Surf your way into shape!

California’s immaculate coast line, lends itself to many things, one of those being surfing. Regardless if it’s northern or southern California, Californians enjoy indulging in the sport.

A local surfer paddle’s out by the Pismo Beach Pier.

Surfing is a hobby for many people; however there are also health benefits associated with it as well. It can be used as a rehabilitation source for those wounded, as well as a daily cardiovascular exercise. Surfing’s unique because that it utilizes the entire body.

Avid surfer and Cal Poly student Rachelle Beaudoin describes the benefits of surfing for both health and pleasure.

“It’s a great way to work out every muscle. Not to mention it’s about being connected and experiencing the water and your body on a new level. There’s nothing that feels or compares to surfing,” Beaudoin.

Two local boys attempt to surf in Pismo Beach.

Vicki Richardson who works at Ampsurf highlighted the benefits surfing has for disabled veterans. “People feel stronger, more empowered and overall feel like they can do anything,” Richardson.

Surfing is an outlet for disabled veterans because it not only allows them to conquer something they might not have thought was possible, but it also allows them to get out of the house.

Surfing can be therapeutic; hence surf companies such as Ampsurf specialize in amputees, and disabilities through their adaptive surfing. Ampsurf has specialized instructors who understand the specialized needs that someone with a disability might face when attempting to surf. The specialized instruction allows for better success in surfing, further empowering the person.

There are many surf spots that line the central coast. Each spot has varying conditions which allow almost anyone to find the right fit for them. Rachelle mirrored that thought stating, “Surfing is great because anyone can do it regardless of age or body type and it’s still a great workout,” Beaudoin.

Ampsurf uses primarily Pismo Beach for lessons. “We use the south side of the Pismo Beach pier for Ampsurf because the waves are more calm and easier,” Richardson.

Other local surfing spots include but are not limited to, Morro Bay, Shell Beach and Vandenberg.

Hayden Costell, a Cal Poly alumnus is also an avid Morro Bay surfer. “Morro Bay is unique because there are some great tubes when the weather is right, not many places are like that,” Costell.

Vandenberg is an Air Force Base located on the central coast near Santa Maria. Ampsurf utilizes the area for sometimes for surfing; however it is not preferred because it lacks the same calm that Pismo Beach has.

For anyone who is debating learning how to surf, there are numerous surf shops which offer lessons along the central coast.

Surfing’s benefits for the disabled as well as veterans are seemingly extensive as discussed previously. There are also however numerous benefits health-wise for anyone debating to start surfing.

Surfing requires many muscles, the most obvious being numerous arm muscles. Paddling requires bicep and triceps muscles. Battling the incoming surf when paddling out will help to build these muscles more extensively.

Another key component in surfing is waiting. Any surfer will tell you that waiting for the “right wave” is essential. Surfing requires a strong core when waiting for the “perfect wave.” Straddling a board for long periods of time can be strenuous and therefore the more core muscle attained to assist in balance will be highly beneficial.

Several surfers patiently awaiting the “perfect wave.”

Lastly, overall physical health is improved via surfing due to the sheer amount of energy exerted throughout the entire process of paddling out, waiting for a wave and lastly catching a wave.

Surfing is a overall body workout, however it strongly is centered on cardiovascular exercise because a surfer’s stamina and energy level is built upon being physically fit.

Finding outlets in which exercise is seen less as exercise and more as a hobby are key.

Hunter Maul, a Cal Poly alumnus describes what surfing means to him. “I love surfing because it’s the definition of living in the present! It’s healthy, relaxing, exciting, and natural all at once,” Maul.

A person is more willing to spend time doing what they love rather than doing something obligatory. Therefore, surfing is a seemingly great alternative to hours of cardiovascular exercise and strength training in the gym when living in California.

Below is a map of local surf shops in the greater San Luis Obispo area. Most of the stores sell surfboards, and other surfing essentials such as wet-suits.

“Life is alot like surfing…When you get caught in the impact zone, you’ve got to just get back up. Because you never know what may be over the next wave.” – Bethany Hamilton, Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board


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