Strong Style

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.


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