Quick & Easy, Pre-Surf Warm-Up

🕓   6 min read

✏️   Updated on 26th March 2024


Welcome surfing friend, in today’s blog post I’ll be taking you through my ‘Quick & Easy, Pre-Surf Warm-Up’.

This post is all about loosening up those body parts before heading into the waves. The majority of stretches are core stretches, but there are some ‘extra‘ stretches available if you want to do a bit more.

Here’s a breakdown of the content…

1. Neck Stretch
2. Shoulder Rotations & Stretch
3. Tricep Stretch (Extra)
4. Chest Stretch
5. Hip Rotations & Stretch
6. Quadricep Stretch
7. Calf Stretch (Extra)
8. Hamstring Stretch
9. Ankle Rolls (Extra)
10. Back Stretch
11. Baby Cobra & Child Pose (Extra)

Let’s get started!




Upper Body Warm-Up

Let’s start this Quick & Easy, Pre-Surf Warm-Up with our upper body stretching.

All of these can be done standing up.


1. Neck Stretch

We use our necks a lot whilst surfing, so we want to make sure the muscles are lengthened before heading out.

  • Here we just want to gently tilt the head left to right, back to front and side to side.
  • Hold each head tilt for 5-8 seconds.

Neck Stretch


2. Shoulder Rotations & Stretch

Next, let’s warm-up our shoulders and arms.

These are obviously super important in surfing as they provide the propulsion whilst paddling.

  • Best way to do this is with some shoulder rotations. I usually do this one arm at a time, doing rotations forward and then backward.
  • Rotate each arm three times forward and the same backward.

Shoulder Rotations

Once you’ve done that, the next thing is to give those shoulder muscles a good stretch.

  • Most people are familiar with this stretch as it’s great for lengthening the deltoid and latissimus dorsi muscles.
  • For extra points, look the opposite way while you’re stretching.
  • Hold this stretch on each side for 5-8 seconds.

Shoulder Stretch


3. Tricep Stretch (Extra)

If you fancied an extra arm stretch this one is a good one.

  • It helps stretch out your triceps, which are used during your pop-up.
  • Hold this stretch on each side for 5-8 seconds.

Tricep Stretch (Extra)


4. Chest Stretch

Our last warm-up exercise for this upper body section is a simple chest stretch.

Our chest muscles are fundamental to a good pop-up (amongst other things) whilst surfing.

  • This stretch is a great way to help wake up those pectoral muscles. I usually repeat them laterally (like in the image below) and then diagonally.
  • Keep this movement up for 15-20 seconds.

Chest Stretch


Lower Body Warm-Up

Now, let’s move this Quick & Easy, Pre-Surf Warm-Up onto the lower half.

All stretches (except the hip rotations) in this section can be done on your knees or bum.




1. Hip Rotations & Stretch

Let’s start by warming up the hips.

Our hips are the foundation a lot of surfing movements stem from. So, it’s really important to give them a good stretch before heading into the waves.

  • These rotations are super easy to do. The movement also helps loosen up the lower back and is great for that fast pop-up.
  • Start with small slow twists and gradually get faster.
  • Keep this movement up for 20-30 seconds.

Hip Rotations

Once you’ve finished your hip rotations, it’s time to stretch them out.

This next hip stretch is my personal favourite and in my opinion, the best pre-surf warm-up stretch on this list.

  • It’s called a lunging hip flexor stretch and is perfect for a surfing warm-up. It mimics a pop up stance so is another great one for this quick warm-up.
  • I tend to pulse backwards and forwards a bit on each leg whilst doing this one.
  • Hold this stretch on each side for 10-15 seconds.

Hip Stretch


2. Quadricep Stretch

This lower body stretch focuses on the quadriceps.

This is another popular one as it helps warm up some of the biggest muscle groups in our body.

  • The version shown below is ideal for surfing as it also incorporates the previous hip flexor stretch.
  • Hold this stretch on each side for 5-8 seconds.

Quadricep Stretch


3. Calf Stretch (Extra)

The second of our leg stretches is an optional extra.

Although we don’t use our calf muscles that much whilst surfing, it’s an easy and familiar stretch for most.

  • This stretch not only fits well in the current sequence, but it also helps stretch out the achilles tendons at the back of the ankle.
  • Hold this stretch on each side for 5-8 seconds.

Calf Stretch (Extra)




4. Hamstring Stretch

Our final leg warm-up is all about our hamstrings.

These are super important for a quick and stable pop-up, so it’s essential we warm these up properly.

  • This is another familiar stretch to most and it’s particular good as this version helps open up those hips at the same time.
  • Hold this stretch on each side for 5-8 seconds.

Hamstring Stretch


5. Ankle Rolls (Extra)

I always like to finish off my leg stretches with some ankle rolls.

These are optional extras but as someone with bad ankles, I always make sure to do these before any exercise.

  • The image below is a good example of how to do ankle rolls correctly.
  • Do 3-5 full rotations (both directions) on each ankle.

Ankle Rolls (Extra)


6. Back Stretch

This next stretch is really important as it’s all about those back muscles.

This one is a bit more yoga but it’s great before a surf if you’ve ever had back issues.

  • Known as Cat Cow in the yoga world, this stretch is a great way to improve posture and balance whilst lengthening the spine.
  • Move between the poses slowly and alternate between the two for 30-45 seconds.

Cat Cow Pose


7. Baby Cobra & Child Pose (Extra)

Here are two additional yoga poses for those wanting a bit more.

The first is called the baby cobra, it’s super easy and imitates the moments before popping up whilst surfing.

  • This first one is a great way to improve spinal flexibility and mobility, both are important for surfing.
  • Try and hold this pose for 10-15 seconds.

Baby Cobra (Extra)

The second pose is called the child pose.

This is another favourite of mine as it’s about relaxing almost all of your muscles, rather then stretching them.

  • This pose also gives a great stretch to the hips and shoulders, so is perfect for a pre-surf warm-up.
  • Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds.

Child Pose (Extra)





Annnnnnd you’re done!

Hopefully this ‘Quick & Easy, Pre-Surf Warm-Up’ post has given you some ideas for your own pre-surf warm-up routine. There were loads of other stretches and movements I could have included, but have tried to keep it short and sweet!

In my experience, a pre-surf warm-up takes a bit of time to perfect but they certainly help reduce the chance of injury. If you’ve got any other stretches that you think should be included, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

As always, be sure to follow on the usual socials below to keep up to date with the latest surfing content!


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Next read: ’10 Tips To Help Your Wetsuit Live Longer’


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