The aeronautical descent into Sydney airport is the only time I get the flying jitters. You know the feeling, you have spent weeks, months, even years away from your closest friends, family, and for me favorite clients.
Combine this with the heightened anticipation of reconnecting with nostalgic childhood waves, landscapes, smells and sounds, and you begin to understand why you have this rock in your stomach. At this point I am usually simultaneously suppressing unhelpful images of everyone in the plane screaming whilst clambering in unison to blow useless whistles on route to a corporeal crash landing.
Anyway, the plane landed safely, car rental came next, followed by a drive up the east coast on route to the family seaside home. On route I also did something I always aspired to. A spontaneous roadside purchase of a 1985 Toyota Land cruiser Safari named ‘Trev’, named in part for his simple, uncomplicated nature.
I had timed my return perfectly with a visit from my brother, a building easterly swell, and the scintillating mix of beach breaks, sand points and lack of humans that characterize the National Parks of home. With every Ying comes a Yang though and the Yang for us is the presence of the men or woman in grey suits. This time of year the spotted mullet run enhances their presence. This run occurs when the juvenile mullet who have grown in the relative safety of the east coast river nursery’s wait for a strong southerly change before simultaneously flushing out into the big yonder. These timid chums then hug the coast attracting fisherman and much larger cartilaginous hunters.
I am being a little dramatic, the reality is shark attacks are rare, when the water is transparent things are generally okay, if you see a bait ball exit the water, and be careful at river mouths and in murky water, easy! The problem for any surfer, myself included, is that when the surf is epic these seemingly simple rules become complicated. This morning my girlfriend, brother and I ignored three out of the above four rules. The result of this was a gentle bump on my brother’s leg, courtesy of a juvenile bronze whaler. I was then the recipient of a facial expression that spoke a thousand words; I mirrored this expression onto my girlfriend, and within 30 seconds had scampered to high ground.
Lets now move to a more balanced viewpoint. I want to introduce the ‘wobble board’ or ‘air cushion’, a piece of surf fitness equipment I personally use to improve my own surf experience, and prescribe to improve the surf experience of all of my clients. This device can be used to increase surf specific leg strengthening by increasing instability under the feet thus improving balance, reaction time and strength for surfing. Your local physiotherapist/physical therapist should either stock this or be able to order it for you. If you are interested in some specific exercises on your wobble board, drop me a line at [email protected].
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.