Big wave surfing can be very dangerous for the unprepared, so it is extremely important to know how to get in shape for big waves before paddling out in large surf. Every surfer has a different definition of what exactly constitutes big wave surfing, but generally speaking, big wave surfing starts at about fifteen feet. Drowning and impact related injuries are the two most serious perils of big wave surfing, so in order to get in shape for big waves, a surfer must increase both strength and lung capacity. The following training methods will help the dedicated experienced surfer prepare for larger surf.
- Swimming: This is the single most important aspect of big wave training. Swimming will work all of the muscles needed for surfing as well as provide in-water cardio training.
- Running: This is a good substitute for swimming and provides excellent cardiovascular benefits.
- Hypoxic training: Anyone that wants to get in shape for big waves should seriously consider hypoxic training. This form of training involves forcing the body to perform strenuous physical feats with little or no oxygen. Examples of hypoxic training include underwater rock running and underwater pool laps. This is one of the best ways to get in shape for big waves. Never perform this type of training alone, as shallow water blackouts can be deadly.
- Lifting: Although strength training is not as important as cardiovascular training, lifting can be very beneficial for surfers that wish to get in shape for big waves. Stronger arms and shoulders will obviously increase paddle speed and power. Likewise, stronger legs will increase balance and improve a surfer’s ability to turn and overpower chop on large powerful waves.
- Core: Increasing core strength is a great way to increase balance. Obviously, balance is important for all forms of surfing, but it is especially important for big waves. Improving core strength is crucial for anyone that wants to get in shape for big wave surfing.
- Paddle: You can’t ride big waves if you are not a strong paddler. Paddleboard training will increase strength and endurance and will greatly enhance your chances of scratching over those sneaker sets.
Mental preparation: This is a huge aspect of big wave training. All of the cardio training in the world will not save you if you panic. Being comfortable in the ocean and in larger surf will help you remain calm in critical situation.