Top Tips for Pre Surfing Rituals

Top tips from Women + Waves lead coach Courtenay for pre-surfing rituals.

Whether you’re gearing up for an epic surfing trip with Women + Waves or heading out for an independent surf session, proper preparation is key to enjoying your time in the waves. Our expert lead surf coach, Courtenay, shares her top tips for pre-surf rituals, honed during her time coaching on our amazing surf camps in El Salvador, Bali and Costa Rica. Follow these recommendations to maximise fun and stay safe in the surf.

Top Tips:


Taking care of your skin is one of the most important parts of surfing. If you want to stay out on those waves for as long as possible without getting burnt or getting sunstroke, you should be taking care of your skin just as you take care of your equipment. We recommend applying sunscreen (minimum Factor 30) at least an hour before you go into the water. This means the sunscreen won’t wash off as soon as you get into the surf. Once you’re at the beach you can apply zinc sunblock. Zinc is an extra protection surfers use to avoid the UV rays of the sun when they bounce off the water. You can buy all natural, organic surfing zinc that will protect you from the sun’s rays, especially when you’re surfing in hotter climates. If you’re coming with us on one of our surfing holidays – we highly recommend purchasing a high factor, water resistant sun cream as well as surfing zinc sunblock. Our top tip is to put the suncream on at your accommodation and then wash your hands thoroughly so that they aren’t slippy when you hit the surf. Remember to cover your ears, the backs of your legs and the lumbar panel of your back as this is where your rash vest will ride up when you are paddling, which is where most surfers then get sunburned. 


Check your Equipment

Depending on where you’re going to surf you’ll have different equipment requirements. Check ahead to make sure you’ve got the right board, water wear, leash and wax for the job. If you’re travelling to the surf break, you probably want to remove the leash from your board for the journey and potentially use a board bag, depending on how far you’re going. The last thing you want is to rock up at your surf break for the day when the waves are pumping, only to find your board has been damaged and have to head all the way back home. Follow our ding repair advice if you do need to repair your surfboard quickly.


Check the Waves

Check out your surf spot before you get in the water. Checking ocean conditions before you surf is important, not only for finding the best spot to surf but also for paddling out and of course for your safety. Even if you’re a local and you know the break, check the surf forecast ahead of time. Once you’re at the beach take 20 minutes to survey the surf before you go in. Note any potential hazards or dangers that might impact you or the people you’re surfing with. Keep an eye on the tide and know what the tide is doing as you’re surfing, checking for exits (how to return to shore) for when the tide changes. It’s no fun having an awesome surf and then getting cut off at high tide! On our surf trips our instructor team will take you to some of the best breaks available, and they will take time before your surf to assess the surf conditions to make sure you’re in the right place for your surfing ability. But, it’s good to try and assess the conditions yourself as well, the instructor team want you to build this knowledge base for yourself so that when you come to surf independently you’ll feel confident you’re in the right place. 

Nusa Lembongan

Stretch before you surf 

Dynamic stretching is best before engaging in any sports. It warms up the muscles, increases flexibility in your spine and opens up your chest and shoulders – all areas that are going to ache after a few hours on the waves! Cold muscles are more prone to injury – so no matter how excited you are to see the waves, take at least 10-15 minutes to get moving on the beach, warm up and stretch out your legs, arms, back, shoulders and neck. A cardio warm up alongside dynamic stretches will increase your heart rate and get that blood pumping around your system – giving a whole new meaning to being pumped for surfing! Our top tip is to combine your warm up with your surf check. You can do both at once, just keep an eye on the conditions when you are working through your stretching routine. 



Take a moment to yourself before hitting the waves. Whether that’s conscious breathing, doing a short meditation or just watching the waves, taking some time out can calm the mind. A calm, rational mind creates a better mental space for your surfing experience. Controlling your breath can reduce stress and anxiety if you’re feeling a little nervous about paddling out. Taking the time to get yourself into the right mental zone is invaluable for making the most of your surfing experience. If nothing else, think about breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, being present and in the moment. This will help to build your preparation.

Costa Rica


Surfing is a very intensive physical activity. But, unlike most sports, you’re unlikely to have your water bottle with you while you surf! Ensure you’ve drunk plenty of fluids before heading out into the waves, and take breaks to hydrate if you’re staying out for a long time, especially in hotter climates. Out on the water surfers are open to all the elements, the sun, the salt water, the quick-fire exertion of catching a wave. Surfing is unique as a sport, when you’re out in the ocean you may not even feel like you’re sweating, but trust us when we say you are. Staying hydrated before and after surfing will make you feel better, stop you from getting exhausted, keep sunstroke at bay and boost your endurance so you can surf for longer. Surfing is so much fun and also fueled by adrenaline that it’s hard to recognise when you are thirsty. Make a plan for yourself to have water breaks, catch a wave in, take a break and rehydrate. Ultimately you’ll then be able to surf longer! 


Get Fueled

Just as your body needs water, it also needs fuel. A high protein, high energy meal before you surf will stock up your body with the energy you need. Maintaining a well-balanced diet of fresh fruit and veg, wholegrains, nuts, legumes, lean meat, fish, tofu or other high protein vegetarian or vegan alternatives, will keep you in good stead for when you come to surfing. Before you surf a good high-protein breakfast can set you up with the fuel you need to for an epic surf session. That can be yoghurt, grains and fruit, avocado and eggs, or some overnight oats with berries. Great snacks are protein bars, peanut butter, bananas, nuts and dried fruit. A well-fueled surf session means higher quality surf with more energy to catch waves for longer. Many of our surf camps come with a delicious healthy breakfast buffet included so you’ll never be surfing with us on an empty stomach!


Gear Up 

Before you hit the beach check over all your gear to ensure it’s in good condition and is appropriate for the waves and the climate you’re surfing in. Your equipment goes beyond just your board – although that’s a pretty important part of your surfing inventory. Consider everything from your wetsuit to your wax. Turning up to surf off the Cornish coast in February in a shorty wetsuit is going to ruin anyone’s day, so be sure you’ve checked the conditions and you’re wearing the right gear. If you’re unsure about what wetsuit is right for you, Women + Waves have a handy guide to help you find the perfect fit. Our top tip is to create kit lists. Have a cold water surf trip list, and a warm water destination list and then remember to check on things that need topping up. These include sunscreen, wax, snacks and other essentials. Little things like a hanger to put your wetsuit on after a chilly surf (so that it drys out before your next surf), or tropical temperature wax for your trip to Bali will make such a huge difference to your experience. Lists are the way forward, why not keep them in the notes on your phone? 

Whether you’re surfing with us in the balmy Caribbean waters on our Barbados Trip, or hitting up Devon’s finest Waves on our Croyde weekenders, our experienced coaches will make sure you’ve got the right gear sorted. 

Now you’re ready to hit the waves! Apply these top tips every time you go surfing and they’ll become ingrained habits in no time. Whether you’re a lifelong surfer looking for surfing buddies and some killer waves, or you’re brand new to the sport, it’s never too late to start building good habits to keep you surfing better for longer. Ready to embark on your first or your next surfing journey? Become a part of our female surfing community by joining us on one of our amazing international surfing camps

Just as important as pre-surf rituals are your post-surf rituals, so here’s a quick rundown of the five best things to do after a surf:

Post Surfing Rituals:


1. Stretch 

A post-surf stretch is an absolute must. Just as you dynamically warm up your body and muscles before surfing, you also have to take care of them afterwards. Take a look at our surfing mobility exercises for some great stretches that will help your flexibility and mobility while surfing. Or take a yoga class, many of our surfing camps include yoga and surf-inspired stretch sessions for the perfect way to end a surfing day. 

2. Refuel 

Your body has just done a serious workout and your muscles may feel like mush. Now is the time to get that protein in and regain your strength by getting some food in you! Here at Women + Waves, we’ve experienced the hanger that follows a serious surf session first hand, so many of our international surfing camps come with healthy, protein-filled breakfasts and dinners included, so you don’t have to worry about getting the nutrients you need.  

3. Hydrate 

Start drinking water as soon as you get out of the ocean. Your body will have lost a lot of water during your surf session, so it’s really important to top it back up and get hydrated. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, get guzzling. 

4. Get Warm or Cool

Whether you’re surfing on the white sandy beaches of Barbados, or on the rugged shoreline of Cornwall, once you get out of the ocean it’s likely your body temperature will drop. Try and change out of your wetsuit if you’re wearing one, and have dry clothes to change into nearby. If you’re surfing in a cold climate, having a thermos to hand as a steamy hot drink will go down a treat and get your temperature back up. If you’ve been getting baked in the tropics, it’s time to get in the shade. Returning to your room, a restaurant or somewhere with a cool fan or air conditioning will bring your body temperature down and aid with recovery. 

5. Sleep 

The ultimate resting tool – sleep is exactly what you need after a full day’s surfing. Sleeping between 7-9 hours a night will help you regain your strength, and energy and give your body the time it needs to recover so you can get back at it the next day! Rest may feel like you’re missing out but a well-rested surfer will be more alert, be able to surf higher-quality waves for longer and have more fun, which is after all the ultimate surfing goal.

Are you ready to join us for your next surfing adventure? Check out our Bali surf camp to Nusa Lembongan today and you can create your very own surf rituals under the watchful eye of our expert lead coach Courtenay. 

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