How To Warm Up Before Surfing? Pre-Session 5 Minutes Routine

How to warm up before a surfing session? Here's a 5 minutes pre-surf warm up

Are you ready to shred some gnarly waves and make the other surfers green with envy? But before you do that, let’s talk about something super important, something you might hate but you know it’s necessary: Warming up!

I know, I know, it’s not as exciting as the waves themselves, but trust me, it’s just as important.

Think of warming up like eating vegetables before dessert, it’s not as fun but it’s essential for a balanced meal, or in this case, a balanced surf session.

In all seriousness, warming up is important to prevent injuries and ensure an epic surfing session, and is essential for any surfer looking to stay safe while out in the water.

Not only will it help reduce fatigue and injury, but it can also improve your performance by increasing blood flow and flexibility.

And of course, you don’t want to warm up for so long because you want to experience the stoke, I get it, so here are a few really quick warm ups!

How Do You Prepare Your Body For Surfing Session?

The goal of a proper surf warm-up is not to give you a full workout, but rather to prepare your body for the demands of the water by getting all crucial bodily components running optimally.

This way, when you hit the water and start paddling out, your body won’t be shocked by the effort.

To achieve this, a good warm-up should primarily focus on stretching, include yoga-inspired movements, and be low-impact to reduce the risk of fatigue, cramping, and injury.

Then, you want to focus on your breathing – taking a few moments to take deep breaths and focus on your breathing before getting into the water can be key in allowing you to feel connected, calm, and in control and prepare your muscles for a surf session.

It may sound extremely basic, but you cannot imagine how people forget about breathing correctly and how it can crucially affect our body.

To start, inhale deeply through your nose, filling your stomach and chest with air. Hold for a second or two to allow your body to absorb the oxygen.

Exhale slowly and with control through your mouth, using your abdominal muscles to push out the last bit of your breath.

As you go through your warm-up routine, try to maintain this steady rhythm of breathing, inhaling, and exhaling in a controlled manner. This can help your body get the oxygen it needs to perform optimally.

Pre-Session 5 Minutes Warmup Routine

When warming up before surfing, it’s important to focus on stretching key muscles and tendons that you’ll be using in the water, starting from top to bottom – head to toe.

Gradually move up to your shoulders, then your arms, working your way down the length of your body, all the way to your toes.

This can help prepare your muscles and tendons for the demands of surfing, reducing the risk of injury and improving your performance.

Head and Neck

Start by standing tall and slowly rotate your head in a full circle, clockwise and then counter-clockwise. Repeat for a total of 3 rotations in each direction.

Next, reach your hand behind your head and place your palm just above your ear on the opposite side. Grasp the head and gently pull it in the direction of your stretching arm.

Shoulders and Arms

Start by stretching out your arms straight in front of you and turning your palms to face away from your body.

Gently stretch the fingers of each hand back towards your body and then roll your wrists a few times, clockwise and counter-clockwise. This stretch will warm up your wrists, finger joints, and forearm muscles.

Next, stretch each arm across your body diagonally using the crook of the opposite arm to gently pull the arm across, just above the elbow. This stretch will warm up your elbows and triceps.

Drop your arms to your sides and shake them out, then inhale deeply and sweep both arms up and out to the sides, bringing your palms together with your arms stretched straight up above your head.

Lean your head back and look at your thumbs. Hold the stretch for a breath or two. This stretch will warm up your biceps, shoulders, and pectorals.

Lower one arm behind your head, with your palm facing inward, and take hold of the elbow with the opposite hand.

Gently pull across and repeat for the other arm. This stretch will warm up your entire upper arm, shoulders, and pectorals.

Bring your arms to the front and bend your elbows, forming fists at the front of your shoulders. Gently lean to each side for a few counts, stretching your elbows skyward.

Then return to a standing position and twist your torso to the right and left with your arms in the same position.

Relax your arms by your side. This stretch will warm up your lower shoulders, full arm, pectorals, and upper torso.

If your arms still feel tight, try a few more stretches, such as making circles rotating forward and then backward with arms out to the side. Drop one arm and raise the other, bend each elbow, and reach behind you.

Spine and Lower Back

To warm up your spine and lower back, begin by bending at the knees and placing your hands or fingertips on the ground in front of your toes.

Take a deep inhale and hold, then exhale and gently push your hips toward the sky. Attempt to straighten your legs while keeping your hands on the ground.

Don’t worry if you can’t do it right away, and don’t push too hard, as the main goal is to feel the stretch.

After a few breaths, slowly roll your body back up to a standing position, making sure to keep your arms loose and lift your head at last.

Then, it’s time for a trunk twist – stand with your feet hip-width apart, with your arms crossed at the chest, then slowly twist your torso to one side, hold for a second, then twist to the other side. Repeat for a total of 5 twists on each side.

Legs and Ankles

Ultimately, in order to stretch your legs, stand tall and hold onto something stable, like a rail or a fence, for balance. Swing one leg forward and back, and then switch legs. Repeat for a total of 10 leg swings.

Also, incorporating squats into your warm-up routine can help to prepare your legs and lower body for the demands of surfing.

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, and then bend your knees while keeping your back straight.

Perform a few squats in this position. For a more intense warm-up, try jumping into and out of a crouching position. This will help to increase the blood flow to your legs.

Last but not least, do ankle rotations – stand tall and rotate your ankles clockwise and then counter-clockwise.

You won’t believe how this simple stretch can save your ankle from twisting somehow. Repeat for a total of 10 rotations in each direction.

You’re All Set!

Now you’re ready to catch some waves. At this point in your warm-up routine, you should be feeling well-prepared for your surf session.

To get your whole body working together, try doing a few star jumps, also known as jumping jacks.

This exercise will help to get your heart rate up and get your blood flowing throughout your entire body.

As an alternative, you can run in place for a few seconds which would also help to get your blood flowing, preparing your whole body for the stoke ahead.


This was your new quick warm-up routine, very effective, and does not require too much time as I know how much you dislike stretching.

By now, you should be fully warmed up and ready to hit the waves. Your heart rate should be steady, and you should be feeling warm, loose, and centered.

Make sure to put on your leash, and you’re all set to catch some waves. Have fun and enjoy the ride!