Top 5 Stretches Every Surfer Needs To Be Doing

Oct 31, 2014

Head to any beach in Hawaii and you’ll see surfers stretching before heading out in the surf.

There are a few main areas of the body that get worked during surfing: shoulders, low back, legs and neck.

All these areas tend to get fatigued and tight so there are a few critical stretches you need to be doing on a regular basis to counteract that tension.

The benefit is that you’ll be able to extend your surfing lifespan longer.  Ponder this…perhaps the SUP boom is caused by older surfers who are no longer comfortable or have the flexibility to get up on a regular surfboard.

Don’t you want to be surfing into your 60s, 70s and beyond?

You can perform these stretches while you’re checking out the sets and figuring out the best spot to head out to. Hold each of them for about 5 breaths.

You’ll find they don’t take long and will improve your surfing as well as your enjoyment of it.

Stretch 1: Shoulders

Here we’re showing a variation of a shoulder stretch that includes a side stretch as well. Arching to the opposite side of the bent elbow gives you more bang for the buck. And if you have a gorgeous friend to gaze at while you do it? Bonus!!!


Stretch 2: Warrior

Strong legs are über-important for finding stability on the waves.

Again, we’ve added more punch by showing it with the arms moving back behind the ears for a deep shoulder stretch.

Back heel can be up or swiveled flat onto the sand, depending on your hip flexibility.

Stretches hips, calves, quads and the whole torso, as well as shoulders.


Stretch 3: Low back & hamstrings

This one is really a quadruple whammy because it stretches the low back, hamstrings, shoulders and neck.

Caleb is showing the bent knee version while Kara is extending through her legs. Both are releasing their heads to hang and stretch out the neck.

You can also shake the head from side to side to further release the neck.


Stretch 4: Hips

Two versions of hip stretches are being shown here: standing and in pigeon.

The pigeon version is a little deeper for the more flexible surfer.

The standing version allows you to also work on balance. It activates the core muscles as well.


Stretch 5: Partner shoulder stretch

Although we show this as a partner stretch, you can also do it by using a nearby pole or wall or cliff. Just do one arm at a time and place your hand shoulder high on your helper object and rotate away from it.

If done with a partner, be sure to give feedback to each other as you lift the arms and move the hands towards each other. Too much will cause pain so pay attention to the sensations in the head of arm bone (rotator cuff area).

This gives a nice stretch across the chest and squeezes the upper back, releasing those muscles.


Thanks to our beautiful models, Kara Miller, RYT, and Caleb McMahan, of Honolulu…avid surfers and yogis!

No matter what your surfing ability, adding a few stretch and strength moves before heading out can get the body ready to play in the waves.  

To focus the mind and improve lung capacity (very important aspect of surfing) combine your stretches with deep breathing. These two limbs of yoga—asana and pranayama—can increase your enjoyment and longevity in the surf.

Category: Yoga for Surfers



Blissful Yogini

The Blissful Yoginis are Tania Jo Ingrahm and Rupali Embry, friends and yoga teaching partners for a billion years. You can find them in Hawaii, on the internet ( and wherever Spirit moves them.

Join them on the Big Island for a blissful five-day retreat: April 21-26, 2015.  (Space is quickly filling up, reserve your spot now).

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