"Better Your Shredding" –by Josef Jablecki
Everybody lives in different locations and surfs for different reasons. However, no one is content with surfing at the same skill level their whole lives- we all want to be better. Surfing at your prime does not come easy. It takes training. Yes, surfing is a sport and takes training and practice. Since the pros have nothing better to do during their day other than get better at surfing, they hire trainers or make up their own routine to keep their minds acute and their surfing the best that it can be. So why can't the rest of the surfing population better their surfing?
First and foremost is preparation. Many pros get up before sunrise to stretch before they do anything else. The average surfer that works a day job does not have to stretch for an hour before they go to work everyday, but since the day job worker is also the majority of the weekend warriors, sitting at that desk all day and then cranking out a nine hour surf session on Saturday and Sunday can be hard on the body.
Surfing for a long period of time, especially doing it sporadically can eventually develop into spine, hip, shoulder, and knee problems. There is a solution, however. Stretching is by far one of the best things a surfer can do for their body, and it can also eliminate all of the problems stated above. Using a Swiss ball is one of the better stretching exercises because it imitates the same motions you would do on a surfboard. You can buy a Swiss ball package online at many surfing fitness websites or at a fitness store that comes with a video to show you how to use it properly. Stretching with the Swiss ball will really help to prevent immediate injuries, say from going over the falls on a three foot overhead day, because your body will be limber enough to take the pounding.
The Swiss ball will increase stability at the shoulders and core which in the end will allow you to paddle longer and have faster sprints. "Improved stability also prevents the development of tendonitis, which causes pain, loss of power, and eventually an inability to paddle," as stated on surfcoach.com.
Having good core stability can provide a good base that the arms and legs can generate power from. This will prevent lower back pain and knee problems. Alongside helping to prevent injuries, loose and limber muscles will allow you to surf better.
Feel that burn!!!
After forming a good stretching routine comes cross training. Since most of the time spent in the water is done paddling, swimming is an excellent source of training. All you need is a pair of old trunks, some goggles, and maybe a pool membership. Hopping in the pool and doing a few laps four times a week will help, but seeing a trainer will help maximize efficiency in smaller amounts of time. Here is a small tip to help you start out with a swimming routine: do eight laps to warm up, then do six twenty five meter sprints, next do five sets of one hundred meter power strokes (use a forceful paddling motion like you would when paddling through the impact zone), after this do a few laps via backstroke and finish up with some more prone position swimming. This routine will greatly benefit the weekend warrior by simulating what your body does when surfing and will keep your muscles fresh and toned for Saturday and Sunday.
Another effective cross training routine is light weight training concentrating on back and shoulders. You can use a pull up bar or some dumbbells.
Now that everyone is buff and ready to go lets discuss boards. Using the same board at your home break that Taj Burrow uses at Sunset during a WCT event is probably not the best idea. On the other hand, having a quiver of boards is an excellent idea. Getting in the one-board rut makes your surfing bland, even though you will progress very quickly on that board. An open mind is essential to surfing better; this is when different boards come in to play. Different boards automatically put the surfer on different parts of the wave. Point being, using the same board only lets you see the same parts of the wave. Changing it up a bit will give you a fresh and new perspective.
For starters, look at a fish, thruster, and long board- these three types of boards are very different from each other. Having this quiver to start out will allow three different types of surfing.
Depending on where everybody surfs, their quiver will vary from others. It is essential to have the proper board or boards for your body weight and height, and the waves you are riding. Don't be scared to talk to your local surf shop. Having worked at one, it is easy to tell who is a genuine surfer.
Take a look
Learning new moves is one of the greatest parts of surfing, it's what keeps us going out in the water, it gives a reason to surf, and it’s just fun. However, learning new moves can be discouraging. Set a goal that is not too high for your ability in order to make better progress.
A good way to learn moves is by watching people that can already do them extremely well. Bust out a video from your collection and watch how the surfer pulls off that roundhouse cutback, or that huge floater. Examine what they do with every part of their body including were they look, what their shoulders and arms are doing, where their feet are, etc.
Next time you paddle out, take a moment to think about everything you saw in the video. When you are surfing keep everything you saw in mind and try to reciprocate it. This is also a good way to form your own style, since we are all different shapes and sizes.
When you get out of the water, take another couple of seconds to think about what you did right and wrong. This really works. You have to troubleshoot to figure out the problem, and there is a problem somewhere, because if there weren’t you would be winning every contest in the world and would not be reading this article.
All in all, make a small effort to stretch everyday, get yourself stoked about going surfing, watch surfing videos, go surf as much as possible- not only is this going to be more fun but it will improve your surfing. Sounds like a good deal to me.