Does Surfing Make You Fit? Why Surfing Is The Best Workout

Does surfing make you fit?

Surfing is an intense activity that asks for a lot from your body. I remember the first time I went on surfing (or even when I’m in between sessions), I had sore muscles just after 30 minutes in the water, not to mention the moment I went outside.

As a matter of fact, to be honest, finishing a session was and is the greatest feeling on earth (even with sore muscles). It’s so fulfilling and empowering, but it also makes you feel in shape and fit.

In this post, we will cover the reasons why surfing makes you fit, in shape, ripped, and even bulkier.

Grab your surfboard and a portion of protein, we’re starting!

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You Can Get Fit From Surfing

Surfing is one of those sports that requires the use of almost every muscle in your body. From your legs and arms to your back, shoulders, and core, all of your muscles are engaged.

Surfing seems to be effortless in the media. Professional surfers make it appear easy enough to be fooled into thinking that surfing isn’t so much of a physical sport.

However, everyone who has ever tried surfing will tell you that it is one of the most physically demanding sports. How so?

When you watch surfing videos online, it’s easy to focus on the amazing rides the surfers get. But, what you don’t see are the grueling moments before they catch those waves.

Paddling out to the lineup against the current and diving under massive waves takes a lot of muscle strength and stamina.

This is why surfers in general are often regarded as being fit and muscular. In addition to paddling out, surfing also takes more strength than you may think.

While it might look like the surfer is just gliding on the water, they are actually constantly paddling to keep up with the wave.

And when they do catch a wave, they need to use their muscles to paddle even faster and maneuver their body weight around to stay on the board.

Surfing is a great workout for your whole body. While you use your arms to paddle out, your legs are there to perform the ride itself.

Changing direction while surfing, needs to engage your entire body and to stay on the wave while you’re riding it, It takes a lot of balance and agility. It also requires strength to pop up from lying flat on your board to standing upright.

This is when your strength and mobility come together to create one massive burst of energy with which to step up your legs onto your board.

The pop-up requires real talent and practice to master, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll be fitter than ever.

Add to that the constant battle with the ocean over drifts, wind, currents, and water movement, and there you have full use of tensed muscles of your body, for every minute you’re out there.

Surfing allows you to push yourself beyond your normal limits, which is why it’s such a wonderful fitness.

You Can Lose Weight From Surfing

Another great benefit of surfing is that it is an excellent way to burn calories. In fact, the average surfer can burn up to 300 calories in an hour.

Since surfing is also fun compared to some activities (I hate running, don’t judge me), therefore you might find yourself more dedicated to it and more likely to spend more time on it.

Also, because surfing is such intense physical activity, you burn a lot of calories when doing it. When people talk about losing weight, they typically mean losing fat.

In order to get rid of excess fat calories, you need to burn them off. When you paddle out to the lineup, for example, your body is working against the resistance of the water.

This resistance creates drag, which your muscles have to work harder to overcome. The result is that your heart rate will increase and you will start to burn more calories.

You Can Build Muscles From Surfing

Surfing also builds mass and can get you ripped. Surfing can make you ripped as it’s essentially a resistance activity, compared to other activities like running or bicycling.

While the movement in surfing isn’t as repetitive as weight lifting, it is still a resistance activity that works your muscles similarly.

The key difference is that with surfing, you’re constantly having to adjust your body to the changing waves and conditions, which works different muscle groups compared to lifting weights in a gym.

Surfing is an ideal sport for strengthening your arms and shoulders as the paddling exercise mostly uses motions from these parts of the body.

Particularly, your biceps and triceps forearms are targeted, as well as the deltoids in your upper back and shoulders.

Exercising these muscles will give you the typical broad-shouldered appearance. Your upper body and core muscles are covered here also, so that makes another great benefit for gaining mass.

It may sound like a cliche from the 00s, but surfing can help you have ripped abdominal. Not guaranteed of course – six packs are very dependent on genetics.

Essentially, surfing can build mass since you exercise many muscle groups all at once, in the appropriate conditions and to their utmost limits.

The general idea behind building mass is to exploit your muscles to their limits and then rebuild them again.

To do so, make sure you consume enough protein (between 1.5x-2x grams of your body weight a day).


So generally, surfing is a great activity to build mass while also getting fit. Every session is essentially a full-body workout that uses most of your muscles, and if you stay dedicated to it, you will see results.

Remember to eat enough protein to help your muscles grow back bigger and stronger, and overall make sure you eat well to retrieve the energy you consumed.

In any way, fit or not, surfing will make you stronger, healthier, and happier. Just make sure to listen to your body and your way to being ripped is certain.