Foam rolling for surfers

Stretching for surfers

Step 1: Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is really the first step in improving your mobility. Foam rollers are the poor man’s massage therapist, the soft tissue work for the masses.

You have got to get the knots out from your muscle tissue in order to be able to stretch and to have the opportunity to develop some joint mobility!

Read the below detailed explanation and Download the Foam roll 1 page cheat sheet here to get started.

Harder doesn’t mean better. People seem to be under the impression that the more you groan and induce “pain,” the more benefit you’re getting.

Here’s the progression most people take:

“Soft” Foam Roller —> “Hard” Foam Roller —> Rumble Roller (the one with those spikey things) —> PVC Pipe —> Piece of wood on a beach  —>  Metal pipe

Some people take foam rolling to the next level, as if the goal is to earn a Badge of Hardcoreness. This is not needed.

The major areas that respond well to the foam roller are:

  • Glutes,
  • Hamstrings,
  • Quads,
  • Calfs and
  • Back muscles

How to foam roll? Complete foam rolling routine for surfers

Below is a complete routine that you can complete in 5 minutes. You can also download the below routine as a 1 page cheat sheet that will help you to stretch the key areas for surfing in 5 minutes at home.

Spend 20 seconds on each tender spot then move on. You can also adjust how much body weight you use to increase / decrease difficulty (don’t make it too painful for yourself).

Before surfing it is a bit harder to roll on the beach, so you should ideally do this at your accommodation before you leave for surfing.

1, Glutes roll – hip rotator stretch (20-30 seconds per leg)

Heavy workouts, too much sitting and/or incorrect posture can cause back pain. With a little rolling on the upper part of your glutes can release the pain/tension in your lower back.

2, Glutes roll with crossed legs (20-30 seconds per leg)

This helps to stretch your glutes further after you warmed up with point 1. With this variation, there can be more discomfort where your legs and hips meet (small-middle gluteal muscle).

3, Upper back roll (for your thoracic spine, 20-30 seconds per leg)

Your upper back needs to be looser and stretched so you can turn easily while surfing. This is the best exercise to help with that.

4, Quadriceps roll for stretching the front part of your thighs (20-30 seconds per leg)

If you sit too much your  front thigh muscles  become stiff. This stretch relaxes your quadriceps and helps to stretch the iliopsas muscles (which act as the strongest flexor of the hip).

5, Adductor roll (middle thigh roll, 20-30 seconds per leg)

Foam rolling the inner part of your thighs makes it easier to perform deep squats and mobilise your hips better – you need this for tighter turns and more control on the board.


Foam rolling can provide great benefit both before and after a workout.  Rolling prior to a workout can help to decrease muscle density and allow for better warm-up. Rolling after a workout may help to aid in recovery from strenuous exercise. The nice thing about using the foam roller is that it appears it can be done on a daily basis.

Stretch the key areas for surfing in 5 minutes –  Download the Foam roll 1 page cheat sheet

Continue to Part 2 – Static stretching

Return to stretching for surfers (overview)

Do you know what is the number 1 thing holding back your progress in surfing?

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