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May 21, 2021 4 min read

Learn How To Breathe Like A Pro - Surf Pro Tips

Breathing techniques are well known in the sports world and are an integral part of mental preparation. However, surfers and other athletes still too often put mental preparation aside and do not know how to breathe properly. The advantage of breathing is that whether you are a great surfer or a passionate amateur, these techniques can play an important role in your surf sessions!


> Why learn to master your breathing to improve your surf?

Breathing techniques have a significant advantage: the positive impact is explained physiologically. Breathing is a natural process that will act very effectively on our states. Breathing techniques are linked to the control of our emotions, our energies, our concentration etc. Many mental parameters!

They will act mainly on :

  • Stress management through specific techniques

The management of our energies, i.e. our muscular tensions for example. Learning to relax and to find a total muscular and mental availability.

This is the preliminary base before any exercise of mental preparation: mental imagery, relaxation, preparation to the realization of an action etc.

It is important to note that while some techniques require a lot of training, others are very easy to learn. With a little regular practice we can quickly learn to integrate these breathing techniques into our daily life and during our surf sessions until they become automatic. Let's go and practice now!

  • Abdominal breathing:

The most known breathing and certainly among the most effective. Its natural action is very powerful. It is a mandatory prerequisite for any mental preparation! Human beings automatically use a so-called high breathing (from the thorax).  This poses a problem: when we are tired or in a stressful situation, for example, we will accentuate this high breathing which will have negative effects such as Increase of stress, Increased heart rate and breathing.

These effects have of course a direct impact on our energies, our fatigue, our muscular tensions, our stress etc.

  • Abdominal breathing is low breathing: 

The principle is quite simple : 

1) Close your eyes and breathe as slowly as possible in a deep way.

2) Do slow and regular breathing cycles (for example 3 times 5 breaths). To do low breathing, simply breathe through the belly, inflating and deflating the belly. You can put your hands on your belly at the beginning to feel the "wave" that your belly will make when you breathe in and out.

3) Once the first cycle is over, feel the benefits of this moment. You can even note them and give them a value on a scale from 1 to 5.

4) Then start again. The important thing is to find the most regenerative effects and to focus on them.

At the beginning you have to force yourself to do it 5 to 10 times a day. Then gradually increase the dose until it becomes automatic. As soon as you feel the need, a breath will be triggered without even thinking about it.

This breathing is soothing and therefore very powerful as we explained just before.

If you are trained, it will allow you to :

  • Relax your muscles, pains or tensions during your sessions or just before.
  • To find a muscular availability allowing to surf more slackened.
  • Gain in amplitude and efficiency in your maneuvers.
  • Control a possible stress in a particular session.
  • Recover some energy during a moment of fatigue.
  • Take a breath and refocus on the action when you are less focused on your surfing.

Yes, that much! Breathing can be an incredible asset in your surf sessions. Once you learn to master this technique the impact goes beyond the technical aspect of surfing. Indeed it will have a relaxing effect on our life, our state. These are free moments of happiness, of well-being acting on our daily life. Feeling better is above all about breathing and there is no risk for your health. So as 360°surf says: Breathe, smile, surf!

Some other techniques to go further

Of course there are many other techniques based on breathing:

Relaxation breathing

The objective of this breathing is to act directly on muscular tensions and to find in a very fast way a total availability. It is often used when tensions slow down muscular and technical performance. The principle of learning this technique is based on contraction followed by a deep total relaxation using deep breathing. As the training progresses, we find ourselves capable of making this release as soon as we feel a contraction/tension in a part of our body. It will have an immediate and powerful effect, releasing tension. It is very important to master this technique which often allows us to avoid that our tensions come to influence negatively our tiredness then little by little our emotions.

Exhalation breathing

Typical method of the Target method. It consists in taking a deep and long breath before releasing very strongly and very quickly during the expiration by making a noise with the mouth.

Our emotions and stress

Breathing is one of the most essential techniques in the management of emotions and stress. For example, many mental imagery and relaxation techniques are based on breathing. It often allows us to enter into the exercise and to act on our states of stress and anxiety in order to regain calm and mental availability to make the right decisions and therefore to have an optimal level of performance.

One of the techniques increasingly used in high-level sports is that of cardiac coherence. It is a particular breathing technique that allows you to manage your stress, your emotions and your concentration. If it is very powerful, its advantage lies in the fact that you can see the results live through a software program. Learning this technique allows you to find your cardiac coherence. Many therapists use it more and more in the treatment of certain problems such as phobias. It can be a very powerful tool that can make a difference in surfing but also in daily well-being.


Would you like to help preserve the ocean?

It is important to support eco-friendly surf brands like Salters. You will find a range of clothing made of 100% organic cotton and know that 10% of your order is donated to NGOs that fight to save our oceans from the pollution we know today! It is never too late to act!

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