Surfing isn’t just about catching epic waves and riding the tide of adventure; it’s also a fantastic workout that can leave you feeling like a shredded beach god (or goddess). But just how many calories does this salty sport actually burn? Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a newbie waxing up your first board, you’re in for a wave of calorie-burning knowledge. Let’s ride the information wave and find out!

Calories and Surfing: A Dynamic Duo

Surfing isn’t just a leisurely float in the ocean; it’s an adrenaline-pumping, full-body workout. Whether you’re paddling out, popping up, or carving up the face of a wave, every aspect of this sport engages your muscles and torches calories. But how many, you ask? Let’s dive into the numbers.

The Calorie-Burning Basics

Before we get into the specifics, let’s understand some calorie-burning basics. The number of calories you burn during any physical activity depends on several factors:

  1. Intensity: How hard are you working? In surfing, this relates to the size and power of the waves you’re riding.
  2. Duration: How long are you at it? Surfing sessions can range from a quick 30-minute session to an all-day affair.
  3. Your Weight: Heavier folks tend to burn more calories because it takes more energy to move a larger body.
  4. Fitness Level: Experienced surfers may burn fewer calories because their bodies have adapted to the demands of the sport.

Now, let’s break down the calorie-burning potential of different aspects of surfing.

Paddling Out: The Warm-Up

Paddling out to the lineup is the equivalent of your warm-up in the gym. It’s your chance to stretch those shoulders, engage your core, and build anticipation for the waves ahead. Paddling burns calories at a steady rate, roughly 200-400 calories per hour, depending on your intensity. So, the longer and harder you paddle, the more calories you’ll sizzle away.

Pop-Up Time: The Real Burner

The real calorie-burning magic happens when you catch a wave and pop up on your board. This explosive movement engages your chest, arms, and core muscles like nothing else. It’s like a full-body burpee with a tropical twist! On average, a 30-minute surf session that includes multiple pop-ups can burn around 150-300 calories for someone weighing around 155 pounds.

Riding the Wave: High-Octane Fun

Once you’re up and riding the wave, you’re in for an exhilarating ride, and your calorie burn is still in full swing. The exact number of calories you’ll burn while riding a wave varies greatly based on factors like wave size, your skill level, and your wave selection. However, a 30-minute surf session can easily burn 150-300 calories or more.

The Wave-Waiting Game: Stealthy Burn

Don’t discount the calorie-burning potential of simply waiting for the perfect wave. Balancing on your board, scanning the horizon for sets, and staying afloat all require effort and energy. During a mellow surf session with lots of downtime, you can still torch around 150-200 calories per hour.

The Beach Breakdown: Calorie-Torching Extras

Surfing isn’t just about what happens in the water. The beachside lifestyle adds to the calorie-burning fun. Waxing up your board, carrying it to the beach, and strolling along the shore all contribute to your overall energy expenditure. Even the post-surf snack (you’ve earned it) requires some extra calories to digest. It’s all part of the surfing experience!

Wave Size Matters

When it comes to calorie burn, wave size is a game-changer. Bigger waves demand more effort to paddle out and catch, resulting in a higher calorie burn. If you’re surfing epic, overhead sets, you can expect to burn more calories than during a mellow day of waist-high waves. Plus, the adrenaline rush from tackling big waves can amp up your calorie burn even more.

The Beach Body Benefits

So, what’s the bottom line? Surfing can burn anywhere from 150 to 400 calories per hour, depending on factors like wave size, your skill level, and your effort. It’s a dynamic workout that engages your entire body, from your shoulders and arms to your core and legs. Plus, the mental benefits of being out in the ocean, connecting with nature, and mastering the waves are priceless.

Fitness and Surfing: A Perfect Pair

Surfing isn’t just about burning calories; it’s also an excellent way to improve your overall fitness. Here are some fitness benefits that come with catching waves:

  1. Strength: Paddling and popping up build upper body strength, while riding the waves engages your core and lower body muscles.
  2. Endurance: Surfing sessions can be long, and staying on your board requires stamina and cardiovascular endurance.
  3. Balance and Coordination: The constant adjustments needed for balance and coordination on a moving board enhance your proprioception and fine-tune your motor skills.
  4. Mental Health: Surfing is a natural stress reliever. The combination of being in the ocean, the physical activity, and the focus required to catch waves can do wonders for your mental well-being.


Surfing isn’t just a sport; it’s a lifestyle, a passion, and a calorie-burning extravaganza! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting to paddle out, you’re in for a calorie-burning adventure like no other. With the potential to torch anywhere from 150 to 400 calories per hour, surfing offers both physical and mental benefits that make it a fantastic way to stay fit and have a blast while you’re at it.

So, next time you’re at the beach, don’t forget your board because the waves are calling, and they’re ready to help you burn those calories and ride the surf of your life!

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