Coordination: A Key Skill for Riding Waves

Surfing requires an impressive level of coordination to balance, maneuver, and navigate ever-changing conditions. Developing coordination is essential for success in the water.

Maintaining Balance

Surfing a wave involves balancing one’s center of mass above a narrow board. Even subtle shifts in weight are amplified, requiring precise control. Developing strong coordination aids balance.

Core and Whole Body Involvement

Surfing activates the core and engages the entire body to shift quickly and stay balanced through dynamic motions.

Timing Wave Moments

Paddling into waves, popping up, and executing maneuvers all require coordinated timing. A surfer must rhythmically integrate physical actions with wave energy.

Putting the Body in Sync with Ocean Forces

Coordination helps surfers merge with the wave’s cyclic power. Good timing is essential for speed and flow.

Navigating a Crowded Break

At busy lineups, coordination helps surfers smoothly share waves while avoiding collisions in the chaotic environment.

Spatial Awareness in a Three-Dimensional Space

Agility serves safety in crowded surf with many boards zipping about.

Executing Maneuvers

Cutbacks, carves and aerial maneuvers need coordination between limbs, core, and balance organs. Tight coordination allows surfers to push their limits.

Continuously Blending Physical Skills

New skills involve integrating coordination further for radical progression.

Paddling Effectively

Powerful, balanced paddling to catch waves amid whitewater demands whole-body coordination.

Conditioning and Cadence

Well-coordinated paddling aids stamina and success rate.

Developing Coordination for Surfing

Deliberate practice with balance exercises, board work, and other drills steadily improves coordination over time.

Yoga, Pilates and Core Work

Boosts proprioception, balance, strength, and ability to integrate movements.

Balance Drills

One-leg balancing, boards tilts, and slacklining increase neuromuscular control.

Play Sports

Tennis, skateboarding or team sports facilitate hand-eye coordination transferable to surfing.

Surf-Specific Drills

Bodyboarding, boogie boarding and balance board practice all directly improve water skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age is best to start surfing?

Most begin between 8-12 as coordination skills are developing quickly through play.

Can adults improve their coordination for surfing?

Yes! Adults can gain coordination through dedicated balance/body awareness training.

Is coordination nature or nurture?

While some are naturally gifted, coordination improves dramatically with practice for most people.


Surfing places demanding coordination requirements on surfers to manipulate a floating board in sync with waves. Dedicated coordination training through land and water exercises serves to buildproficiency over time as surfers develop this crucial skill.

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