Burning calories does not always have to feel like an effort. Find out what surfing can do in this area and how to see more results.
A rough estimation is that the average person burns around 177 to 305 calories per hour of surfing.
Where you will be in this range depends a lot on your body weight.
For example, the 177 calories are the estimation for a 125-pound (56 kg) person surfing for an hour. On the other end, the 305 calories are for a 215-pound (97 kg) person.
That aside, it is worth mentioning that all these amounts are not that high compared to many other workouts.
At the same time, one of the benefits of surfing is that it is an enjoyable way to move more.
You can see the calorie-burning effects as more of a positive side effect of a fun hobby and implement other (short) workouts to really get a lot of results.
I will also go over a table with more in-depth estimations for different body weights and time intervals, calories burned with different types and intensities of surfing, and how to get more results.
Biggest factors in calories burned with surfing
Unfortunately, it is hard to predict how many calories you burn with something like surfing. This can make fitness goals like losing weight feel confusing.
At the same time, it is still possible to make your estimations somewhat more accurate. There are a few details that will influence the number of calories burned while surfing a relatively high amount.
Knowing what these details are can also help you take the actions needed to make your surfing sessions more effective in terms of calorie burning. Some of the details include:
- Body weight: Simple things like keeping yourself alive and moving around burn calories. Generally, the more an individual weighs, the more energy (calories) these things require.
- Body composition: The tissues in a human body can be present in different ratios. This influences how many calories surfing burns because an amount of body fat tends to require less energy than the same weight in muscle mass.
- Surfing intensity: A surfing session does not always look the same. You can do a lot of turns and tricks vs just riding down the wave. The more intense sessions tend to burn more calories.
- Calm vs turbulent water: Depending on things like the weather, the state of the water can vary. In turn, this can influence the number of calories burned while surfing.
Chart of surfing calorie-burning estimations
The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention has a cheat list that simplifies the number of calories you burn while surfing into between 3.5-7 calories per minute (1).
Luckily, there are also ways to make more precise estimations. More precisely, there are these things called MET values which are numbers that indicate how physically intense activities are.
You can use these MET values in the formula below to get a rough estimation of how many calories surfing burns for different body weights and time frames.
Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
MET value estimations can vary between sources. That being said, one source mentions METs that range from 3 for general surfing to 5 for competitive surfing (2).
The first table below includes the calorie-burning estimations of using the MET of general surfing for different body weights and amounts of time.
After that, you can find a comparison between different types of surfing.
It is worth noting again that all these numbers are just rough predictions. You should not take them too precisely since the MET formula does not include all relevant details.
Besides that, you may find it understand what all these calorie amounts mean in terms of food by knowing that 100 grams of boiled potatoes contain about 87 calories (3).
Calories burned with surfing per time interval
Most people will find looking at how much time they spent surfing the most convenient way to get an idea of how many calories they burned.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||3 calories||44 calories||89 calories||133 calories||177 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||4 calories||55 calories||110 calories||165 calories||220 calories|
|185 Pounds (84 kg)||4 calories||66 calories||131 calories||197 calories||262 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||5 calories||76 calories||152 calories||229 calories||305 calories|
Calories burned with different surfing intensities and types
There are also different types of surfing you can do at different intensities.
If you love all of these equally, you could choose the ones that are most effective for burning calories.
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||89 calories||148 calories||148 calories||325 calories||399 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||110 calories||183 calories||183 calories||403 calories||494 calories|
|185 Pounds (84 kg)||131 calories||219 calories||219 calories||481 calories||590 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||152 calories||254 calories||254 calories||559 calories||686 calories|
Ways to burn more calories while surfing
From the differences between surfing intensities, you likely understand that how many calories this activity burns is not something static.
You can increase your results in this area to some extent.
The first way to do this is by surfing with more tricks and turns. These moves require more effort (and energy) from your body than just sliding straight down a wave.
Next, you can make it so you weigh more in a healthy way. Doing resistance training exercises in a good workout routine can help you build muscle mass.
In turn, this helps you burn more calories throughout your surfing sessions and the rest of your day.
Lastly, you can consider surfing more often or making your sessions longer. Moving more will typically burn more calories.
How long does it take to lose weight from surfing?
Most people are interested in burning calories while surfing because they want to lose some weight.
If that is the case, you want to keep in mind that your habits in areas like the things you eat will influence your results a lot. It is possible to surf a lot without losing weight.
That being said, if you assume there is a person who is at a weight plateau and only plans to surf more, you can get a few interesting numbers.
A 185-pound (84 kg) person who surfs four hours a week will burn an extra 1048 calories or about 0.3 pounds (0.13 kg) of body fat.
If this same person sticks to this surfing routine for four weeks, they will burn an extra 4192 calories or about 1.2 pounds (0.52 kg) of body fat.
Keep in mind that as this person, and you, lose weight over time, you start burning fewer calories with the same surfing sessions.
You may need to make more changes over time to get to your weight loss goals.
Is surfing good for burning a lot of calories?
If you look at the number of calories you burn per hour, regular surfing is not that great compared to many workouts.
Something like windsurfing offers more results but again there are exercise alternatives that are more effective.
Even if consider that spending time in cold water can slightly increase the number of calories you burn.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that enjoying your workouts can help you stay consistent with your movement routine.
After doing the calculations with the numbers above, you can see that consistency can make a big difference over time.
No matter what cardiovascular exercise you choose, it can be worth building some muscle with weight lifting exercises. This makes your surfing sessions and other activities burn more calories.