Stretching for surfers

Stretching for surfers is highly underrated. I see many surfers whose body are so tense and stiff that they can’t touch the ground, or touch their ears with their arms when they put their arms above their head. Stiffness is not a friend of advanced surfing – after all, it wouldn’t be bad to surf like this, don’t you agree?

If you want to be healthy long term, add some good old-fashioned stretching before during and right after your surf session or workout routine.

The two reasons you need to stretch / warm up

  1. Remain a surfer: You will destroy your shoulders by paddling if your shoulder is tight (e.g. muscle tissue has knots on your back and shoulder etc). Your arms wont be able to properly rotate and your shoulder joints will suffer, resulting in injury and pain. The last thing you probably want is to stop surfing because of shoulder problems.
  2. Become a better surfer: Bigger range of motion in your shoulders will help you with catching waves (better paddling), looser hips and flexible legs will help with turns. This will all improve the quality of your surfing sessions.

Ok, I get that, but I don’t want to spend half of my life stretching. What do I need to do?

Glad you asked. A proper warm up sequence for surfers consists of: 

  1. Foam rolling – to decrease knots and trigger points (5 minutes)
  2. Static stretching – to work on increasing your flexibility (5 minutes)
  3. Dynamic warm up – to prepare the muscles for exercise and prevent acute injury (5 minutes)

Not that bad for making sure you will be able to surf for years to come and maybe even get better at it…

Should I stretch before or after my surf session?

Strangely enough most top soft tissue experts are now recommending that muscles be stretched “cold”, without the benefit of a warm-up. Simply roll and stretch. The theory is that warm muscle simply elongates and returns to its normal length. Cold muscle may in fact undergo some plastic deformation and increase in length if being stretched.

Let’s get started

Lucky for you, I have broken down everything, here are the detailed instructions and explanations. Click below to learn the proper warm up sequence for surfers: 

  1. Foam rolling – to decrease knots and trigger points (5 minutes)
  2. Static stretching – to work on increasing your flexibility (5 minutes)
  3. Dynamic warm up – to prepare the muscles for exercise and prevent acute injury (5 minutes)

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


Takes 2 minutes

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