How Many Calories Does Surfing Burn? Facts!

Surfing is a fun water sport practised by many people living around coastal areas. It is potentially one of the oldest sports on earth (dating back to over 5000 years ago) and one of the most complex sports to master. To surf, one requires a surfboard, a body of water with a decent set of waves and good balancing ability- most of which takes several months to master!

The best thing about surfing is that it is not only highly enjoyable but also burns many calories. Regular surfing defines the muscles, burns excess fat and helps you stay fit without going to a gym. 

Provided you maintain the activity, surfing could give you a beautiful swimmer-like frame that most of us dream about. Want to learn more about surfing and its benefits on your body? Read on to find out!

How Many Calories Can I Expect to Burn with Surfing?

A surfing session burns about 300 – 800 calories depending on the surf condition. The caloric loss from surfing depends on the amount of paddling, duck-diving and the number of waves a surfer rides.  

The number of calories burnt during a surfing session depends on several factors. If you keep these factors in mind, you’ll be able to get a better estimate of the calories burnt:

  1. The Type of Session
  • Small waves

In light surfing conditions, the wave count is low, so most of the burn will occur due to paddling. Seldom paddling needs a considerable amount of body power, so roughly, this will burn about 300 calories for an average 180-pound person.

  • Good waves

Good waves are considered to be about 1-3m tall. Provided there’s a decent number of people surfing in the area, and you catch a moderate number of waves. You’d likely be burning 400 to 500 calories per hour. 

  • Rough waves

Some surfers enjoy surfing in conditions in which you just can’t seem to rest between the sets. They fancy tossing on epic waves that give you no time to rest- and obviously, they’re not for beginners by any means. 

That being said, surfing these waves burns a drastic 700 to 800 calories.

  1. Your body weight 

Your body weight also affects how many calories you’ll burn from a surfing session. Simply put, if you’re on the heavier end of the scale, you’ll lose more calories than someone leaner.

Besides body weight, factors like genetics, gender and age also play a prominent role in how many calories you burn while surfing. Still, since we’re only discussing the things in your control, we’ll eliminate that.

  1. Your Diet 

A surf session is guaranteed to increase your appetite. Since your body loses so much of its energy in helping you perform those stunts, it is only fair for it to demand the energy back.

Now, if you compensate for the lost calories by snacking on burgers and pizzas, you won’t lose a lot of calories. Whereas if you take care of your diet and drink enough water, you’ll burn an average of 300 to 500 calories every surf session. 

How Does Surfing Burn Calories?

A lot of the moves done in surfing resemble a typical gym workout. Most of the acts performed fall under the category of hardcore cardiovascular exercise, while some fit under strength training too. Surfing serves a whole body workout in one session and burns many calories. Here’s how:-

  • Surfers lay prone on the board and paddle to reach the line-up. This alone strengthens and works the muscles in the arms and back, which accounts for a decent calorie burn.
  • Next, when the right wave approaches, surfers have to correct their positions and attempt to stabilize themselves on the board. Pushing themselves up on the board and finding the correct balance requires much upper and lower limb work and coordination. Moreover, tossing yourself up in time requires a lot of strength! 
  • Lastly, surfing requires fast movements, maneuvers and a steady grip. As the surfer cuts through the wave, they must attempt to keep still and perform the moves while keeping their feet latched. This requires a lot of physical exertion. 

All these activities, combined with the shortened time of attempts, are the perfect recipe for effective fat-blasting. If you’re a beginner surfer, you may even be exhausted after just one wave!

How Can I Boost Calorie Loss When Surfing?

If you’re looking to lose more calories by surfing, fret not. It’s easy and fast provided you follow these tips.

  1. Eat Healthier 

For greater caloric burn, consume a rich diet that covers all parts of the food pyramid. Keep your protein intake high by eating more eggs and chicken. Reduce the carbs and fat by cutting out sodas, doughnuts and cakes. 

Eating a healthy nutritious diet will boost your metabolism which will help you lose more calories. A good pre-surfing meal will also help you perform better on the waves.

  1. Combine Cardio with Surfing

When you begin to learn surfing, you’ll probably undergo days and weeks of practice attempts before finally claiming a wave. While that’ll surely help you lose the calories initially, your body might get used to it over time and burn less as time goes on.

Something that’ll give you an edge is combining surfing with a cardio session. After surfing, consider 30-minute jogs or an hour of brisk walking twice a week and watch how quickly your body responds.

  1. Consistency 

Like with any weight loss regime, consistency is important to achieve results. Hence, attempt to surf regularly and not just when the waves are favourable. 

With time you’ll notice that your body has become stronger and more muscular; this will help you keep up the progress.

Bottom Line 

The number of calories burned by surfing is variable but generally much more in quantity than the calories burnt at the gym. This is because surfing requires more exertion and effort unit time than standard working out does. 

A surf session offers a full-body workout instead of certain spots. Plus, you could always ramp up the burn by tweaking your diet and frequency of surfing. People are also likely to stick to surfing because it’s fun and a great way to keep cool in the summers. 



My name is James, the person behind With 15 years of experience in surfing, I am excited to help you on the journey to becoming a competent surfer.

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