Can You Still Practice Surfing When It’s Flat?

Can you still practice when the ocean is flat?

You waited patiently the whole week for the moment you go surfing again, work has loaded and you’re just looking for that time off in the water.

But alas! The ocean is flat. No swell, no sets, only flat water hanging and moving around from one side to another.

Don’t worry – you can still practice surfing even when the conditions are not favorable. There are a ton of fun things that you can do to keep your skills sharp.

In fact, flat days are the perfect time to practice your surfing overall skills and beyond.

When there are no waves, there’s nothing you can surf on but you can still practice on other elements in order to get better at surfing or just have a good time.

So to easily answer the question: Yes, you can still practice skills required for surfing when it’s flat such as paddling, turtle rolls, and core muscle work.

Let’s break down each of them and get to know how you can improve your surfing when the water does not necessarily call you.

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Practice Paddling

The ocean is flat, the sound of breaking waves is missing and the sound of splashed water is getting louder and louder. You should know what it is – it’s paddling!

When the ocean is flat, you can’t surf on waves but you can still paddle and it’s even very important to practice paddling, especially if you just started out surfing.

Paddling is one of the most essential skills for surfing, it is a fundamental skill for surfing that can be the difference between catching a wave or not.

It’s what gets you out to the wave and into position, so even if there are no waves to surf on, it’s still a good idea to practice paddling.

This will help you get better at catching waves and riding them when the ocean is pumping.

In addition, practicing paddling on flat days will also help improve your timing and rhythm. This is because when there are waves, you’ll need to paddle in sync with their timing in order to catch them.

Paddling on flat days will help you develop this skill so that when there are waves, you’ll be able to paddle faster and more efficiently.

You know how it is, paddling can be hard and tiring due to the amount of strength and technique required.

While some surfers may be able to power through difficult waves with ease, others may find that paddling on flat days can help them build up their strength and technique.

But that’s a good thing! Paddling on flat days will help you build up your strength and endurance, making it easier for you to catch waves when they finally do show up.

So overall, practicing paddling when the ocean is flat will definitely help improve your surfing skills and increase your chances of catching waves when they do come around, and it’s also a great way of having a good time when there are no waves.

Practice Turtle Rolls

Turtle Roll is an important skill for surfers to master as it helps them to stay on the board when waves become bigger and more powerful.

Turtle rolls help you stay safe and upright in heavy waves or rough conditions, or even if you’re caught inside a wave that’s too powerful to paddle back out of.

It is a technique that involves keeping the body low and close to the board, with the arms holding the board tight in the sides, in order to become a whole with your board.

Surfers then push themselves to the side in order to flip completely, facing upwards when the waves come. When it passed, they flip back as if nothing happened.

When the ocean is flat, it’s a very good idea to practice turtle roll, as this technique can really get you out of undesirable direct splashes on your head.

Practicing turtle rolls in flat conditions will help improve your self-esteem and safeness in the ocean, especially when things get hectic.

With this technique, you avoid getting slammed by the waves and you can be confident that you’ll stay close to your board when it comes to bigger, more powerful waves when it’s not flat.

Strengthen Your Balance

One of the biggest advantages of having a flat day is the chance to practice your balance and coordination on land.

No matter what kind of ocean conditions you’re faced with, having the right coordination and balance is essential for successful surfing.

When the ocean is flat, surfers can still practice these important skills by doing balance exercises and drills.

Core strength plays a pivotal role in being able to maintain a proper surfing stance, and this is a great time to improve them until you will be back to catching waves.

Practice your pop-ups and balance on land as this will help you feel more comfortable when transitioning into a standing position while in the surf.

This can be easily done by standing on a balance board or doing single-leg exercises.

You can also challenge yourself to stand on a surfboard and practice your stance with no waves, it’s definitely harder but it can only make you better.

If you don’t have a balance board, there are plenty of other alternatives such as simply standing on an exercise ball or using one-legged squats.

You can also just have your surfboard on the sand and practice popping up by repeating these actions over and over.

These exercises will help you develop the coordination and balance that are required for successful wave riding.

Do Some Other Stuff

Don’t feel like you exercising or improving your surfing skills? That’s fine! You can take a time off and rest.

If you’re bored, there are plenty of other things you can do besides surfing or exercising.

You could take this time to explore new places around, read a good book, watch your favorite YouTube channel, get yourself a drink or a coffee or play a video game.

Sometimes it is nice to just take some time off and enjoy the moment, with no expectation of what comes next.


Flat days don’t have to be a total bummer if you know how to make the best out of them. With that said, try to appreciate the ocean when it’s flat and make sure you get the best out of it.

Flat days don’t have to mean a total loss for surfers. Even without waves, there are plenty of ways to still practice your surfing skills.

Understanding the ocean and becoming comfortable with the board while it’s flat will help prepare you when bigger waves come.

It is a great time to utilize to improve your stance, coordination, and balance, while also learning new moves like the turtle roll and improving your paddling.

So the next time you see flat ocean conditions, don’t worry – there’s still lots of opportunity for improvement.

Now get out there and start shredding!