Learn how to practice surfing at home with our helpful guide. Maximise your surf potential and improve your wave count with just a few simple steps.
Surfing is one of the few sports that remain at the will of mother nature (wave pools excluded). It’s also considered one of the hardest learning curves of any sport.
With this in mind, you want to be able to improve as quickly as possible, in and out of the water. We’ve created a detailed guide on how to practice surfing at home to improve your time in the ocean and catch more waves.
How can I practice surfing at home?
- Balance board
- Practice your pop up
- Strength training
- Expert knowledge
*Hunt out some new surf spots. Find beaches reefs and pointbreaks using Google maps and try to find some secret surfing spots.
Balance boards replicate the same balance challenges that surfing does. While it’s never going to completely replicate the body movements completed while surfing it will train lots of the same core muscle groups.
Practising at home with a balance board for 30 minutes, a few days a week will improve your balance, stability and muscle strength. During long flat spells with no swell is a great way to stay surf fit when the waves finally arrive.
Simply find a clear open space in your home and avoid any sharp edges or breakable objects.
Practice your pop-up
The pop-up is the often overlooked key to great surfing. Being able to paddle and get to your feet in one fast fluid motion is going to be critical to improving your surfing.
A slow pop-up can leave you missing waves, getting caught behind the white water, missing the open face or at worst going over the falls with the lip of the wave.
Even skilled surfers who’ve been surfing for years are guilty of poor pop-ups that will hamper their surfing development.
How to practice your pop-up at home
- Find an area where you can lie down comfortably at home (make sure the ground is firm to allow you to spring up with an explosive pop-up).
- Replicate your paddling strokes just like you’re trying to catch a wave (make sure to keep your back arched and your eyes looking forward towards your imaginary beach or coastline).
- Place your hands palm down on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
- In one fluid movement use your hands to spring away from the floor.
- Raise your knees and place your feet approximately shoulder-width apart with your leading foot placed at a 90° angle.
- Aim for your front foot to land between where your hand were placed.
Repeat this simple process to create muscle memory for the next time you’re surfing in the ocean.
*Special tip – If you’re new to surfing and trying this exercise, the foot you put forward tells you if you’re regular or goofy. Regular surfers will lead with their left foot and goofy surfers with their right.
I’m not suggesting you start going to the gym and trying to get your personal best bench press or deadlift. Strength training focused on your core stability muscles is a fantastic way to practice surfing at home.
Simple bodyweight exercises like squats, planks and push-ups are all optimal for improving your core strength.
Improving your core muscles will have a nearly instant improvement on your surfing at any level, age or ability.
Strengthening your core muscles will help with paddling stability, improve the explosiveness of your pop-up, and improve your take-off as a whole.
By getting to your feet quicker you’ll be catching more waves, getting into waves early and improving faster.
An extra second of delay standing up can leave you missing waves, improving your fitness is a great way to get better at surfing at home.
Alongside direct benefits to your surfing, strengthening your body will protect and prevent strains and injuries associated with surfing.
Yoga and surfing have started to become very popular recently and you can now book yoga and surf camps all across the world.
Yoga focuses on flexibility and strength which has made it a popular choice amongst surfers. Jerry Lopez, Pipeline Master and surf icon was one of the first to champion the benefits of Yoga for surfers.
I recommend finding a reputable yoga professional with an easy-to-follow Youtube channel. All you have to do is find 20 minutes out of your day to focus on some simple stretches and the benefits in the ocean will be clear.
Completing dynamic manoeuvres in surfing relies on flexibility and yoga will help. It will also prepare your muscles for the stresses put on them while you surf, protecting you from surf strains and injuries.
Skateboarding originated from surfing in the mid-1950s. Bored surfers began to skateboard during long flat periods with no swell as an alternative to real surfing. Skateboarding quickly began to build up traction and gained a cult following which grew into the sport it is today.
Because skateboarding and surfing are so linked it seemed crucial to put it on this list, but how can skateboarding at home improve your surfing?
Balance when you’re riding a skateboard and a surfboard is very similar, you can even loosen the trucks on your skateboard to try and really replicate those drawn-out carves you do while surfing.
If you’re an advanced surfer and your focus is learning to do aerials or improving your aerials, you can use a mini ramp to allow you to complete multiple reps of a particular trick.
The real benefit here is the repetition, when you’re surfing you need the right wave, speed and wind to complete and air as opposed to skateboarding when you can just try over and over again until you land it.
Just like all sports surfing requires a lot of knowledge alongside skill. Learning about how waves break, respect in the lineup and hundreds of other things are really important to really progress your surfing.
Thanks to all of the knowledge on the internet you can now teach yourself to surf without the need for lessons or an instructor.
You can find helpful articles like hear on Honest Surf and you can gain knowledge from your local surfing community and friends.
The most important thing is to have fun and really appreciate the joys of surfing and all of the things that come with it.
So now you are all set on how to practice surfing at home, get those muscles moving and improve your surfing out of the water.