Do you find yourself falling off your surfboard constantly? Does your board keep on flipping over each time you try to stand up to catch a wave? If yes, then maybe it is time you improve your balance so you can better enjoy surfing.
It is normal to fall off your board especially if you are a beginner. However, it can also be very frustrating, especially if you have tried numerous times and always failed. But don’t worry because there are several things that you can do to improve your surf balance. Keep on reading to learn how to improve not only your balance but your overall performance in the sport.
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Exercise and Have a Workout Routine
Exercising has a lot of health benefits and there are certain exercises you can try to help improve your balance. Leg balance and core strengthening exercises can do wonders in becoming better at surfing. In addition to that, working out will keep you fit and increase your endurance.
Leg Balance Exercises
Apart from improving your balance, this exercise can also help in strengthening your lower body. To do this, stand with your weight evenly distributed to both of your legs. Your feet should be about hip-width apart.
Move your weight to your right foot and raise your left foot. Try to hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Now, put your hands to your hips and raise your left leg to your side. Bend one leg to your knee and stay in this position for another 30 seconds then go back to your starting position.
Do the same routine on your right side. Repeat it three times on both sides while gradually increasing the time or number of reps. This may sound too easy but try doing this single leg balance with your eyes closed and find out if it is still that easy.
If you want a more challenging routine, you can try the single-leg balance with ball toss. Same instructions as above but now get a tennis ball and throw it up and try to catch it without falling or losing your equilibrium. You can also throw the tennis ball on a wall and catch it.
The pistol squat is another great exercise that will also help you build leg strength which is another must-have when surfing. To perform pistols squats, start by standing with your feet around shoulder-width apart. Go into a squat position, try to get as low as you can then lift one foot off the ground. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds then switch to your other leg.
Return to your starting position and repeat the routine. Increase the time on each leg as you progress.
Core Strength Exercises
Strengthening your core is one of the keys to improving your balance. Aside from that, it can help enhance your mobility.
Don’t be fooled by this exercise. It may look easy but it’s actually very hard to stay in this position for even a few seconds. The right way to do this is by positioning yourself like you would when performing pushups. But don’t push yourself up and down, just stay in that position with your belly down and use your forearms for support.
Be sure that your body is perfectly straight. Stay in this position for as long as you can and increase the time as you get more comfortable. Do this often and you’ll see and feel the results soon.
Both planking and standing crunches will not only improve your stability and strengthen your core but can also help you develop those abs you’ve been dying to get. So here’s how to do this exercise right.
Stand with your hands on the hips, your toes facing forward and your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Tilt your pelvis forward while engaging your abs, make sure your hips are up on your chest. Then dip your pelvis backward with your chest forward and your shoulders backward. Go back to starting position and repeat.
Other essential surfer exercises to try to improve overall surfing skills and performance are:
- Mobility Drills
- Front Squats
- Dumbbell Drills
Include your favorite surfing exercises in your daily routine to improve balance and achieve core strength.
If working out is too much for you, there are other ways to improve your surfing balance skills. You can start with learning to jump on a skateboard. Besides, skateboarding was somehow derived from surfing. These two board sports have many similarities, they both use a board, you need to maintain balance and stability when riding on air and water.
If you can’t be in the water at all times for surf practice, learning how to ride a skateboard is great training. It may even give you more confidence to improve your balance for surfing since there is no fear of drowning in the water. However, be sure to wear protective gear when skateboarding as you can still fall and hurt yourself.
Use a Balance Board
If you don’t like to risk getting all bruised up in skateboarding, you can try using a balance board. Although you can still get bruises with a balance board, you can avoid it by doing this on a thick carpet. Indo Board for example can help you attain good balance for surfing. The way balance boards work is by balancing on the board without letting it touch the floor. You need to stay on it as long as you can without losing stability.
It can be uncomfortable at first, but by relaxing, concentrating, and doing the right centered posture, you’ll soon be able to get the hang of it. The key to maintaining your balance in an Indo Board is to relax your upper body and keep your shoulders and head in an upright position. Your knees should be bent over 2-3 inches and your hips should be slightly forward.
Before you get up on a balance board, be sure to observe safety precautions. Practice near a wall for support or have someone hold your hand. It is also recommended to wear safety gear like a helmet, and knee pads.
This is another surfer exercise that can help improve overall wellbeing. Not only does it improve balance, but also flexibility, mindfulness, and a great way to relieve anxiety and stress. Many surfers practice yoga, not just for stability but also to focus and have a clear mind.
You don’t have to enroll in a yoga class. You can always do it at home and watch yoga videos that you can follow. All you need is a nice yoga mat and you’re good to go. There are different yoga routines so be sure you focus on routines for improving balance.
Choose the Right Board
Sometimes the main reason why you can’t stay upright on your surfboard is not about you having poor balancing skills. It is also possible that you are using the wrong kind of board. Choosing the right surfboard especially if you a beginner is crucial in your surf training.
Make sure you are using a beginner-friendly board as surfboards are designed for different skill levels and purposes. A high-volume surfboard is ideal for beginners as it provides very good weight support. It is also easy to ride letting you keep your balance in the ocean.
You should also consider the texture of your board. This will help keep your feet on the board and help you control your movement easily when surfing the waves.
Adopt the Proper Surfing Stance
The first thing you need to know when surfing is whether you are a regular or goofy surfer. A regular surfer is when someone uses their left foot as their front foot and goofy is when a surfer uses their right foot forward. It is important to identify your natural stance so you can stand comfortably and maintain better balance on your surfboard.
Where you stand on the board is also important in balancing. Your feet should be placed equally on both sides of the stringer or the imaginary straight line on the surfboard. Positioning your feet in the wrong place will make you get off-balance and fall.
Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. You would like to have a lower center of gravity to maintain balance for surfing. Your arms can also help keep you steady by spreading them out.
Another sport that can help improve your balance is slacklining. It involves stability and walking on a nylon rope that is tied between two upright structures that are far apart. The rope is suspended above the ground and you’ll be walking on the rope. Slacklining is a good balance training that will enhance your form and performance in the water.
Relax and Don't Overthink
Lastly, just relax and enjoy the experience. Don’t overthink as it will only make you more nervous and lose focus. When you’re too conscious about how you look or if you’re too occupied in thinking whether or not you are doing it right, you’ll tend to lose focus and balance. So, just have fun, keep your eyes open for any obstacles, look straight ahead, steady your legs and relax. Remember that it is okay to fall and it’s normal.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Maybe you are doing these common mistakes that prohibit you from improving your surf balance. If you are doing any of the things below, it is time to stop and you’ll notice a big difference in your surfing performance.
Bending your Upper Body Down
Never bend your chest closer to the board. Most beginners have a tendency to do this as an attempt to stay on equal footing. However, doing this will only put you off balance.
Doing the Poo Stance
The poo stance is when your knees are pointing in different directions like when you’re taking a poo. This will make moving your hips difficult and it looks bad.
Turning With Your Heels and Toes
Doing this will only make you fall off your board. This may work when wakeboarding or snowboarding, but not in surfing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you balance a surfboard?
Twist your hips while you put your front leg up. Place your front foot just within the chest line. In this position, get up with your natural surfing stance.
Do surfers need to be strong?
In general, yes surfers need to be strong. It’s an activity wherein your body and mind should be strong and coordinated. Surfers need to have the endurance, strength, power, flexibility, balance, and speed to ride the wave and perform tricks, especially when tackling big waves.
What are the best exercises for surfing?
Exercises that help improve balance, core strength, flexibility, and mental strength are the best options. Include push-ups, chin-ups, yoga, mobility drills, and squats the next time you hit the gym.
What is the best way to improve balance?
Exercising is a great way to improve your balance. In addition to that, it has a lot of benefits in improving your skill in surfing and for your overall health.
Do I need to be an excellent swimmer to surf?
You do not need to be an excellent swimmer to learn to surf, but it is important that you know how to swim. The waves and currents can take you to the deeper part of the ocean and it is important that you know how to swim back to the shore.
Are you ready to follow some of the tips above to improve your balance when surfing? Whatever you do, don’t be discouraged easily. As long as you are willing to learn and try to do something about your struggle in balancing, you’ll be able to ride the waves in no time. Surfing is supposed to be fun, so don’t get too stressed out if you wiped out several times. Just strengthen your core and avoid unnecessary movements of the arms when surfing and you’ll be just fine.