Cramps in surfing: learn to protect your muscles

Cramps in surfing are very common, especially in cold waters. Flexibility, hydration and adequate nutrition can strongly reduce the chances of getting calf cramps while surfing waves. The human body has 320 pairs of muscles.


Cramps can destroy the perfect surf session. When you're perfectly ready to enjoy great waves, cramping comes without notice. Actually, there are many variables for this annoying and painful discomfort and you can almost end up with the cramps nightmare forever.

Surf cramps are rapid muscle contractions that can be caused by hyperflexion, lack of oxygen, drastic changes in body temperature, metabolic disturbances, dehydration, low blood salt, gastroenteritis and even menstruation.

Drinking fresh water is the first step to reduce cramps in surfing. If your body has enough sodium and potassium. Bananas, melons and apricots will boost you potassium levels, as well as unsalted nuts. A simple salted cookie will keep the sodium levels higher.

Nutrition is not enough, though. Regular physical exercise is very important, too. If you're a regular surfer - one or two sessions per week - it's important to warm-up before hitting the water and, if possible, when you wake up every morning. Ten minutes, every day, will get your body muscles ready for higher demands.

Major muscles of the human body: calf cramps and foot cramps are common in surfing

That is why flexibility ensures you'll not be suffering from cramps while surfing. Before hitting cold waters, stretch your body muscles and complete a few pre-surf exercises. After surfing, stretch your muscles so that they relax and get back to non-sporting positions. Drink water to replace electrolytes lost in surfing.

What are the main muscle areas affected by cramps? Legs, arms, feet and back muscles. Surfers usually refer calf muscle cramps and foot cramps as the most common and painful types of cramps.

If you suffer an uncomfortable cramp in extreme surfing conditions, try to stay calm and stretch your muscle, as much as you can. Call for help or try to paddle towards the beach with the help of waves or white water.

A good massage, icing affected muscles and contraction of the muscle on the opposite side of the muscle cramping will solve your problem quite quickly.