I just returned from a little splash on a soft 1-2 foot A-frame bank near my home, one other person in the water. On days like this I love riding my 5’6 Bing Dharma, which is best described as a smooth little rocket, which paddles like a mini mal, yet pivots like a performance fish. The only complaint would be my own decision for a thinner than usual glass job, which within weeks of purchase rendered the deck a sad looking hail storm victim. Currently I am completing the Surfbodysoul Advanced surf fitness program three mornings per week. I have one day completely free, and the remaining mornings are spent creatively playing with a range of Yoga postures, Pilates sequences and surf specific conditioning exercises at my own pace.
Lately I have been noticing the benefits of the Surfbodysoul leg strengthening sequences, particularly in my ability to immediately drop my back knee, placing myself tighter under the lip with greater control, and greater potential for a barrel. It’s nice when you can focus your training on areas of your body that can directly improve potential weaknesses in your surfing. This leads into today’s topic. Below I have listed some tips to keep your surf fitness training beneficial, life sustaining, motivating, safe, and intuitive to the needs of your surfing:
Learn what your body needs: We all have unique body types, varying genetic blue prints, and diverse job descriptions that predispose us to different injuries. Booking a screening with a health professional such as a Physiotherapist allows you to determine what exercise you need to complete to prevent injury, and maximise function for life. If you only have 15 minutes to exercise, you need to spend it on what your body needs. Our bodies are constantly evolving, improving or potentially degrading over time. My advice is to get this process completed every year as a routine check-up. Contact me via surfbosysoul.com for more information on this.
Mix it up: Every 8 weeks revise your program, update your exercises and by doing this avoid becoming stale and unmotivated. If you feel at the 8-week mark you are still consistently improving, and are motivated by your program, continue for a few more weeks. Ideally you want to change things up just prior to reaching a plateau in your physical improvements.
Be aware of your own surfing limitations and where they come from: As I alluded to previously, recently I have included more Surfbodysoul leg strengthening exercises in my program. This decision came from an awareness that my legs were not as strong as they have been in the past, and a desire to be placing myself in a position to score more barrels, and subsequently gain some extra stoke! See if you can apply this same awareness too benefit own surfing. If you are in the vintage surf bracket and having trouble bringing your front leg through quickly on take-off, add some hip opening Yoga postures, and Pilates core strength exercises to your program. If you suffer neck stiffness when paddling, add some neck stretches to your daily life to free things up. If you are unsure of the weaknesses in your surf technique just get yourself filmed, or your ask your friends to be brutally honest, I’m sure if their anything like mine they will happily oblige.
Compartmentalise: Once you have your 8-week routine planned, refocus on the challenges of today, and the exercise in front of you here and now, no further. By compartmentalising or being aware of each movement and breath, your overall health, vitality, and surfing performance will grow organically, and be a much more fulfilling process.
Ryan Huxley is the co-founder and program creator at Surfbodysoul, a website that provides safe, effective, holistic, scientific e-book exercise programs catering for surfers of all age, level and experience. Ryan is a qualified Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist, Advanced Yoga and Pilates instructor. His list of pro surfing clients includes Fergal Smith, Chippa Wilson, Anthony Walsh, Paige Hareb, Emi Cataldi & Rusty Miller.