Why Does Surfing Make You So Physically and Mentally Tired?


The first time you tried surfing, you might be thinking, why does surfing make you so tired? I also felt the same after learning how to surf during my vacation to a nearby popular surf spot years ago. Surfing makes you so physically and mentally tired since surfing requires energy and effort, and most of us are aware of that. Aside from paddling and keeping yourself balanced on the surfboard, many factors contribute to the physical and mental exhaustion surfers get after a day of surfing.


Why does surfing make you so physically and mentally tired? Controlling balance and breath, physical effort, the effort of trying something new, and getting caught inside the wave makes a surfer physically tired after surfing. Meanwhile, the mental exhaustion you feel after surfing is due to analyzing surfing conditions, fight-or-flight response, and the fear that comes with the sport.


Surfing can be a dangerous sport, so it requires intense physical and mental effort. But in the end, surfing makes you so physically and mentally tired due to the following factors:


Fight or Flight


When the brain distinguished a threat, it sets off an alarm in your body. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up, and you start to breathe faster. It is the “fight-or-flight” response. The goal is to give you more energy and strength to either fight the danger or run away from it.


We strive to catch waves as surfers just before they break, which can be risky. When paddling for a wave, our fight-or-flight instinct occurs just when we feel the wave carry you up. In this situation, we have two options. It’s either to fight and try to spring up to a standing position and risk being wiped out or flight by pulling away from the wave and letting it pass beneath you.


When you are surfing, most often, it is safer to pop up to a standing position. If you take too long to get off the wave, you may end up with a greater wipeout.




Another thing that contributes to the mental and physical exhaustion you might feel after surfing is fear. At some point, you will realize that surfing is all about survival and managing fear. Surfing is a dangerous sport, and therefore, it is essential that you are always aware of the potential risks involved. By keeping your cool and staying focused, you will be able to override any fears that may arise and continue to enjoy the sport for years to come.


Surfing has many risks to scare you, from fear of the unknown to the fear of drowning. Surfer Magazine claims that rip currents, big waves, lightning, sharks, and locals are the most common fears among surfers.


You will be zapping your energy if you are scared and worrying. Surfing requires the development of fear-management skills like that of managing fear.


Breath Control


Surfers are unaware that catching waves’ stress and excitement can affect their breathing and breath control. It is essential to learn to control your breath on the surfboard.


Many beginners report being unable to “catch their breath” since surfers continually dive beneath the sea, wiping out and retaining their breath.


Surfing requires relatively brief periods of intense effort followed by a rest period. Surfers cannot estimate how much time of exertion will last compared to the resting phase because the ocean is uncertain, and there is a constant risk of drowning. If you have the ability to regulate your breathing, it will increase your stamina in the ocean. It will allow you to spend a long time surfing.



Keeping Control of Your Surfboard


Surfing requires surfers to make sure they don’t hit someone, and keeping control of the surfboard will take a lot of energy. Since you’ll keep controlling your surfboard throughout your surfing session, you’ll ask, “Why am I so tired after surfing?”


While duck diving, surfers need to keep control of their surfboards. Surfing alongside a bunch of learners can be dangerous at times. It is because surfboards fly everywhere, which is why most surf stores and schools use foam surfboards.


Getting Caught Inside


When a surfer is caught inside, they are in the space between the beach and breaking waves. Outside is considered safer because it is further away from where the waves break. It’s also a place where surfers can remain on their boards and prepare for waves.


Getting caught inside isn’t always a concern at beginner-friendly surf areas on the Gold Coast with tiny waves. Most newbies begin by chasing already broken waves, commonly known as whitewater. When the conditions are favorable, it doesn’t take much energy to move out of the whitewater.


Surfing at larger waves can be more difficult than surfing at smaller ones, as you will have to paddle and dive to get out of that area. Learn how to increase paddling endurance in surfing to reduce exhaustion after surfing.


Trying Something New


Courage, patience, and a lot of energy are required when you want to try new things. However, never let that stop you from going surfing. I still get butterflies even though I go surfing. Excitement and anticipation can cause you to burn off your energy.


Surfing necessitates extensive planning because you must pack your gear, struggle into a wetsuit, transport surfboards, and then paddle toward the surf break to catch a wave.


Even after all that work, success is not always guaranteed. On the other hand, surfing and pushing your limits is worthwhile since you will sleep better knowing you have attempted to do something new.


Wiping Out


Surfing makes you so physically and mentally tired also due to wiping out. A surfer slips off their surfboard while on a wave is a wipe-out. A surfer may be flung around by the waves and forced underwater, making for an exciting experience.


Typical surfing expressions to describe it include “pounded,” “rag-dolled,” “smashed,” and “over the falls. Wiping out can be one reason surfing is so tiring since it requires a lot of effort. Surfers must hold their breath as they recover their board and paddle away from the crashing waves in a wipeout. Surfers usually experience a wipeout, so learning to relax will save energy and is a crucial skill to learn.


Full Body Workout


A full-body workout like surfing necessitates physical strength, endurance, and flexibility. It is why surfing makes you so physically and mentally tired.


After surfing for the first time, I asked several people the question, “How does surfing make you feel?” Most of them commented on how tired they felt after their surfing experience.


Isn’t that how sports that involve physical effort all feel after the first time doing them? My first time surfing also feels the same. It makes me tired, but It surprises me to feel like doing it again the next day.


If the conditions are difficult, you can’t turn the ocean off, which makes surfing special. If you run out of breath when participating in many other sports, you can slow down or quit, but you might not have an option in the water. You can go back to the beach if you get caught in a rip current, but you need to use all your strength to get to safety.


Mental Workout


Surfing also involves mental effort. Because the ocean is unpredictable, determining the best spot to surf requires time and effort to analyze factors like tide charts, wind predictions, and swell reports.


Due to the ocean’s unpredictability, choosing the best site to surf takes careful consideration of numerous variables, including tide charts, swell reports, and wind forecasts. As surfers strive to position themselves to catch waves once they are in the ocean, they continually calculate and recalculate various potential scenarios.


But, it’s not necessarily a good idea to overthink. The finest piece of advice I’ve ever had is to enjoy surfing to ward off the exhaustion that comes with the sport.


Surfing Can Ease Your Physical and Mental Exhaustion, Too!


It’s true that surfing can be physically and mentally taxing. However, surfing can also make you feel full of energy and relaxed. As mentioned in my previous post about “What happens to your brain when you surf?” surfing is also a form of meditation. It will allow your mind to rest from worries and stress.