How do you get better at surfing when there are no beaches or water to be seen?
I have put together some the best exercises you can do (on dry land) to help you master the art of surfing. They are in an order to help you get from paddling to standing.
Practice these 4 exercises in the gym to become better at surfing:
1. Belly leg and arm flutters
Until you get really good at surfing, you will find that you will spend most of your day on your belly paddling around. Getting used to this position will help you stay in the water for longer periods of time.
Start by laying on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you. Try and raise your feet and arms off the ground. Once all four are off, move them individually 5cm up and down without touching the floor. The longer you can do this for, the better. Start with 30 seconds and see if you can make your way up to 2 minutes. This will strengthen your neck, back, and arm muscles.
2. Straight arm lat pull-downs
Because the best way to catch a wave is to paddle with both arms vigorously before dropping into your wave, mastering the two arm power paddle is a must. In the gym, use a large straight bar and attach it to the top of a cable machine.
Putting 20 lbs on the cable is a good place to start. From a standing positions, put your arms on both ends of the bar with your palms down, and pull the bar towards your hips without bending your elbows. Repeat 15 times, and try and do 3 sets. I would encourage you to put less weight off and try and increase your speed and power, because that's the trick to catching your first wave.
3. Wobble board push-up
When you get to your feet surfing, you are practically doing a push up into a front lunge. Pushing off an unstable surface like a surfboard can make this very hard. I would practice doing 3 sets of 15 pushups on a wobble board.
4. Wobble board squats
Whether you do them facing the mirror, or looking over your right or left shoulder, squatting on an unstable surface will help prep you for the balance needed to surf. There is not much to this exercise; try and squat down as low as you can, repeat for 15 reps, and then change your foot position and eye position. Changing where your feet go and where your eyes are looking will directly affect your balance.