Staying Surf Fit Through the Summer
As a surfer in Scotland, staying fit through the summer is a battle. The first thing I do in the morning in winter is check the chart, the first thing I do in summer is look at what’s in the fridge. In Scotland, winter sessions are fairly tough on the body and the calories get burned off by the hundred every session meaning that fat levels are generally kept in check. In summer the barbeque is always on standby for the first hint of sunshine, then no barbeque is complete without an ice cold beer or a glass of wine. When I am not careful, summer can be a time of accumulation – and not in a good way.
For me, the key at this time of year is to do something to benefit my health, mentally and/or physically, once a day. Doing one thing a day not only allows me to benefit from the activity but it also slightly changes my behaviour for the rest of the day. I find that doing that one thing will focus my mind to make slightly healthier and more sensible decisions. I know that for many, the morning is not a time when they feel motivated to get up and go but for me it is when I can really get a bit of purchase on the day.
The ultimate activity is something like surfing, which I don’t need any motivation for. Everything else will be cast aside and re-prioritised – not because surfing is good for you, that’s just a fortunate bi-product of doing something fun and hanging out with friends.
I love my mountain bike but going out never seems to be a quick blast and usually ends up taking half a day. I also seem to go over the handle bars a lot and for all the surfing and mountain biking that my friends and I have done over the years, most of the surf preventing injuries have been on the bikes.
When time is short I really benefit from going for a run - fresh air, a bit of music on, head space, heart rate up - I always come back from a run feeling a bit more ready for whatever the world throws at me. The best thing for me is to back up a run with a bit of stretching or a few circuits to focus more on things that will benefit my surfing when I finally get to dust off the boards again.
One of the tools I use for training for getting my aging mass from lying down to a bipedal position is my PopUpSurfPro.
It’s a simple but effective training tool. If I'm out the water for a while and don’t use it I find myself fumbling my way to my feet when I get back on a board. When I do use it, the muscle memory is far more ready to take a drop and be in the right position for making a bottom turn (which I'm not very good at either).
It is beautifully made from three pieces of ply. A deck and two interlocking curved pieces on the bottom which lock in place with a satisfying click via magnets.
It comes with two different lateral rockers, one being less stable than the other to make it suitable for a variety of abilities.
Getting to your feet on the Pop-up Surf Pro is tricky and there is no benefit of the wave dropping out from beneath you. I have used mine a lot now and have become far more aware of where my arms and feet are when when I make a drop.
It does cost quite a bit, £136.99 at the time of writing, but this thing is rock solid and imagine it buys you that time to get into the wave of your life a second earlier. It's all about margins.
Another tool that is handy for a quick blast is my Carver Skateboard.
I surfed for about 15 years without thinking too much about what I was actually doing on waves. I was happy just catching them and maybe making the odd turn or luck into the odd tube. When I started using my Carver deck it made a huge difference, particularly for generating speed, which has opened all sorts of doors for my surfing. I do feel like a tit and that I should know better when my 41 year old mass hits the ground in front of an audience, but to still feel like there might be a glimmer of progression happening at my ripe vintage feels really good.
Either way, as far as I’m concerned, just doing one nice thing a day for yourself is a good thing!