Mental and Physical Benefits of Surfing

Our daily habits form who we are today, and who we’ll become in the future.

Surfers are often known by their youthful, fun and laid-back attitude towards life.

In this article, we’ll be overlooking some of the physical and mental benefits that come with the sport.

Healthy Body = Healthy Mind

Related – Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Hire a Surfer

Here Are 23 Reasons To Surf


1. Improved well-being

One of the essential benefits of surfing is obviously the intense physical workout. A surfer is always paddling on a surfboard to move along the water. Paddling activates shoulder, neck, back, and core muscles to a high degree, plus the legs get a fair amount of activity as well. Muscle strength and tonality guaranteed.

It’s no surprise that people who work out on a regular basis have way more positive outlook towards the life.


2. Improved lung capacity

Due to the submerging duck-dives and cardiovascular fitness – surfers’ lungs get a decent exercise which improves lungcapacity and overall cardiovascular fitness.


3. Balance

As easy it may seem to a spectator, learning the balance of surfing might be the toughest thing to learn even for a talented sportsperson. It is a “touch” that can not be learned in theory or doing other similar extreme sports.

Compared to snow- or skateboarding, where the boardrider is using the board to move on solid ground – A surfer has to paddle in the water to generate speed for the board to float, then has to stand up on it on a vertical dropping wave and finally surf the breaking wave.

Well, long story short – surfing consists of numerous processes that teach our body to balance continually. A skill to be mastered! Even laying on the board or sitting on a board, your body is always leveling – which gives an excellent work-out for your core, back, neck, and inner stabilization muscles.

advanced surfer in the waves


4. Coordination

As the control center or the headquarters of our coordination lies in our inner-ears, surfing is another excellent way of “teaching” our bodies and brains to coordinate in new environments. Every surf session is a favorable act since we are coping with new environments and creating a whole new experiences for ourselves. Not to forget the fact that surfing is a rather gnarly environment to teach our inner ears to adjust!

Read more about the inner ear and balance adjustment.


5. Endurance

Surfing sessions average around 30 to 120 minutes. It is the time for the surfer to shut off daily problems and live in the moment. So, paddling, duck diving, and surfing for hours is a high endurance workout for the whole body and mind. Also, greater stamina means that as you grow stronger, you don’t feel fatigued as much on mental and physical tasks.


6. Temperature tolerance

Bathing in the water for hours is also a significant boost to our bodies to cope with ranging temperatures. The average human body temperature is around 36.5 – 37.5 Celsius / 97.7 – 99.5 Fahrenheit. Soaking in colder temperatures inevitably rises our comfort levels and boosts our immune system. Improved immunity right there!

wave from the underwater

7. Refreshing and relaxing

Surfing and any other water sport are probably the most refreshing activities compared to any other sports out there. What could be better than bathing in the ocean, laying on your board and watching formidable forces of nature? The surf is either on or off. Usually, there’s a great mixture of relaxing or paddling hard to hit the waves alike.

duckdiving under a wave


8. You become a strong swimmer

Constant paddling through the waves makes surfers high-performance swimmers. There’s plenty of cardio work-out included on a surf session. Although surfing is considered to be a low-resistance physical activity – swimming is said to be one of the best choices for athletes with previous/on-going injuries. It’s because the whole body is working out without much direct resistance in the water.


9. Improved posture

All the exercises surfing combines will give your body a tremendous physical boost and improved posture. Since surfing is similar to swimming – broad shoulders and a rock-hard upper body come as a bonus.


10. Vitamins and minerals

Sun – Hence the fact that surfing means soaking in the water, under the open skies – It has some significant upsides on the means of vitamin D. In moderate consumptions, D – Vitamin is an essential organic molecule taking care of healthy bones as it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Vitamin D also helps to control the growth of skin cells. But, everything is good in moderation, so remember to protect yourself using proper sunscreen!

Water – Sea salt contains healthy skin-friendly minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

Read more about the list of health benefits the salty ocean water from Stylecaster.

clean wave


Mental Health Benefits Of Surfing

Any physical exercise is crucial for well being. A healthy body is the foundation of a healthy mind. Surfing is probably one of the most rewarding sports due to the factors that can be challenging, relaxing, and fun all at the same time.

11. Stress relief

Being outside in the fresh air in natural environments is the best remedy for stress, in my opinion. There are, of course, lots of other ways –  like dieting, philosophies and many more alternative methods. But, let’s be honest – getting out there and really doing it clears the mind and body with instant results. A sense of self-awareness. Crashing waves, refreshing water, and unpredictable environments give our brains an excellent sparky boost. We feel alive being in the moment!

Also, working out regularly is the best medicine against depression and stress.

surfers at the beach

12. Clears the mind

Physical exercise works as a perfect offset for stress which resets the brain. There’s no better remedy for clear-mindedness than the clarity after a great workout. Water is also known to have purifying quantities throughout history.

Also, as you are spending time off from the smartphone, you are in a complete “shut-off” mode, unless you are wearing an Apple iWatch.


13. Knowledge of the water

A competent surfer knows how to act around the ocean and spot dangers in public beaches. A surfer is also most likely to involve in a situation which might need someone to help and give proper advice for the young or water-distant people. Not only surfing teaches us how to surf, but also how to read the weather forecast – the wind, temperature, currents, and much more.

surfer in the waves


14. Fun

What’s there not to like when you are sliding in the water and riding the waves? Having one is the secret to staying young and healthy!


15. Mental accomplishment

The whole process of surfing makes us thankful and happy. Happiness, therefore, is the best cure for anything.


16. Improved Sleep Quality

Plenty of fresh air and quality time in the water clears our mental and physical bodies. It’s a perfect recipe for good night’s sleep. Good quality sleep is a crucial factor in maintaining our health.


17. Enhanced Performance On Everyday Tasks

Surfing requires a fair amount of dedication. A true surfer is a committed folk who likes to get things done. Motivation is what keeps us performing well, and an excellent surf is always something to wait for. When the surf’s up – surfers are willingly motivated to wake up at 5 am for a dawn patrol or finish their duties super quick to go surfing. You will hardly see a good surfer who is lazy. Those two words just don’t go together.


18. Knowledge Of The Environment

There’s nothing out there like surfing. Since the quality of waves is dependant on numerous natural elements working in harmony to generate good quality surf, a true surfer has to be a part-time meteorologist to get the most of what’s out there. An average surfer also tends to travel further out from their home surf-breaks, and traveling broadens the mind!


19. Keeps Us Young

Having fun keeps everyone young inside out. Physical wellness is a key for a healthy mind. People have been searching everywhere to find the fountain of youth, and surfing seems to be one of them.

surfers walking into a beach in bali


20. New likeminded friends

You will most likely meet a bunch of like-minded people to share a good collection of memories when surfing. Due to uncertain occasions and a long way to “get out there” seems to attract dedicated individuals. Having a fresh set of like-minded friends makes us feel more relaxed and confident about life.


21. Alternative lifestyle

Surfing is a cult that has involved a rebellious lifestyle throughout history. There was a time where an average surfer was portrayed as a mildly alternative person, with an excessive need for freedom. Surfers also tend to travel quite a bit to chase the swells, and travelers are known for their way of an alternative lifestyle. No need to remind you, that traveling broadens the mind like nothing else out there.


22. Attitude & self confidence

Surfing teaches a lot. An average surfer is known for their fresh, calm, preserved, fun-loving and rather laid-back exterior. Surfers are probably the most “two-feet on the ground” type out there. It might come from the fact that surfers know that they are playing by the rules of nature, which makes us feel small and respectful towards mother earth.

a wave from the side


23. Adjustment skills

Surfing teaches how to cope with an unfamiliar or unexpected environment. Whether the sets and waves increase in size or the wipe-out lasts longer than we are comfortable. In the surf, there’s no other way than to go through the situation. Adjusting to the location and having fun with it. Life is always throwing something in our paths, and we have to adapt our actions around it. I think that you learn a new way of thinking with every sport and surfing carries a ton of positive traits!



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I created Nulltuul to share my experience, research and analysis with other surf enthusiasts out there. If I'm not surfing on my travels - I like to photograph waves, surfers, and the surf lifestyle in general.

4 thoughts on “Mental and Physical Benefits of Surfing”

  1. It’s interesting to know that physical exercise involved in surf works as a perfect off-set for stress which resets the brain. My husband and I are thinking about an activity to learn together, and we are looking for advice. I will let him know about the benefits surf to help his decision.

  2. It’s great that you elaborate on how surfing is a great way to get a physical work out. I want to become more physically active, so I’m thinking about taking part in a surf camp on my upcoming vacation to Nicaragua. I’m going to look for a good surf camp in Nicaragua to attend.

  3. Vividly captures the holistic benefits of surfing, showcasing its transformative impact on both physical and mental well-being. The detailed breakdown of how surfing enhances muscle strength, lung capacity, balance, and coordination is informative. The mental health benefits, from stress relief and clarity of mind to the sense of accomplishment, resonate strongly. It’s an insightful and motivating read, affirming that beyond the waves, surfing is a life-enriching experience for those seeking vitality and balance.

  4. Hi,
    It’s been a nice and interesting piece of content to read and hats off to your collection related to the Blue Surf CR. Thanks! for sharing such stuff with us.

    We also provide services and blogs related to Blue Surf Coaching, Surf Therapy, Costa Rica Surf Lessons, Surfing for Health and Wellness and Surf Coaching.

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