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Backhand Barrel Training

Backhand Barrel

Watch Kelly Slater and John John Florence man handle the worlds craziest barrels (Tahiti 2014)… a backhand tube riding clinic, pause the vid and note the position the surfers body needs to be in to ride the tube. One of the trickiest feats in surfing. You need to be very flexible and strong just to get into a good position, let alone make fine adjustments while sliding at 30km/hr!

Using the techniques in the vid below, you can practice getting familiar with this position on dry land and build the strength and mobility to remain agile and stylish.

Keep practicing until it feels easy and watch your pig dog barrel time dramatically increase.

View vid:


(exercises too advanced? – start here)


Top 3 Surf Training Mistakes

surf squat surf training

1. Too much heavy weight training.

Surfers are just as agile as they are strong, heavy weights can kill your speed and add unnecessary bulk. Strength training is an important part of surf training but keep it bodyweight based (like a gymnast) to develop a good strength to weight ratio.

i.e. Jumping squats or Surf Squats instead of barbell squats. Handstand pushups instead of shoulder press. Pop-up Push ups instead of bench press.

2. Non Surf Specific Exercises.

Perfect technique lunges, squats and pushups will not help your surfing style. If you are a complete beginner to strength training then it is good to learn perfect form, but once you have ticked that box its time to move on. Keep your training 3D and functional to prepare your body for all the awkward positions surfing demands.

3. Just Get It Done!

This is a big part of the gym culture and does not help your surfing. Standard gym exercise programs and trainers often insist that you push your limits and grind out your reps – this works great for muscle toning and weight loss. But as surfers we must train for body control, efficiency and grace – like a dancer or martial artist trains. 

Summary – Choose functional and surf specific bodyweight exercises and work on increasing efficiency and grace as well as strength.



Full Body Surf Workout with Surf Mei Mei

Strong Style

Andy, Speed, Power, Flow

You need to be strong to have good style, look at the photos below and try to assume the body positions that these surfers are in and you will soon realize just how strong these athletes are. Take special note of the awkward looking position of the knee and foot of the back leg. If you struggle to assume these postures on dry land then good luck on a wave.

In a way surfing is a lot like dance; we wish to express ourselves through our bodies in a rhythmic and stylish manner in tune with the environment. To allow full and creative self expression requires a strong and supple body – able to assume the desired positions and movements demanded.

If you want to lean back onto your back foot, let the knee fold in and have a relaxed upper body like in the pic below of Alex Knost then you need to develop the strength to do so.

surf squat surf training

AK Style

Take a look at the position of Shane Dorian and Josh Kerr’s back knees (and whole bodies for that matter) in the pic’s below. Those are strong and supple knees! It’s what is needed to stay low and centered on the board. Most of my new clients initially struggle to assume these positions on dry land.
Josh Kerr at high speed

Josh Kerr at high speed

Shane Dorian Fins Out

Shane Dorian Styles

Another example here of backhand tube riding, again look at the back leg, and look how compressed his whole body is to fit inside the wave – a challenging posture to get into at home, let alone attempting in a barrel.
Backhand Barrel

Backhand Barrel

But we all have the opportunity to develop this functional strength and mobility when the surf is flat, giving our bodies more options during our time in the water and allowing your surfing to progress faster. Otherwise you will be stuck in your ‘poo stance’ safe squat position like we see in this pic of the beginner.
Beginner Style

Beginner Style


These positions and movements of the pro surfers are natural and primal – what we used to do as children in the playground. If, like these surfers you started young and have kept surfing then you will have maintained the functional strength and mobility needed to surf with style. If you started a little later in life or have been stuck at a desk for some time then you have probably reverted to surfing in postures that are day-day familiar i.e. the chair shaped position we see in the beginner.

There is a solution, regain your natural range of motion and functional strength by daily, smart and progressive exercise. Start by working your way through the Squatting Series.


Surf Training Course NYC

Image from NYC Watershots

A 3 week (1hr/wk) group training program focusing on developing surf specific;

Strength, mobility and movement patterns.

Summer is coming up fast so its time to get surf fit.

Classes are limited to 10 people so be sure to book your space asap.

Suitable for all levels.


Starts: Mon 2nd June. 7:30pm

2nd class: Mon 9th June. 7:30pm

3rd class: Mon 16th June 7:30pm


Where: Bent Pilates 754 9th Ave (w51st)NY NY 10019


Cost $120 (for all 3 classes)


To book: Call Bent Pilates on 212 246 4556


For more info email:

Squatting: Part 4 – Surf Squats

surf squat surf training

Now we start to get a little surf specific with our squats. Please make sure you can do part 1, part 2 & part 3 before attempting these. If you are new to surfing or have any knee issues, please be very careful with these – limit your range of motion (don’t go low) at first. Remember it is your body, listen to it! This video is just a guide to help you explore & strengthen your bodies capabilities for surfing movements. But as you can see by the pic of Alex Knost, to have style – you need strong knees – a strong Surf Squat.



2 sets of 10 reps each side is a good start.

Squatting: Part 3 – OHWS

Surf Training, squats


The OverHead Wall Squat (OHWS) is a fundamental movement for all athletes. To perform even 1 rep requires optimal ankle, knee, hip, spine and shoulder mobility (in the sagittal plane). And just like the Wall Squat in Part 2, the exercise is easily modified for all. Incremental progressions can be made on a daily basis.

The exercise is the same as the Wall Squats in part 2, but your hands are above your head at shoulder width and elbows stay straight, this exercise will improve your squatting and your paddling.

Once you can do 10 of these move onto Part 4 – Surf Squats.


Do cow’s eat grass?

Surf Nutrition

I am always baffled by peoples reaction to my strictness in regards to nutrition for myself and my family. When I insist on certain guidelines for shopping, or that we dine out at an organic, grass-fed, wild fish, farm to table restaurant and say no to desert, I get all sorts of eye-rolling judgments. When I say “no, Ace can not have the bread” they act as if I am somehow depriving my child’s joy. Yet I see no disappointment in his eyes. I see a happy and healthy child who has never been to the doctor, and is developmentally ahead of all milestones. He has not yet learnt that high calorie food and overeating habits are the main joy of the masses, and it is a lesson that need not be taught.

Food is to fuel our bodies and minds to allow us to experience everything else, and to nourish us, keep us healthy. If desert, cookies and alcohol are the highlight of your day, then you need to take a DEEP look at your life. As surfers, getting the most out of our next surf and recovering quickly for the following is more important than anything else so our needs to reflect that. I pity those who choose to remain ignorant & uneducated in regards to nutrition. But if you do care then read on.

Realize this:

Firstly, if you choose to eat non-organic fruits & vegetables, then you are choosing to eat pesticides and genetically modified foods, (GMO’s). GMO’s are foods that have either been genetically modified to be resistant to HEAVY chemical spays – which in turn, the plant and soil soak up and you end up consuming. Or have the pesticides built in – hence killing the bugs when they eat the plant. The result is sick and toxic plants. No thanks.

White food: Bread, pasta, sugar, milk, rice, cereals, protein powders, energy bars, processed foods etc, are ‘calories’ with NO nutrition they are killing you and are highly addictive.

Cows should eat grass, not genetically modified corn. What happens when cows eat toxin laden corn? They get sick and fat, (obese actually). And to keep them alive, anti-biotics are added to the already toxic feed. The fields that used to be green with grass are now corn crops and the cows are packed indoors or into crowded lots. More cows per acre = more $ for the farmer. You end up with a toxic fatty steak that tastes good and is very affordable, but you are eating a sick cow that spent its life in appalling conditions, forced to eat toxic corn. And you are supporting animal cruelty with your hard earned dollar. (see photo)

And guess what farm raised fish eat? GMO corn, they even inject pink dye into farm raised salmon!

Do you actually think that agricultural technology has improved on God or Mother Nature? A sick, obese and depressed America would prove otherwise.

Next time someone insists on 100% grass-fed beef, organic produce, and wild fish, look up to them, learn from them and raise your own standards.

The father of medicine, Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

For more: Click 10 Nutrition Principles

Performance Surf Training Workshop NYC

Performance Surf Training Workshop
Open to all levels but targeted to EXPERIENCED and ADVANCED surfers.
Learn the best athletic development exercises to increase power, speed and balance for surfers.
Surfers don’t need to be big and strong, we need to be fast powerful and graceful, we are not bodybuilders or contact sport athletes.
All exercises covered are bodyweight and plyometric based & can be done with no equipment.
Come with an open mind, and be prepared for a workout!
When: 7:30pm Tue 6th May
Where: Bent Pilates, 754 9th Ave, NY, NY 10019
Tickets are $35
This workshop is limited to 10 spaces so book your spot NOW by calling:
Bent Pilates 212 246 4556


Dry-Land Surf Lesson Workshop NYC

Surf training and Bent Pilates Present:

Dry-Land Surf Lesson Workshop

Learn the movements of surfing before your lesson.
Build the strength and mobility for fast pop ups and a balanced stance.
Surfing requires specific mobility and strength to be performed successfully, and to progress. Given that the amount of time you spend ‘surfing’ during a surf is minimal (3-5%) it makes sense to work on the movements of surfing before you hit the water and in between surfs.

We teach your body how to surf without the added dymamics of the ocean. So when you get in the water you can focus on having fun without bodily restriction getting in the way.

Designed for beginners and those looking to take thier first lesson this summer.

For more info check out:
or email:

When: 7:30pm Wednesday 9th April.

Where: Bent Pilates, 754 9th ave, NY, NY. 10019.

Tickets are $35.

Spots are limited! First in, First serve.
To book: phone Bent Pilates (212) 246 4556




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