The physical aspect of training is the first element surfers have to develop, as surfing needs a high degree of balance, core, leg, and paddle strength, according to Scott Adams, a fitness professional who creates top-selling training videos specifically for surfers. At the fundamental level, Better Health Channel mentions having strong swimming skills, being aware of safety aspects of being in the surf, and having the right equipment as the three things you need to get started with training for surfing.

A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research says that surfers need to “have a high cardiorespiratory fitness, high muscular endurance, and considerable strength and anaerobic power, particular within the upper torso.” This is because of the variety of physical activities involved in surfing, plus the environmental and wave conditions that have an effect on the physical demands of competitive surfing. Surf training not only prepares the athlete for competition, but it also protects the surfer from injuries.

In terms of training, competitive surfing involves “intermittent high-intensity bouts of all-out paddling, incorporating breath holding,” according to researchers from the Sports Performance Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.

Wes Berg, Australian Surfer Joel Parkinson’s trainer, says the three exercises that gave the surfing star his most significant improvement are two hand cable rotations, medi-ball work for coordination, and clock lunges.