Although surfers are not typically thought of as traditional athletes, surfing is most definitely a sport. Its world-wide popularity and competitiveness make it a sport. Just like other sports, regular surfing provides an intense cardio workout and the opportunity to build muscle mass. But, unlike other sports, there is no defined training regimen that surfers seem to follow when there is no swell.
While living here in Okinawa, Japan, I have come across a group of traditional athletes Ė Japanese baseball players. This group would be considered hardcore in the world of athletic sports. They start training hard at the age of nine every day after school under the instruction of coaches who have dedicated themselves to the sport and now teach it to the younger generations. Every baseball player must keep a shaved head while on the team to be easily recognized by everyday citizens. After watching them train, I realized I have never seen athletes train so hard in my life. I began to think: How could this type of intense training improve my surfing skills?
I wasn't getting into the water enough because on this island you can only surf on high tides due to the reef. Of course, there also has to be swell. I was not satisfied with how much I was surfing, and when I did go surfing I was not on my game. My pop-ups were sloth-like, I didnít grind the lips as well, and I would fall trying to bust my fins out.
So with the Japanese ball players in mind, I decided to create my own training regime. I began running, stretching, doing push-ups and pull-ups. Now, every time I go back into the water I feel light, I feel energized, and I feel strong.
I think that sometimes surfers categorize themselves as outcasts, children of the sea, 9-5 conformists-could-never-understand-them type people, and not necessarily traditional athletes. However, if you want to improve as an athlete, you have to train like an athlete.
Try boosting your skills by adding these exercises into your daily routine:
Running: It is the most essential activity that any athlete can do. It works every muscle in the body and, most importantly, it builds stamina. Stamina will let you paddle longer and harder without running out of breath. Running also builds muscle in your legs for surfing.
Stretching: Stretching increases your body awareness and allows optimum muscle performance by strengthening and toning your muscles. Yoga style stretches connect breath, body and spirit. These kinds of stretches are especially beneficial for explosive maneuver sports as they increase concentration, focus and agility. They prep the athlete to execute bigger, more dynamic moves. Stretching also increases blood flow to keep you warmer and decreases the likelihood of an injury because the muscles are more limber.
Build Muscle: Performing push-ups, pull ups, squats and sit-ups will increase your whole body strength. Your upper body strength will improve popping up on your board, and most of the time a good take-off determines the outcome of that ride. Abdominal strength will help all maneuvers, but especially ones where the surfer finds himself trying to pull his board under him. Strength in the lower body muscles will help everything from pumping to get speed all the way to laying hard turns.
Skateboard: Mix in some skateboard sessions along with surfing! Skateboarding strengthens ankles, legs and core abdominals. Skateboarding is the best thing a surfer can do while it is flat. It inspires new maneuvers and is the second best sport to surfing in my opinion.
Visualize: Take time out of your day to just visualize what you want to do on the wave; it could be your bottom turn, hitting the lip, or having your tail slide in the foam. Visualizing what can be done on a surfboard is crucial for the survival of surfing. In order to pique your interest, imagine new moves, bigger moves, more technical moves.
Surf in the Dark: If you stay out past sunset and it is an overcast day, itís going to get dark quickly. Stay out in the water! Try and catch the wave and let your instinct tell you where to go. Surfing when you can barely see is also fun because not only can you not see but things such as sharks and drowning cross your mind making that adrenaline pump.This is technically unsafe and we assume no responsibility for your actions. -