Surf’s up! The beaches are full of bikinis and surfboards. While communities in popular surfing areas like Southern California and Hawaii may surf year-round, summer is often a time when people new to the sport hit the water.
Whether you’re a newbie like Johnny Utah, on a board for the first time, or a seasoned surfer, there are a few things to remember in order to reduce your chance of injury, in and out of the water.
According to Hunter Joslin, a lifelong surfer and the creator of the Indo Board, “surfing is a great sport that utilizes the entire body, from paddling out to the lineup and catching a wave to standing on your board and balancing while maneuvering the board through your ride back to the shore.” For many beginners, simply standing on the board in the water takes a great deal of work and practice.
One way to improve your stability while surfing is to work on your core strength and balance. Hunter recommends a thorough, out-of-water regimen for all surfers that includes planks, push-ups, pull-ups and squats. This strengthens the neck and shoulders, abdominals and core, and the entire leg.
Adding an unstable foundation to these exercises, like the Indo Board (a Physiquality partner product), challenges these muscles while exercising the body’s balance control systems. Using this tool creates an moving surface that mimics the instability you’d feel in the water, helping strengthen the key muscles necessary for surfing. This is why many surfers, like pro surfer Ben Skinner (seen in the video below), use the Indo Board to train at home.
Another resource for making sure you’re well-conditioned to ride the waves is your physical therapist. Use our locator at the bottom of the page to find Physiquality therapists near you.
If this is one of your first times hitting the waves, be prepared before you leave the house. Multiple surfing sites recommend checking the forecast, as you’ll want to know how strong the wind and currents will be — and you’ll want to be out of the water if a thunderstorm hits (lightning strikes are a serious threat, particularly in salt water). Regardless of the weather, you’ll want to wear sunscreen and a rash guard; if you’re in a cooler climate, consider a wetsuit. And make sure to tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back, or, even better, go with a friend.
Once you’re on the beach, be aware of surfer etiquette. Respect your fellow surfers by being aware of them and taking your turn on the waves, and help those that are having trouble returning to the shore. If other surfers are nearby in the water, make sure to communicate where you are to them in order to avoid a collision. Never litter or leave anything behind — the beach and ocean should be as clean or cleaner when you leave compared to when you arrive. And know the local surfing laws to make sure that you’re following all of the rules. Many beaches require leashes on all boards to protect everyone in the water; check with local lifeguards to make sure you know what’s expected of you before you dive in.
Thank you to our contributors:
Surfing safety tips. SurfLounge.com, October 15, 2015.
Lonsdale, John. How to surf for the first time. Men’s Journal, January 15, 2015.
Improving your balance. Physiquality, December 22, 2014.
Five very good reasons why surf leashes are mandatory. SurferToday.com, March 24, 2014.
The Indo Board Channel. YouTube.
- Indo Board President Hunter Joslin on the DBZ Show. September 22, 2014.
- Indo Board with Pro Surfer Ben Skinner. April 12, 2011.