Surfing: How to hold your breath for longer

Getting your breathing right can be extremely invaluable when it comes to surfing, should you be knocked off your board and become submerged under water for a short period of time.

This can be a bit scary when it happens, but there are ways that you can improve your breath holding, which will help you feel less stressed when this happens in the water.

One of the instructors from our outdoor activity centre surfing

Take a freediver for example. They can hold their breathing for up to an incredible 22 minutes! But how do they do it? By performing some simple breathing exercises.

Breathing exercises that increase your lung capacity are not a thing of fiction, but can allow you to hold your breath longer without stressing your brain. This can help you feel more confident in the water when you are surfing with us at our outdoor activity centre.

Dry training (practicing out of the water) is the best way to start improving your breathing, and you can quite quickly learn to hold your breath for much longer.


One of the secrets to help you breathe for longer is to keep your muscles nice and relaxed so they don’t waste oxygen. Then, follow these instructions step by step, to help increase your breathing ability.

  1. Start breathing slowly for 60 seconds
  2. Inhale deeply, then exhale everything
  3. Take a really deep breath in, and hold your breath
  4. Relax
  5. When you reach your limit, inhale deeply and recover

Repeat this process and over time, you’ll notice that your breath holding increases. After a month, you will be able to improve your breathing quite significantly.

What is important to remember when practicing this technique is relaxation. You should relax your mind, muscles and your breathing. Also, do not push your limits just because you feel you have to do it. You should take things slowly and comfortably, advancing at a pace that is comfortable for you.

If you are into activities such as yoga or Pilates, or you practice meditation, they can also help improve your breath hold for surfing.