You don’t want to arrive on your dream surfing holiday and find that you’re not fit enough to make the most of the waves. Surfing requires fitness, stamina and balance. None of which you’re going to hone by sitting on the sofa dreaming of sunshine and waves.
While some of us are fortunate to live near the ocean and ride waves all year-round, many of us are landlocked or have jobs that interfere with our passion for all things ocean. Which limits our opportunity to surf until we’re on holiday. There’s nothing like actually surfing to keep you fit for surfing. However, there are plenty of other ways to maintain your paddle fitness and flexibility. Read on so you’re ready to ride the waves as soon as you hit holiday mode and clap eyes on the those perfect peelers on a palm-fringed beach.
From park runs and mechanical waves, to yoga and a virtual surf coach, here are some top tips for getting fit for your family surfing trip:
Family fitness fads
Sign up for a Park Run in your local area. Hit the nearest cycle trails on your mountain bikes. Or just go for a kick-about on the football pitch. Whatever you can do to raise your heart rate and increase cardiovascular fitness will increase your stamina and wave count in the surf. The best exercise for surfing is swimming, with front crawl being the most effective stroke to power up your paddling strength and agility.
Find your balance
Yoga goes hand in hand with surfing – enhancing your balance, strength, flexibility and breathing techniques. All of which will help your performance in the water. Practising yoga doesn’t mean to have to be able to flex your body into pretzel-like positions. You can start to reap the benefits with just 10-15 minutes of basic yoga stretches each day. If you’re a complete beginner head to a local class at least once a week. If you already know the basics, download a yoga app and build a few sun salutations into your daily routine. Checkout these ‘Five Poses Every Surfer Should Know’, on Magic Seaweed
With state-of-the-art wave pools popping up all over the world, now you don’t have to be anywhere near the ocean to surf. The success of wave pools means that you can ride a mechanical wave and work on your surfing skills, without having to paddle out, earn your place in the line-up or deal with annihilation by rogue sets in the ocean. In a wave pool you simply choose the size and speed of wave to suit your ability, and surf your socks off when it’s your turn. With waves being generated approximately every 10 seconds, you’re going to up your wave count and improve your surfing game. It’s nothing like paddling out on a paradise beach and being immersed in nature, but it makes a great training ground. Plus, most wave pools are set up for a whole weekend of family fun and activities. Checkout the wave pools at Surf Snowdonia and The Wave in Bristol
Virtual Surf Coach
Imagine having your own private surf coach, so you can get your stance and manoeuvres nailed, and ensure you’re maxing out on the waves once you’re on your family surfing holiday. Surf6 is a ground-breaking digital surf coaching programme, devised by one of Australia’s top surf coaches and a landlocked surfer from Germany. Once you’ve assessed your level and goals, it’ll take you on a 13-week, personalised, digital surfing programme to prepare you for your trip. You can practise a whole range of skills from take-offs and basic turns to floaters and snaps, using a series of training drills specifically devised for land, surf-skateboards, and ocean training.
Every day you can work on improving your surf fitness – even when you’re hanging out with the kids in the garden, at the park or watching telly. Here ambassador and sports physiother Nadine Basieux takes us through a series of surf-specific exercises.
Start on all fours, with your core level and back straight. Keep your core stable while moving the left arm with the right leg upwards, alternating with the right arm and the left leg. Try to ensure as you change sides, that there is no movement is in your pelvis and core.
Using a tree, bench or climbing frame, put your hands shoulder width apart and push up your bodyweight at speed, so that you are able to release and clap the hands between each push up.
Find a bench or step and jump up with both legs in a squat position. Hold balance for at least 5 seconds, before jumping down and going again.
Lie prone and push up to land on your feet in a take-off position – just like on a board. You can do this on the ground, or on a beam to make it more challenging.
Using a step, bench or beam, step up slowly and hold your balance on one leg. Alternate between each leg. If you feel balanced you can try jumping directly from foot to foot.
Use the support of a bench or rails. Lean back and bend the elbows working your triceps.
All of these exercises are ideas to activate your muscles and your sensory-motoric system, to ensure you’re ready for a surfing. Do all exercises at your own risk and adapt to your own fitness level and ability.