Pro surfer Ryan Callinan of Newcastle is one of the top 10 surfers in the World Surf League’s 2021 Championship Tour. With preparations for the upcoming WSL tour in full swing, Callinan has focused his out-of-ocean preparations on sleep quality and general recovery, saying that he is happy where he is physically and mentally, but feels that good sleep and recovery are great ways to fine-tune these areas. He credits his diet of fresh and colorful food, as well as meditation and mindfulness routines, plus surfing in the water as part of his overall healthy lifestyle as important parts of his preparation for competition.

There’s a big difference between sleeping and getting high-quality sleep, which is known to improve recovery and supplement diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices. Looking towards Callinan’s lifestyle is a great place for a surfing newbie to begin their training, but what other tips can beginner surfers learn from the pros.

Practice The Pop-Up

The pop-up may be easy to do on land. After all, the board is balanced on a flat surface. But the pop-up is actually the hardest thing to do for beginners who’ve never tried surfing before. And for those who have, many have come to realize that it’s the most challenging part of learning to surf for the first time. Practising a pop-up is not just about learning how to stand while surfing waves: it also helps build arm muscles and boosts agility. Surfing on unpredictable waves means a surfer must be able to maneuver the board in different ways and directions in response to the movement of the water.

Practice On A Skateboard

It might seem like an unlikely choice, but some of the top surfers in history have practiced on a skateboard, and many are also renowned for their skating abilities. John John Florence from Hawaii, for example, is known for his skating skills, and the USA’s Kelly Slater was involved in a long debate over surfing moves that mirrored skating moves. Skateboarding can have a similar feel to a surfboard as it involves balance and muscle ability. It also helps to strengthen the stabilizer muscles of the body, which are needed in order to be a strong surfer. Skating also helps develop knee strength, and builds the ability to maneuver the board in different directions.

Paddling In A Pool

Paddling is one of the basic skills a beginner must learn for surfing. Paddling is the ability to bring the board to break spots, as well as move it fast as the wave breaks just before popping up. While in a pool, the conditions are much more controlled, but practicing paddling skills does help build muscles on the arms, as well as improve stamina, which is needed to get out of strong rip currents in the water.

Watch Videos Of The Top Surfers Of All Time

Watching videos of the top surfers of all time provides a good understanding of proper surfing techniques. Beginners can watch the proper ways to pop up, where the feet are placed on the board, and apply these tricks on the water. Reading surf magazines and websites can also help beginners learn about the safety tips for surfers, as it can be a dangerous sport when people are not properly trained or informed.

While Callinan may be a professional surfer with mastered techniques to compete and prevent injury in the water, beginners can start with simple skills and methods to make sure a successful and enjoyable surf session is experienced each and every time. Every pro surfer started somewhere, and while mastering the basics may be frustrating, you can guarantee they all went through it at some point.

By Jess Walter

Have the latest Episodes and Articles on Sports Injury Management, Fitness and Nutrition sent direct to your inbox.


Click here for full podcast playlist.