club near you that uses these.

Random Misc. Surf Fitness Ideas

Mermaid Swimming

If you really want to have some fun, try swimming in a mermaid’s tail. It’s not surf specific training per se, but a lot of us surfers are mermaids at heart, so it’s just fun for some ab workouts as you really use your abs when you’re kicking mermaid style and not using your arms as much. Finfunmermaid has some stylish tails and fins at an affordable price!

When in Vegas, bringing out the Mermaid Tails for a fun workout to escape the summer heat

Lastly – A New Surfer Entrepreneurship Idea

It would be cool if there was a surf club/surf focused workout center that had all these unique products for people to use and try first before buying or without needing to buy if they stay as a club member.

There is yet another surf business/side project idea for me. However, I need to hold off and focus for now, but I’d love someone else in San Diego near me to run with it!

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Surf Training/Lessons, Surfing Fitness

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