Well, it should be but it will be showing signs of wear and tear rather sooner than later if you are not looking after it. So I’ve met up with my friend Kate who happens to be a great yoga teacher and just opened Flow Athletic in Paddington. I’ve picked Kate’s brain for her recommendations for some stretches for the common gidget and some other useful tips when it comes to supplementing your surf routine to keep your body in tip top shape and make you an even better gidget.
I admit it I’m probably the worst of all. I’m very naughty, I usually run straight from home into the water and usually forget about the stretching before I go for a surf. Especially now in winter when the sand is quite cold I rather forget about it all together. So I’ve asked Katie for some quick and efficient stretches before you get into the water. Katie reckons the run-to-the-beach bit of my routine is a good start. After a short run, some simple twists to switch on the core and warm up the lower back are your best bet.
Before surf stretch: Twist lying down and shoulder stretch
Lie on your back, with arms stretched out to the sides at shoulder height and knees pulled up toward your chest. Exhaling, smoothly drop both knees to one side, keeping your knees pulled up toward your arm. On your next exhalation, lift your legs back up toward your chest, flattening your back waist into the floor. If you’ve got a strong core (and no back issues) you can do the same thing with your legs stretched out. So you lift your legs straight up to the ceiling and the lower them to the floor on either side. To get your arms paddle ready, you could also do a bit of a shoulder stretch. Interlock your fingers behind your back and gently straighten and lift your arms behind the back. For the Yogis amongst the Gidgets, you could also do a few sun salutes before you do your twists.
You could actually also get away without stretching at all as you do warm up anyway, when you run down to the beach and paddle out. Having said that, wise words from Kate…you’ll be more flexible if you have a bit of a warm up beforehand. So you’ll get going faster and also you’ll recover faster afterwards.
It’s the same for after the surf. You don’t have to stretch at all but you’ll recover faster than if you don’t. You can do a few twists again. Or especially, if you suffer from lower back pain it’s good to release the back after the surf (and the hot shower…as long as your still warm). Regular stretches will help you prevent that surfer’s back pain.
After surf stretch: Roll up in a ball and then play dog
I love the child’s pose because it’s stretching without any hard work involved. All you do is kneel on your floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, separate your knees and lay your torso between your thighs. Try to lengthen while you are doing this. i.e. leave your bum on your heels and stretch your shoulders forward to the floor. You can then lay your hands alongside your torso with the palms up and release the shoulders further towards the floor….ahhhh nice…You can stay in this position for a couple of minutes.
If you want to release your hamstrings too you might want to come up to a Downward Facing Dog. The yogis amongst the gidgets will know this pose very well too: From the child’s pose, place your hands in front of you again about shoulder width apart, curl your toes under and press up and back into Downward Facing Dog. Feet should also be hip width apart with the outside edges of your feet parallel to one another. Make sure your legs are firm, lift your knee caps, bum up in the air and heels down. It’s a nice release for the shoulders, hamstring and a great stretch for the spine.
You stay there for a few breaths and once you are done come back into Child’s pose again. You can repeat that a couple of times and you’ll be ready for your next surf before you know it.
However, now that it’s winter, most people don’t get as much surf in as usual because the days are so much shorter. One, if we are lucky…Yoga in general, is a great way to keep you mobile and flexible during the winter months. I found yoga also greatly improved my balance and made me a much better surfer. I always notice too when I teach beginners who do yoga as well they are so quick to pop up and have a great balance from their practice.
The other thing, which makes yoga a great exercise for the common gidget, is that it’s a great stretch for arms and shoulders rather than building additional muscles to already massive surf guns. I know many surfie girls are not fans of their big arms so that’s a way to keep them toned without extra meat…
Hipster exercises for the beginner gidget
If you are a beginner gidget, however, you still want to build up strength in your guns. Strong arms are key for paddling and pop ups. Yoga is great for that too. At Kate’s studio they offer sessions called ‘Flow Warrior’ – a combination of Yoga and Weights. Or they do something called Flow TRX Yoga for extra strength. As the name suggests, that’s a combination of TRX and yoga.
Now, most of you have probably heard of yoga but are thinking what the hell is TRX, I only just figured out what spin classes are… Well, it’s pretty much a piece of equipment that consists of two Nylon straps, handles and foot cradles which is suspended from the ceiling. You can put your hand or feet in and you can do all sorts of full body movements. Apparently, it’s the latest hipster hype. Worth a try…even though it looks like hard work to me, it seems to do wonders for your core strength, which comes in handy when you are a surfer.
I’m quite bad at cardio so I’ve got my eye on the Flow Bike Asana, where you have 30 minutes on a spin bike and 30 minutes on the Yoga mat. I hope that’s not going to kill me…I might have to stick to surfing after all. The best for surfing fitness, I find, is still to get out there and surf as much as you can.
No doubt, you body will thank you for a good stretch now and then, and if you throw the odd cardio and weights in to mix it up a bit. Especially during the winter months when it’s a no-go for the after work surf, you might want to visit a Yoga studio or something the likes. If you live somewhere around Paddington, I can only recommend to dropping by at Flow Athletic. I’m really excited for Kate. It’s a great space they’ve got there and you can tell lots of love and attention to detail has gone into this place along with lots of innovative classes.
Oh and even more exciting, the first five who book a private surf lesson with Venus Goes Gidet, now get a free session of your choice at Flow Athletic. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to find out more.