The Early Days of Surfing…
When professional Surfing came to the fore in the late 70’s, physical preparation for surfing was…just more and more surfing. This was consistent for many sports of the time, until the Sports Scientists and Exercise Physiologists presented information that could help us all improve. More surfing is always the first option for upcoming surfers, but science can play its part. This is also quite relevant for the beginner and intermediate surfer.
Over the years of coaching beginners and intermediate surfers, it is common for a physical limitation to hinder surfing progression. For example, not having sufficient shoulder power to catch a wave means that surfing independently will be difficult! You can’t stand up on a wave, if you can’t catch it! Shoulder endurance (ability to paddle slowly for a long time) is relatively easy to acquire by surfing often, but adding a sudden burst (power) requires improving strength in the upper body, which then translates to power. The limitations of lower body body power means being unable to bring your feet through the landing quickly. A similar scenario applies for the lower body. Develop lower body strength, and then power.
In the middle of all this, is our mid-section, or to use the buzz word “CORE”. Our midsection includes abdominals, lower back and sides to allow us the maximal and efficient power between upper and lower body movement. Im sure there will be an uproar if I didn’t mention “FLEXIBILITY”, but it needs to be put into perspective.
Yes FLEXIBILITY, but we should use the broader term of “MOBILITY”. Poor flexibility will hinder and impair our ranges of movement, but not cause it! We need as much mobility as we need, without spending hours and hours on it! And yes, YOGA is a great practice to improve MOBILITY, and reset your focus.
Why exercise for surfing?
A few good reasons…1) ensure you don’t fatigue on the days when the surf is pumping 2) you have strength and endurance to keep you healthy and injury free, 3) prolong your surfing life 4) just improve your general health and wellness!
Who can help?
Best look for an experienced, and qualified Exercise/Sports Scientist, or an Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach.