Increase your chances of catching a wave during your first surf lesson.

Congrats, aspiring soul surfer! You’ve taken the courageous first–and most important–step in learning how to surf and perhaps conquering your fear of the ocean.

So now what? Simply wait with unbridled anticipation for your lesson and show up the day of, chancing it up to the gods (in this case, Neptune) as to whether or not you’ll feel that sublime sensation of standing up and riding on at least one wave your first lesson?

No, no, no.. sorry to say but I’ve got some homework for you to do before you show up for your first surf lesson…prepare to surf with these surf fitness techniques.

The tips I’m about to share with you will be for your own good. I’m not sure that Algebra homework, or several other subjects for that matter did me any good back in school, but trust me when I say that you will likely thank me for the surfing homework assignment I’m about to give you.

I wish somebody shared with me these suggestions before my first lesson.

Assignment #1: Interval Training

Surfing requires stamina, but instead of going out for a 30-minute jog, keeping your heart rate at a steady rhythm, you’ll be better off getting in surfing shape by doing interval training for as little as 10 minutes. In surfing, especially during your first lesson, you’ll be releasing lots of adrenaline. Your heart will beat–pound is more like it–most likely at 180+ beats per minute, especially as you finish your ride.

But then you’ll sit and wait for the next wave and your heart rate will come down. When you see the next line of swell coming, or when I tell you I’m about to push you into a wave, your heart rate is going to start pumping! So train your heart to go high-intensity for a brief spurt, then rest to let your heart rate come down.

Remember how to jump rope? If so, dust it off and start doing several rounds. Break in slowly. Count to 20, pause, let your heart rate come down a bit. Skip rope next till 30. Rest. Count to 40 and so on. Try to work up to doing 10 rounds of 100 jumps. You’ll get in much better surfing shape in no time.

Assignment #2: Practice the Pop-up Technique

If you really want to maximize your first session and get in much better shape at the same time, practice your pop-up technique. I recommend doing a set of 10 pop-ups then resting (or, to get in better shape, do a round of jump rope). If you can do at least 3 sets every day until your first lesson, there will be a much higher chance that you’ll be able to experience the bliss of wave riding. There are dozens of videos on YouTube for “surf popup” videos but I like this one…