The ideal height for surfers, revealed

If you have ever wondered to yourself, ‘what the optimum height for surfing is’, wonder no longer, we have the answer!

It’s a fact that anyone, no matter what shape or size, can try and excel at surfing, but from looking at the world’s best board riders, a correlation has been established to give us the prime height for surfing success, and it might not be what you’re expecting!

Kelly Slater surfing at the Hurley Pro

Based on the present top 34 male surfers in the world, just six of them are over 6 feet tall: Joel Parkinson, John Florence, Jordy Smith, Julian Wilson, Sebastian Zietz and Adam Melling. In previous incarnations of the Tour, this number has been far less. All of these surfers are between 6’ 0″ and 6’ 1″, with Jordy Smith being the tallest at 6’ 3”.

Now, cast your eyes to the man regarded as the best competitive surfer in the world (Italo Ferreira): He measures in a just 5′ 6″.

So, surfing aficionados have worked on the basis of averages and have come to the conclusion that the hallowed height for top level men’s surfing is indeed 5’ 9″. And in case you were finding this hard to believe, the fact that more than one third of the current men’s top 34 are exactly 5 feet, 9 inches tall, should further cement the findings.

If you want to have a look for yourself, just Google the list of surfers here: Kelly Slater, Adrian Buchan, Conner Coffin, Stuart Kennedy, Jeremy Flores, Josh Kerr, Taj Burrow, Miguel Pupo, Alejo Muniz, Wiggolly Dantas, Filipe Toledo, and Kanoa Igarashi.

The fact that twelve of the world’s top 34 surfers are precisely 5’ 9″ is likely just a bit of a coincidence or not, depending on what you choose to believe, but all fun aside, being shorter does carry advantageous perks for riding those waves. Why? Because less height allows you to have a low centre of gravity, which gives you good balance and a stronger base for utilising power. Shorter people are usually not quite as heavy, allowing them to perform on the waves more efficiently.

Just remember what we said though, it doesn’t matter how tall or short you are, anyone can try surfing on our residential school trips, so don’t delay, book up today!


Image courtesy of Rian Castillo under Creative Commons.