Swim Training For Surfing

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Swimming is the closest cross training to paddling, without actually paddling. You never know when that leash could break, leaving you stranded with a long swim in. A good swimming ability is a vital safety component for any surfer. The following programme is one is used to maintain surf fitness. Based on using a 25m pool and 2 x 1 hour sessions a week, for front crawl the closest stroke to paddling. There are some 'head up' sections which mimic the surfing paddle stroke the closest. Important factors to consider that will also help with your surfing paddle stroke are; keeping your head stationary, looking forward and high elbows, as hand enters the water.This is a tough programme to work up to and further improve on. Start with much smaller sets and aim to improve a little each week.


Equipment needed; Standard swimming kit including goggles, pull buoy (float to put between legs to aid swimming with arm strokes only), drinking water and watch preferably with stopwatch.


• Warm up. 10 lengths very gentle. A dynamic warm up is recommended. Static stretching increases the risk of muscle pulls.


• Stamina. For those long distance paddles and long surf sessions. 20 lengths reasonably paced, breathing not too high. Followed by 10 lengths head up using pull buoy.


• Interval training. Simulate paddling out, sprinting to get in position and catching wave. 1 length at previous pace, 1 length sprint flat out, head up. Rest 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times.


• Stamina again. 10 lengths reasonably paced followed by 10 lengths with pull buoy.


• 5 x 1 length sprints. 30 seconds rest between.


• Hold down training. To aid a surfer when the inevitable wipeout happens on a big surf day. Start by swimming 5 x 1 lengths with no breaths. Again build up slowly take 2 or three breaths if needed. Rest 1 minute between each one. As your program builds, add swimming underwater.


• Ultimate hold down training. Again work up to this. 5 x lengths good pace slightly faster than stamina pace, followed immediately by 1 x length with no breaths (or as few as possible). Rest 1 minute. Repeat 3 times. As your program builds add underwater lengths incorporating forward and backwards rolls.


• Stamina again. 20 lengths using pull buoy reasonable pace.


• Warm down. 5 - 6 lengths gradually slowing the stroke down and aiming for maximum length of stroke and stretching the strokes as far forward and back as possible.


• Get out, stretch lots, drink plenty of fluids and eat something small within half an hour, to replenish energy levels.