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Exercises to Improve Surfing Balance

Darrach Bourke

Darrach Bourke serves as a financial advisor for Emerson Equity, a California-based broker-dealer and registered investment advisor. When he’s not busy with his professional responsibilities, Darrach Bourke is an avid surfer and has been surfing big waves regularly for more than a decade.

Balance is extremely important for surfing and, fortunately, surfers can improve their balance in a variety of ways. Below are a few exercises for bettering balance:

- Pistol squat: this exercise isolates one side of the body and promotes even strength on both the right and left side. The pistol squat is performed in a similar manner to a regular squat, but instead of balancing on two feet, surfers balance on one foot. From a standing position, surfers place their body weight on one heel and slowly lower the body. As the body lowers, the hips move back and the arms and unused leg move forward to maintain balance.
- Single leg balance: a fairly straightforward exercise, the single leg balance requires surfers to stand on one leg while lifting their opposite leg slightly upwards and forwards. During this exercise, the hips should be kept even and the spine must be straight. Surfers can perform this exercise with their eyes open and focus on a single spot in front of them. For added challenge, they can try the single leg balance with their eyes shut or while standing on a pillow.
- Slack line/rail balance: balancing on a slack line or handrail can be awkward at first, but it is a great way to improve the body’s overall balance. Both types of exercise strengthen the core and body muscles needed for maintaining balance. However, using a slack line also develops the vestibular system, a part of the inner ear that regulates control and balance.

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