I moved to California a little over a month ago and have picked up the hobby of surfing. Surfing requires an extreme amount of core strength, stability, and balance as well as upper and lower body strength. If you have never been surfing, I totally recommend it. It is a great way to get away from the stresses of the world and to enjoy nature at its best.
Of course, safety is a big issue, but if you take a lesson or play it safe you will be more than fine. I also recommend starting with a long board then upgrading to a shorter one once you get better.
Below is a total body workout that I have put together to strengthen the muscles and parts of the body necessary to concur the sport of surfing. I have incorporated several core movements as well as upper and lower body exercises.
The upper body exercises are designed to increase the muscular strength and endurance of the chest, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. The lower body exercises are designed to increase the muscular strength and endurance of quads, hamstrings, glutes, hips, and calves (all of which are put to the test during surfing). I recommend performing two or three set of 10 to 20 repetitions. Good luck and enjoy!!