It seems logical that the best training for surfing would be, well, surfing. But are those three to four sessions a week enough to keep one physically fit in the water? Spending an hour inside a musty, halogen-lit gym can feel like a completely dissonant experience to sliding atop saltwater, but doing so could help your surfing in the long run.

Over the last few years, I’ve watched North Florida pro surfer Cody Thompson (whose physical fitness and surfing ability already had a high ceiling to begin with) continue to improve while spending a little extra time getting in shape out of the water. Thompson’s moonlighted as a certified personal fitness trainer for the last few years and recently opened his own studio, Thompson Performance, where some of the region’s best surfers–including Cody’s pro surfing kin, Tristan and Evan–can be found sweating it out pre and post surf session. Thanks to hours and hours of weighted lunges, squats, and all other sorts of complex exercises, Cody’s turns continue to displace buckets of water, while his enormous alley-oops grow ever more enormous each year.

“Back when I was competing a lot, I was kind of getting my ass kicked,” Thompson tells me, sitting atop some kind of soft plyometric platform when I recently met him at his Atlantic Beach, FL studio. “I didn’t know if it was because I wasn’t surfing well, or because I was out of shape. I just felt uninspired and was really looking to feel better physically, which I thought would give me that mental edge.”

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