How To Get Fit For Surfing

One of the great things about running a small business is they usually grow out of a passion, or an avid interest in a topic. In my case, the business was borne out of two. Gold Coast Surfboards was borne out of a passion for surfing and a passion for travel. With the idea that others share these passions, I built a business with the intent of providing them with everything they need, to make their surfing holiday the best they’ve ever had.

One of the great things about this business is I deliver the surfboards myself. This gives me the opportunity to have a brief chat with every surfer coming through the Gold Coast using my services. I really enjoy this part of the business as being a surfer myself, I enjoy the contact with people who have a similar passion to mine. Also, it gives me the opportunity to get into the heads of my clients, so I can understand what their expectations are for their surfing holiday and can continually improve my services based on their desires.

During these chats, the number 1 thing my clients desire is that little bit of additional surfing fitness. This makes sense. Nothing can really prepare you for the rigors of a surfing holiday, other than lots and lots of surfing. No matter how much you surf at home, the chances are you’ll surf more on your holiday for no reason other than the fact that you’ll have more time to play with.

So what is the best way to get that extra bit of fitness for a surfing holiday. I believe there are 3 things you should do. The first two should be part of your healthy lifestyle, the last should be a pre travel booster. Here they are:

The first thing you need to take care of is your general level of endurance. You need to be fit enough to go hard for 10 – 15 minutes minimum, as often this is the minimum paddling requirement for getting through the breakers and out the back.

You need a little more than basic endurance though, you need water endurance. Have a look at the best surfers and swimmers in the world. They glide through the water, seemingly effortlessly. This is because they have a great feel for the water. They know how to move their body so it is moving efficiently. This is so important in the water as we are inately inefficient in what is really an alien environment.

So get in the pool and swim at least twice a week. If you have a break near you, surf at least twice a week. No matter what you do, just make sure you are getting wet twice a week, every week of the year. Your water fitness will just come. It will just be something that develops, you will become more and more familiar with the water environment simply because you are being in it. Don’t make any excuses, go on, get wet.

The second key to surfing fitness is flexibility, balance and core strength. Once again, this is not something you want to leave till the last minute, rather something you want to develop over time as part of your commitment to surfing, health and fitness.

Yoga is the answer here. Yoga is so good for surfing fitness, it is almost as if it was invented purely with the surfer in mind. Not only does yoga help you improve your flexibility, balance and core strength, it also re-aligns and re-balances your body back into its natural and healthy position, away from the imbalanced position which surfing causes.

Also, even the simple act of paddling requires you to over-arch your back, creating a distortion in the development of your back muscles. Yoga sorts all these types of issues out, as well as conditioning your body. My advice, get yourself a surf specific yoga DVD and do it 2 or 3 times a week.

If you take care of the two items above (Ie water fitness and flexibility/core strength) you can give your surfing fitness a real booster by doing a functional training program specific to surfing. The point of functional training is it focuses in on the specific muscle and fitness requirements of a sport (in this case surfing) and trains those muscles in accordance with the needs of the sport.

To embellish a little, we’ve assumed you have a good level of general fitness, reasonable core strength and flexibility, so you are ready to participate in your every day level of surfing. However, in recognising that on the upcoming holiday your body is going to be using your surfing muscles a whole lot more than it usually does, for a short period of time, we give those muscles a fitness boost by performing very specific and related exercises.

I hope this article gives you a few thoughts about how you can train for your next holiday, no matter where it is. Training can be tedious, just focus on the waves you will catch once your fitness goals are achieved though and I’m sure you’ll pull through.

Damian Papworth is the owner of Gold Coast Surfboards, a company that finds services for travelling surfers’ requirements. From board rentals to surfing fitness, they’ll sort it out for you.

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