Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact, that I am, by no means, an athlete. However, I am fortunate enough to be able to surf everyday, which keeps me in OK surf shape. I can paddle for hours and catch most of the waves I want, in any conditions. Ask me to run to the store and back it becomes a very different story; I will return a breathless, tired, sweaty mess. So, clearly I would not be the first pick to represent my country in a half marathon that’s for sure, but if they needed someone to paddle through white-water for 4 hours I think I would be a strong candidate.
This is an example of sport specific fitness.
To perform to your maximum potential in any sport, athletes have to put in hours/weeks/years of training to become better, faster, stronger than their competition. This is also true in modern competitive surfing. Nearly all the guys currently on the world tour have personal trainers. Consequently the level of surfing is truly amazing.
Now, I am not writing this telling everyone to get down to the gym and do 300 sit ups a day because, to the recreational surfer, this won’t apply (although it may be a good idea…myself included). I am writing this as a reminder to get fit before a surf trip so that you can surf longer and catch more waves. Which I think will guarantee you a better and more memorable surf trip. In my experience of surf coaching and guiding over the last 15 years it’s usually someone’s surf fitness that lets them down.
Did your last 7 day surf trip go like this?
Super amped to surf, but it was harder to paddle than you remembered so you missed a few good waves. But you’re stoked…you surfed somewhere new.
Paddling is feeling better, its but you’re still not able to catch as many waves as you want. Feeling a bit tired on the second surf.
Usually the best day, your paddling feels good, your catching the waves you want….life is good.
Another good day, shoulders are feeling it, but you are still getting great waves…maybe you decide on skipping the last surf and have a massage. Note: This is also the day that all the rashes and sunburn kick in.
Tired, starting to miss a lot of waves, getting a little frustrated. Guys will usually have back or neck problems.
Deep down you are getting tired now, you’re putting on a brave face in front of your mates, but surfing feels like work.
When will the paddling stop? Hopefully a few token waves to finish the trip.
Sound like you?
There’s a simple fix, which you all know already, you just forget to do it….
If you are lucky enough to live by a beach - surf, surf a lot, even if it sucks (no excuses). Make some good food choices. Remember to stretch. Get down to the pool and get some laps in. You will need a minimum of a 2 week lead-in for a week long surf trip.
If you’re landlocked it’s harder, but you just need to hit the pool…a lot! Alternate distance swimming and sprints. This is the closest you can get to re-creating going surfing. Stretch, eat the right food, get amped watching surf videos, go skateboarding. Do everything you can to get prepped for your trip. Again, you need a 2 week lead in minimum.
When people sign up to run a marathon, they train, because they want to get to the finish line. And when we book a surf trip we all daydream about the epic waves were going to ride. And if you get fit before your next trip, you’re far more likely to be the one catching and riding the best waves rather than floundering on the inside with tired arms.
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Strike Missions, Central America
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