February 1, 2016

How to stay “surf fit” as an Inland Surfer

One of the Inland Surfer’s biggest challenges is to try to stay “surf fit”, even if he lives hundreds of kilometres from the ocean. We ask Hugo Lavictoire how to stay in shape and keep progressing, as he is one of Quebec’s surf pioneers.

SUP surfing at Habitat 67 main wave, Hugo Lavictoire, KSF
Nuka Choquette surfing the Habitat 67 wave, Photo credit Mike Hitelman

Hey Hugo! What do you suggest to people who live inland that want to stay in shape until their next surf trip?

A. Surfing came pretty late in my life. To start surfing at the age of 30 isn’t too bad, but when you’re from Montreal it’s not that easy. You can’t progress that fast. Surfing is a bit of a frustrating sport but at least it’s fair to everybody: you have to put lots of time and practice, and you have to be in good shape. Here are my top advices to progress and to stay in shape for the next surf trip, for all the people who, like me, don’t have access to the beach:

River surfing

Unlike surfing behind a boat, river surfing requires you swim to get to the wave, and swim back to the shore after falling off the wave. Surfing is more than 90% about swimming, so this is great training. Also, river surfing makes you practice your “take offs”, your balance, your turns and even more advanced manoeuvres.

Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)

There’s a reason why this is the fastest growing water sport in the world. To be standing on a board over water requires you to use many important muscles for surfing. Paddling is also very good for the upper body muscles. If you want more results you can train on the SUP, go down rivers and even surf river waves with them. Training will feel a lot more fun and this will help your surfing.

SUP surfing at Habitat 67 main wave, Hugo Lavictoire, KSF
SUP surfing at Habitat 67 main wave, Hugo Lavictoire, KSF. Photo credit Dany Coulombe.


I’ve played in the water all of my life and I’ve done river kayaking at a high level but I’ve realized years later that I didn’t know how to swim right. I suggest taking swimming classes and going to the public pool often.


I may have started surfing late in my life, but I’ve started yoga even later. At a young age, you sometimes want to do other sports that provide more adrenaline. Today, in my early forties, I realize how yoga can help me gain flexibility, strength and balance. These three things help your surfing and also prevent injuries.

SUP surfing at Habitat 67 main wave, Hugo Lavictoire, KSF
Combining SUP and yoga , KSF. Credit photo Isaloha protography.

In conclusion, I would like to say that being “surf fit” doesn’t necessarily imply that you have long hair and great abs. It’s about being in good physical and mental condition to help you pass the break and to help you push your limits in a safer way. Please note that being in great shape never replaces experience, so please be honest with yourself and respect surf ethics.

Hugo Lavictoire is one of Quebec’s surf pioneers. He is the founder of KSF, the surf, kayak and SUP school located in Lasalle. Click here for more information about services offered by KSF.

To learn more about our story as 2 inland surfers from Canada, click here!

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