Surfitness Inc.

You're not a teenager anymore?!?!
As we reach our late twenties and thirties, our bodies just don't seem to handle a good beating like they could when we were younger. When you were 16 you could surf for five hours or more, now you are struggling to stay out in the water for an hour. You put on an extra five or twenty pounds, traded in the 6'4" Rusty at the local shop for a 9'0" Stewart Longboard.

Your old 1969 Chevy Impala was replaced by a Volvo wagon, and instead of your board in the car, there are a husband or wife a kids. You're stressed out at your job, you don't surf as much as you would like to, the dog is barking, and the kids are crying what are you going to do? A quick fix would be to work out. I know, it is not the same as paddling out, but it can really help release some of that stress that is building up inside of you.

Okay, so your husband or wife gave the okay for you to go on that surfing trip with your buddies down to the promise land of Costa Rica, so now is the best time to start training and getting into shape for those grueling paddle outs at Hermosa beach, and also to blow off some steam.

Now here is the big question, should you workout at home or go to a local gym to train. That is a tough question, but easily answered if you know what you are looking for. Most gyms cater to bodybuilders, not longboarders, surfers, boogie boarders or knee boarders. The equipment in most facilities is equipment, which isolates body parts, and usually the equipment moves in only one plane. Think about that, how could you possibly surf and be in one plane movement… that's right you can't. But at most gyms there are some dumbbells, and hopefully a medicine ball, a stability ball, and if you are real lucky a set of elastic tubing (which is great for mimicking that paddling motion that we all do so well).

If they have one or two of these items and you feel comfortable at the facility, then go for it. If not, you can buy most of the equipment that you need for less than two hundred dollars, and listen to your own music at home. What we need to do, as surfers is train the body how it moves naturally.

What would make more sense for a surfer, doing seated shoulder raises on a machine or doing a standing shoulder press with a rotation? I will take the later, since we surf standing up, why would you train sitting down. Obviously we cannot duplicate all of the surfing maneuvers out there, but we can try our best. If it looks like surfing, and smells like surfing, you are on the right track, it should help your surfing.

Surfing, like life is chaotic, so lets train that way! You don't know what is going to hit you out in the ocean, so to prepare yourself for that the best you can by training at home or in the gym. Does it look like surfing? Does it smell like surfing? What looks more like surfing to me is a squat with rotation. (See figure 1). This exercise places demands on the hip and the core musculature, as well as the legs.

If you are going to be surfing, you have to worry about performance first, and aesthetics second. What good is it if you have an awesome physique, and you can't perform, you are going to be stuck on the inside getting drilled for an hour. Just think, if you train in a multi-planner, unstable environment, you are going to have show and go! Train standing up, use free weights, bands, pulleys, balls, and balance boards. We are multi-planner beings, we have 360 degrees of freedom, and we rotate, flex and bend every way imaginable, so it makes sense to train that way, doesn't it? As surfers, we need to train basically from our fingers to our toes (you do hang ten don't you??). Hit everything in between. If you have a stronger more functional body, it not only can help your surfing, but your quality of life.

Figure 1:
Squat with rotation

Figure 1a:
Squat with rotation
(Backside Barrel)

Photo: Mike Nelson


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