Photo: Gershon Borlai

The Inertia

We’re all paddlers. It’s what we do to move around in the lineup and to get into waves. It’s an integral part of our surfing performance that deserves as much focus and attention given to improvement as anything else we do with a surfboard. It’s why I’ve devoted an entire series of posts on this site to improving your paddling performance from home. Most of you still likely surf the web instead of the waves, though. This is my plea to shake you up and make you more fit for that next surf session.

First, avoid those noodle arms that come too soon and cut your sessions short. This paddle-enhancing exercise is deceptively simple yet surprisingly powerful.

Do hyperextensions with a book/ball below your chest, arms pointing backward or forward for 60-second sets (do them every day once, for the next three days to start improving).


The above drill is designed to get your back properly arched and your shoulders in the right position for your best paddling. Just remember to thank me the next time you surf and find yourself in the water for a surprisingly long time.

To help track your progress, I created a simple cheat sheet to help master this. It includes this drill and four others that will build your foundation and endurance for paddling.

Do the drill in this sequence:
-Lie on your stomach.
-Raise your chest, legs, and arms from the ground.
-Squeeze your glutes and the lower part of your back and raise up your upper body.
-Put a book, or tennis ball below your chest.
-Hold your arms (V shape) next to your hips or (W shape) next to your ears.

Making sure you drill this the right way:
-Pay attention to the arch in your back and your chest that does not touch the books/ball. This is the correct form.
-Keep your elbows as high as you can. Pull back your shoulders.
-If you find the drill too easy to do, you can straighten your arms to the side.

Typical mistakes:
-Your palms are not allowed to touch the ground.
-If your chest touches the book/ball, you do not have enough arch in your back

If you find this too difficult, go back to the previous exercise here.

Make sure you practice this and let me know if this helped you, or what you want me to cover next by emailing me at



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