How To Improve Surfing Paddling Strength And Stamina

How to improve surf paddling strength and stamina?

Have you ever seen surfers paddle with unparalleled power and strength? Although it might not seem effortless for a casual surfer, the truth is they have worked tirelessly to build up their muscles in order to perform at such an amazing level of paddling.

And if you’re looking to get better at surfing, working on your paddling strength and stamina is essential.

What is the best way to increase your paddle fitness? Well, you can swim freestyle and work on your cardiovascular health, but the best approach is, obviously, to paddle more.

And when ocean conditions aren’t welcoming or you just can’t find yourself surfing soon, it’s important to come up with alternatives that will help boost strength without actually being in the surf.

One of these great strategies is by focusing on increasing your paddle power away from shore so you’re ready when nature calls. Or when your day job work is done, both are fine.

With the right exercises, you can improve your paddling stamina for surfing, even when out of the water. Read on for our tips that will help you get paddle strength out of the water.

Why Paddling Is So Important For Surfing?

Improving your paddling technique can make a significant difference in your surfing ability and overall enjoyment of the activity.

One reason paddling is so important in surfing is that it allows you to position yourself on the wave.

By paddling efficiently, you can get into the right spot on the wave to catch it and ride it at the optimal angle.

This can be especially important when surfing in crowded areas where multiple surfers are trying to catch the same wave.

Paddling also plays a role in your surfing endurance – when surfing, you may need to paddle for long periods of time to catch waves or to get back out to the lineup after a ride.

Strong paddling muscles and technique can help you conserve energy and stay out in the water for longer periods of time.

How To Get Paddle Fit For Surfing

Now that we put the importance of better paddling stamina, how can we get paddle fit for surfing? Here are the best tips for paddling fit.

Workout Process

Focus your workout regimen on the lats, rhomboids, triceps, and delts for maximum results.

Investing time to strengthen your shoulder muscles is crucial for excellent paddling. This could also save your shoulder from unpleasant injuries.

Pay attention to exercising rotator cuffs, triceps, and lats – exercising those is essential in order to maximize your paddle power.

You should stick to bodyweight exercises or light weights up to 70% of your maximum capacity. It has been proven that lighter-weight exercises with higher reps are better to improve your paddle power and reduce fatigue.

To achieve peak performance, increase the difficulty of your routine from time to time.

Alternate between high reps for endurance and strength in paddling, as well as plyometric low reps for intense short bursts – such as when catching a wave.

Exercise Type

There are 2 exercises I know people just hate – pushups and planks. These dreaded exercises are the enemy of many and for a reason; they are hard to do yet, extremely effective and they will help you increase paddle fitness for surfing.

You should push through the burn and let it serve as motivation for achieving greater results.

And it might be easier than you think – only one minute of consecutive planking exercises is a great way to incorporate this into your routine.

Planks can help build overall core strength while also improving posture – something we all need on those lengthy surf sessions

Start by getting into a plank position with either forearm resting on the ground or hands clasped together directly under shoulders, whichever is more comfortable, while keeping hips low towards floor level and parallel with shoulders. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds before resting and repeat 2-3 times.

And of course, we got the push-ups. Push-ups are one of the best ways to strengthen your upper body muscles, which are key when it comes to paddling out in the water.

To do them correctly, start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.

Lower down slowly until your chest nearly touches the floor, then push back up until your arms are fully extended.

Start with one set of 12 push-ups and gradually increase this number as your strength improves.

To emulate the motion of paddling, adding exercises such as ski machine rows, lat pulldowns, pushups, and planks into your routine will push you closer to your goal of getting paddle fit for surfing.


Just like any other workout routine, it is important to build in rest days into your exercise schedule.

Rest allows your body to repair itself and recover from the hard work you put in. Taking breaks and getting proper rest is key when it comes to building paddle endurance for surfing.

So not only pay attention to resting time between sets of working out, but also make sure you let your body rest between workouts, casually paddling in the water, and even after sessions.

Incorporating recovery into your training plan is crucial as the act of working out. But don’t be lazy here, in order to rest you need to do a workout!

Stretching, massages, trigger point release, regular rest days and alternating hot/cold therapy are all excellent methods for revitalizing your muscles.

Be sure to stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep, as these are all essential in providing your body with the nutrients and rest it needs for recovery.


Paddling is a crucial skill in surfing that can make a significant difference in your ability to catch and ride waves and be a better surfer.

Push yourself, work out properly, and recover and you will be able to improve your paddle power and reduce fatigue.

By improving your paddling technique and incorporating paddling drills into your training routine you will shred the gnar surf like a pro.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get it on!