"My buds and I are planning a trip to California to surf this summer. Problem is, I don’t know how. What can I do before then to learn a few things to give me a head start?" — Jim J., Slippery Rock, PA
Actually, there are tons of ways you can train before you even get in the water. Here are four great surf assists to help get you onboard before you go:
1. Bosu Balance Trainer
“You need a lot of balance and side-to-side (transverse) twisting to surf,” says Lua Emilia of Surfset Toronto.
Use a Bosu Balance Trainer, with its 360 degrees of movement, to do pistol squats, lunge holds, and medicine ball twists.
2. Balance Board
The balance board moves along just a single plane—“Not quite the same as being on water!”—but a balance board is still good practice, Emilia says. Get an Indo Board, or go DIY and make your own by checking out mensfitness.com/diybalance.
Riding some surf-friendly skateboards, like the Carveboard Surfstik, uses rotational muscle moves, too, “so if you can rip it on that, you’ll be more ready for the water,” says Emilia.
4. Strength moves
Few first-time surfers realize the arm strength and endurance needed to paddle out to a wave, push up off the board, and land upright, “so pushups, planks, and tuck jumps should be your best friends. Once you can do 30 seconds of each, practice going from flat on the floor up to a plank, then getting one foot up between your hands and coming quickly to a wide-legged stance. When you’ve got that, practice jumping from a plank to a surf stance."