how many calories does surfing burn

Surfing, a thrilling water sport that combines athleticism and a connection to nature, has skyrocketed in popularity over the years, leaving people to wonder how many calories surfing burns. From its origins in ancient Polynesia to its inclusion in the Olympic Games, surfing has become not only a competitive sport but also a beloved recreational activity for people of all ages and abilities.

With its unique blend of physical exertion and mental focus, surfing offers a wide range of benefits beyond just riding waves. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to dip your toes into the world of surfing, understanding the calorie-burning potential of this sport can help you make the most of your time in the water.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various factors that influence calorie burn while surfing and delve into the different types of surfing activities. Furthermore, we will provide estimates for calorie burn during specific surfing scenarios, highlight the additional benefits of surfing beyond calorie burn, and offer tips for maximizing your calorie burn while riding the waves. Safety considerations will also be addressed to ensure a safe and enjoyable surfing experience.

So grab your board, wax it up, and join us on this exhilarating journey to discover just how many calories you can burn while riding the waves! But before we dive in, let’s take a closer look at the ever-growing popularity of surfing as a sport and recreational activity.

The Calorie-Burning Potential of Surfing

Surfing is not only a thrilling water sport but also a fantastic way to stay fit and active. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just starting out, it’s important to understand the calorie-burning potential of this exhilarating activity. By delving into the factors that influence calorie burn and exploring the different types of surfing activities, we can gain a better understanding of how surfing can contribute to our overall fitness goals.

Factors that Influence Calorie Burn

Several factors come into play when determining the number of calories burned during a surfing session. These factors include:

1. Wave Conditions: The size and intensity of the waves greatly impact the energy expenditure involved in surfing. Riding larger, more challenging waves requires greater physical effort, resulting in a higher calorie burn.

2. Skill Level: A surfer’s skill level also affects calorie burn. Beginners may exert more energy as they navigate the waves and maintain their balance, thereby burning more calories. As surfers become more experienced and skilled, they may develop more efficient techniques, resulting in a slightly lower calorie burn.

3. Duration of Activity: The length of time spent actively surfing significantly influences the number of calories burned. The longer the session, the more calories you are likely to burn.

4. Body Weight: Body weight plays a role in calorie burn during any physical activity, including surfing. Generally, individuals with a higher body weight burn more calories because they require more energy to perform the same movements.

5. Intensity of Effort: The level of effort exerted while surfing determines the intensity of the workout. Paddling vigorously, executing powerful turns, and maintaining balance in challenging conditions all contribute to a higher calorie burn.

Different Types of Surfing Activities

Surfing encompasses a wide range of activities, each with its own calorie-burning potential. Here are a few examples:

1. Catching Waves: The act of catching and riding waves is an exhilarating experience that engages various muscle groups. It involves paddling out to the lineup, timing the wave, and using core and leg strength to balance and maneuver on the board. This activity alone can provide a substantial calorie burn.

2. Duck Diving: When faced with an incoming wave, surfers often dive underwater to avoid being pushed back. This maneuver, known as duck diving, requires upper body strength and can contribute to overall calorie burn.

3. Paddling: Paddling is an essential part of surfing, as it allows surfers to navigate the waves and position themselves for optimal rides. This repetitive upper body movement engages the shoulders, back, and arms, providing a great workout for the upper body muscles.

4. Waiting for Waves: Surfing also involves periods of waiting for the perfect wave. During this time, surfers stay afloat on their boards, using their core muscles to maintain balance and stability. While it may not be as physically demanding as riding waves, it still contributes to overall calorie burn.

As you can see, surfing encompasses a variety of activities that engage different muscle groups and require varying levels of effort. By understanding these factors and activities, you can better estimate the calorie burn associated with your surfing sessions.

In the next section, we will delve into the calorie burn estimates for different surfing activities, providing you with valuable insights to help you track your fitness progress and set realistic goals. Stay tuned!

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Calorie Burn Estimates for Different Surfing Activities

When it comes to calorie burn, surfing is not just a fun and exhilarating sport, but also a great way to stay in shape. The number of calories burned during a surfing session can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the intensity of the waves and the level of expertise of the surfer. Let’s take a closer look at the calorie burn estimates for different surfing activities.

Surfing in beginner waves

For those who are just starting out in the world of surfing, riding beginner waves can be a fantastic way to learn the basics while also getting a good workout. On average, a beginner surfer can expect to burn around 150 to 200 calories per hour while riding small waves and practicing their balance on the board. It may not seem like a lot, but the constant paddling and the effort required to stay balanced on the board engage multiple muscle groups and contribute to a moderate calorie burn.

Surfing in intermediate waves

As surfers progress and gain more experience, they often graduate to riding intermediate waves. These waves are slightly larger and require more skill and technique to navigate. Intermediate surfing can provide a more intense workout, resulting in a higher calorie burn. Surfers tackling intermediate waves can expect to burn between 250 and 350 calories per hour. The increased physical demands of maneuvering through the waves, coupled with the continuous paddling, contribute to a higher calorie expenditure.

Surfing in advanced waves

For seasoned surfers who take on bigger and more challenging waves, the calorie burn can be even more substantial. Surfing in advanced waves requires a high level of skill, strength, and endurance. The adrenaline rush and the physical demands of riding these waves can lead to a significant calorie burn. Advanced surfers can expect to burn between 350 and 500 calories per hour, depending on the intensity and duration of their session.

Paddling and waiting for waves

Surfing is not just about riding the waves; it also involves a fair amount of paddling and waiting for the perfect wave. While these activities may not be as exciting as catching a wave, they still contribute to the overall calorie burn. Paddling and waiting for waves can help surfers improve their cardiovascular endurance and build upper body strength. On average, surfers can burn around 100 to 150 calories per hour during these periods of activity.

Surfing is not only a fantastic way to enjoy the ocean and connect with nature, but it also offers a range of health benefits. In addition to the calorie burn, surfing provides a full-body workout, improves cardiovascular health, and enhances balance and coordination. So, next time you hit the waves, remember that you’re not only having fun, but also giving your body a fantastic workout.

To maximize your calorie burn while surfing, it’s important to choose the right surfing spot, maintain proper form and technique, and incorporate interval training. These strategies can help you make the most of your time in the water and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your surfing sessions.

Benefits of Surfing Beyond Calorie Burn

Surfing offers a multitude of benefits beyond simply burning calories. It provides a full-body workout, improves cardiovascular health, and enhances balance and coordination. Let’s delve deeper into these remarkable advantages.

Full-body workout

Surfing engages multiple muscle groups throughout the body, making it an excellent form of exercise. As you ride the waves, your core muscles are constantly engaged to maintain balance and stability. Your legs work to maintain a strong stance and propel you forward, while your arms and shoulders are activated as you paddle through the water.

This full-body workout not only builds strength but also improves muscle tone and endurance. The constant movement and resistance offered by the waves create an environment where every muscle in your body is working harmoniously to keep you upright and riding the waves.

Improved cardiovascular health

Surfing is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart pumping and blood flowing. The combination of paddling out to catch waves and the intense physical exertion required to ride them boosts your heart rate, improving your cardiovascular fitness over time.

Regular surfing sessions can help strengthen your heart, increase lung capacity, and improve overall cardiovascular endurance. This not only benefits your surfing performance but also promotes a healthy heart and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Enhanced balance and coordination

Surfing demands exceptional balance and coordination. As you navigate the ever-changing waves, you must constantly adjust your body position to maintain stability on your board. This challenge stimulates the development of balance and coordination skills, which can have positive effects on your daily life beyond the waves.

Improved balance and coordination can enhance your performance in other sports and physical activities. It can also reduce the risk of falls and injuries, especially in older adults. So, by riding the waves, you’re not only having fun but also honing skills that can benefit you in various aspects of life.

Incorporating surfing into your lifestyle can provide a holistic approach to fitness and well-being. It offers a thrilling adventure while simultaneously offering a complete workout, boosting cardiovascular health, and improving balance and coordination.

Now that we have explored the incredible benefits of surfing beyond calorie burn, let’s move on to some valuable tips for maximizing your calorie burn while enjoying this exhilarating water sport. But, before we dive into that, let’s first understand the calorie burn estimates for different surfing activities. Stay tuned!

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Tips for Maximizing Calorie Burn While Surfing

Surfing is not only a thrilling water sport but also an excellent way to burn calories and stay in shape. To make the most of your surfing sessions and maximize calorie burn, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

Choosing the Right Surfing Spot

Location is key when it comes to surfing. To optimize your calorie burn, select a spot with challenging waves that require more effort to ride. Waves that are bigger and more powerful will demand greater physical exertion, resulting in a higher calorie burn. Additionally, consider the duration of your session. Spending more time in the water will naturally increase the number of calories you burn. So, aim for longer sessions whenever possible.

Maintaining Proper Form and Technique

Achieving and maintaining the correct form and technique while surfing is not only crucial for your performance but also for calorie burn. Proper body alignment and positioning on the board will engage your muscles more effectively, leading to a higher calorie expenditure. Focus on maintaining a stable and balanced stance as you ride the waves, with your core muscles engaged and your weight evenly distributed. This will not only enhance your calorie burn but also improve your overall surfing experience.

Incorporating Interval Training

Surfing inherently involves periods of intense activity followed by periods of rest as you wait for the next wave. To maximize your calorie burn, consider incorporating interval training into your surfing sessions. During the active phases, give it your all and paddle vigorously to catch waves. This will elevate your heart rate and increase the intensity of your workout. Then, during the resting periods, take the opportunity to recover and conserve energy. This alternating pattern of high-intensity bursts and recovery periods will not only improve your cardiovascular fitness but also optimize calorie burn.

By implementing these tips, you can make the most of your time in the water and burn a significant number of calories while enjoying the exhilarating sport of surfing.

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Safety Considerations

When it comes to any physical activity, safety should always be a top priority. Surfing is no exception. Before hitting the waves, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. In this section, we will discuss the importance of warm-up and stretching as well as recognizing and avoiding potential hazards.

Importance of Warm-Up and Stretching

Before diving into the exhilarating world of surfing, it is crucial to prepare your body for the physical demands it will face. Engaging in a proper warm-up routine helps to gradually increase your heart rate and body temperature, preparing your muscles for the upcoming activity. This can be achieved through light aerobic exercises such as jogging or jumping jacks, which help to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of injury.

Stretching is also an essential component of any warm-up routine. It helps to increase flexibility and range of motion, allowing your body to move more freely while on the surfboard. Focus on stretching the major muscle groups involved in surfing, including the shoulders, back, hips, and legs. Incorporate dynamic stretches, such as arm circles and lunges, to further enhance your overall mobility.

By dedicating a few minutes to warm-up and stretching exercises, you’ll not only reduce the chances of muscle strains and sprains, but you’ll also optimize your performance in the water. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-prepared body!

Recognizing and Avoiding Potential Hazards

While surfing can be an exhilarating and liberating experience, it’s important to be aware of potential hazards that may arise in the water. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Know your limits: Surfing can be physically demanding, especially for beginners. Be honest with yourself about your skill level and only attempt waves that align with your abilities. Pushing beyond your limits can result in accidents and injuries.
  2. Understand the surf conditions: Familiarize yourself with the local surf conditions, including the size of the waves, the strength of the currents, and any potential hazards such as rocks or reefs. Consult local surf reports or speak with experienced surfers to gain valuable insights.
  3. Use appropriate safety gear: Wearing a leash attached to your surfboard is crucial, as it helps to prevent your board from drifting away in the event of a fall. Additionally, consider wearing a wetsuit or rash guard to protect your skin from sunburn and potential rashes caused by the friction of the board.
  4. Be mindful of other surfers: Surfing is often a communal activity, and it’s important to show respect and consideration for fellow surfers. Avoid “dropping in” on someone else’s wave and be aware of your surroundings to prevent collisions.
  5. Stay hydrated and nourished: Surfing can be physically demanding, so it’s important to stay hydrated and fuel your body with proper nutrition. Pack a water bottle and some nutritious snacks to keep your energy levels up throughout your session.

By being mindful of these safety considerations, you can minimize the risks and maximize the enjoyment of your surfing experience. Remember, safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when venturing into the waves.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of warm-up and stretching as well as recognizing and avoiding potential hazards, let’s move on to the conclusion of our ultimate guide to surfing and calorie burn.


In conclusion, surfing is not only a thrilling and exhilarating sport, but it also offers a multitude of health benefits. The calorie-burning potential of surfing is influenced by various factors such as wave conditions, intensity of the activity, and the surfer’s skill level. From riding beginner waves to conquering advanced ones, each surfing activity provides a unique calorie burn.

Surfing is more than just a calorie-burning exercise; it offers a full-body workout that engages muscles from head to toe. The constant paddling, balancing, and maneuvering on the board contribute to improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength, and enhanced endurance. Additionally, the coordination and balance required while riding the waves help develop core stability and proprioception.

To maximize calorie burn while surfing, it is essential to choose the right surfing spot that matches your skill level and wave preferences. Maintaining proper form and technique, such as using the correct paddling technique and optimizing body positioning on the board, can also help maximize calorie burn. Incorporating interval training, alternating between high-intensity waves and periods of rest, can further enhance the calorie-burning potential of your surfing sessions.

Safety should always be a top priority when engaging in any physical activity, including surfing. It is crucial to warm up and stretch before hitting the waves to prevent injuries and optimize performance. Recognizing and avoiding potential hazards, such as strong currents or crowded surf breaks, is essential for a safe and enjoyable surfing experience.

In summary, surfing is not only a thrilling sport but also a fantastic way to burn calories and improve overall fitness. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, the waves offer an exhilarating opportunity to engage your body and mind. So grab your board, catch some waves, and enjoy the incredible benefits that surfing has to offer.

If you’re interested in learning about the calorie burn of other activities, check out our articles on how many calories does donating plasma burn and how many calories does a 1 minute plank burn. And if you’re curious about the calorie content of your favorite drinks, don’t miss our article on how many calories does a shot of tequila have.

Stay active, stay healthy, and keep riding those waves!