How to Get Rid of Leg Cramps from Surfing

It is so frustrating when you get leg cramps right in the middle of your surf session!

Leg cramps are so painful, especially when they are in your calf muscles, and it’s hard to reach around to massage your leg when you’re on your surfboard.

If you’ve been asking, “Why do I get leg cramps while surfing?” or “How do I get rid of leg cramps while surfing?” I have the answers you’ve been looking for!

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer any longer and let leg cramps cut your surf session short.

What causes leg cramps?

You might think that your leg muscles are just too tight — or that you need to eat a banana to get rid of leg cramps.

Eating a banana is actually a good idea, because bananas are rich in potassium. Potassium is one of the main electrolytes (or minerals) that regulate the fluid balance in your body.

When your potassium is low — or if other electrolytes, like sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and chloride are out of balance — the function of your muscles are affected, and the result is excruciating muscle cramps.

But there are other (little-known) causes of leg cramps than just being low on potassium.

Main Causes of Leg Cramps:

  1. Dehydration. You may not realize it, but you actually sweat when you’re surfing. But because you’re already in water, the sweat is not as noticeable.

    Watch my video #1 on this page for important info about how to avoid dehydration while surfing — and why drinking plain water is not enough. You’ll hear my tips for a delicious infused water, and — importantly — you’ll find out the answer to the question, “Is it possible to drink too much water?”

  2. Medications. Every drug has a side effect, and whether you’ve been described medication for cholesterol, blood pressure, depression, diabetes or other conditions, you likely will experience muscle cramps as a side effect. Check with your doctor to see about natural alternatives.

  3. Stiff muscles. You knew I was going to mention the importance of stretching, right? But not the ballistic, up-and-down forceful calf stretches you may have seen (or done) performed with your heel hanging off a stair step.

    Instead, try down dog or Warrior 1 for static stretches that really target stiff and cramp-prone lower leg muscles. (One of my favorite ankle stretches comes from YOGA for SURFERS 3: Unleashed!)

    Massage is also a great way to keep those leg muscles supple and cramp-free. But you don’t need to shell out dough to get a massage — you can follow along with the Lower-Body sequence of my YOGA for HEALING video where I show you a fantastic way to stretch and soothe those stiff leg muscles.

How to get rid of leg cramps after surfing:

  1. Drink the right type of fluids, not just plain water. (See video #1 on this page for details.)

  2. Warm-up before paddling out. Don’t just hit the beach and head right into the line up. Not sure what type of pre-surf warm up to do? Grab our YFS Pre-Surf Warm-Up here for FREE. This 10-minute fast-paced routine will warm up all your surfing muscles and keep those painful muscle cramps at bay.

  3. Keep your breath flowing as you paddle. You may not realize you’re holding your breath, and your breath needs to flow to deliver oxygen to those leg muscles!

  4. Do post-surf stretching and soaking. In Video #2 on this page, I give my special tip for what to do after you surf — and it feels great!

Yoga Leg Stretches for Cramps after Surfing

Be sure to check out my favorite leg stretches from our newest YFS video, YOGA for HEALING. You get instant access to it and all the YFS resources and videos when you join the YFS Online Series.

What about you? Share your favorite tips for getting rid of leg cramps for surfing (or any stories you have …always love to hear how you overcame the challenges in the surf!)

More Surf Yoga Tips…

How to Get Rid of Leg Cramps while Surfing

What to do after Surfing for Leg Cramps


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Did you get your FREE Pre-Surf Warm-up yet? This 10-minute sequence comes from YOGA for SURFERS 1 and will get you energized and focused before paddling out. Get started today and start feeling better fast!


Avid surfer and certified yoga instructor Peggy Hall has been inspiring thousands of surfers to surf better — and live better — since 2002. Her upbeat energy, down-to-earth teaching style and positive encouragement will get you fit, focused and fearless on the waves, and in your life!