Having good health as a surfer is extremely important, as it will help you to perform really well when in the ocean. This means sticking to the proper diet, having a solid warm-up prior to getting out, sleeping enough at night, and training on a regular basis to maker sure that your body stays in shape. There are tons of surfers that we see paddling out in the water without ever thinking about those 4 pillars of surfing health and then getting inured or become exhausted after a short period of time. If you want to improve your stamina, or just get in good enough shape to really improve your surfing, you absolutely MUST follow these 4 pillars. Though surfers live that “chill” lifestyle, many people don’t realize that it is one of the most difficult sports out there, physically and mentally. In this article, we’re going to talk about the 4 pillars of surfing health so that you can maximize your surfing abilities and have a great time out in the water.
The 4 Pillars
Diet And Nutrition
Sustaining a long surf session requires eating the correct foods. Think about it. You are out in the water for long periods of time, much of the time with the sun beating down, without any food or water. This is why eating the proper foods with rich nutrients beforehand is very important.
Right before a surf session, you’ll only want to eat something that you can digest in an ample amount of time. Something high in potassium, such as a banana, will do just the trick!
On the regular, you’ll want to eat lean foods that give you more muscle than fat, as extra fat will make it difficult to perform the maneuvers necessary for good surfing. Now while there is no golden rule or “one-size-fits-all” diet out there, here are some basic things to follow that will help you out.
- Eat veggies every single day.
- Get lots of protein in your diet. For every pound of LEAN bodyweight that you have, you should eat 1 gram of protein
- Drink A LOT of water (3-5 liters should do you well)
- Take Omega-3 Supplements
- Don’t take in carbohydrates before a surf session. They will just make you lethargic.
Mobility And Stretching
The best way to stretch for surfing is to stretch in a way that parallels your movement for surfing. By that, we mean stretch in a way that increases blood flow, loosens up muscles, and wakes you up. You don’t need to perform slow muscle stretches before paddling out.
Here are a few stretches that you can perform to maximize your mobility in the water:
- Squats – Spread legs shoulder width apart, point butt backwards and keep back straight, exhale as you move down, and keep your arms forward. Repeat as many times as necessary
- Warrior Pose / Lunges – This is an excellent stretch that reflects the surfing stance. Lunge forward on one foot with arms out and back slowly. Repeat as many times as necessary on both sides
- Arm Circles – This is a great exercise to stretch your shoulders. With arms kept straight, circle each at least 25 times forwards and backwards
A happy surfer is one that has had enough sleep. Without getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, you won’t be able to function optimally. There are many ways to make sure that you are getting the right amount of sleep at night.
- Ditch the alarm clock – Trust us when we say this, your body gets used to waking up when it has had enough sleep.
- Organize A To-Do List – Organizing the things you need to do during the day will help you to sleep without worry, knowing that you have been productive enough during the day that you can sleep without ditching responsibilities
- Toss that old mattress – A bad mattress is probably the number one reason why some people lose so much sleep. The Leesa Mattress is one of our favorites out on the market right now and we highly recommend checking it out
Cross Training, Strength, and Exercise
There are many things that you can do outside of surfing that crossover to bettering your ability as a surfer.
Cross Training is an awesome way to better your surfing, and can also be tons of fun. Here are some sports that you can use to cross train:
Yoga – Practicing yoga will optimize your balance, breath control, and overall flexibility
Rock Climbing – Practicing rock climbing can help you in conquering fear that can hold you back when in the ocean. Plus, it’s a hell of an upper-body workout
Skating / Snowboarding – This is a give-in, but practicing these two sports is a great way to imitate the mechanics of surfing to increase balance, feel, and overall muscle memory.
As for strength and exercise, it is important to find a routine that works your body entirely. You’ll need to have strong arms and shoulders to paddle around in the ocean for hours, a strong chest to help with popping up, strong legs to keep you grounded, and most importantly, a strong core to help you remain stable and balanced throughout your ride.
By keeping everything in this article in mind, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of surf-related injuries and optimize your ability to shred for years to come. It may seem like riddles and magic at at times, but by following these simple proven steps you can take your surfing to the next level!