…that’s what I thought until I got reminded again that I’m maybe not. Just recently, when I was in the Blue Mountains, I started huffing and puffing after walking 100m up the bloody hill. Or painful memories come to mind, when I’m thinking about my poor attempts to cycle to work. Ouchie, my thighs burning like hell after a few minutes into the cycle.
I guess it depends on how you define ‘fit’. If we are talking paddle fit, most surfers are probably up there. I can paddle for quite a while until I get tired arms and can do a few duck dives without running out of breath. Fair enough, some people may call that fit. But like with anything, it’s good to mix it up a little anyway. Most pro-surfers partake in some serious training in addition to their normal surfpractice (not like in the old days when lifting beer jugs was as far as it got to with additional exercise).
Even though most of us don’t necessarily aspire to pro-surfer-like-fitness, mixing it up a bit will improve your (cardio) fitness and probably improve your surfing.
I’ve explored a few options on what else you could do (when I say ‘’I”, I don’t necessarily mean I’ve tried it but prefer to rely on fellow gidgets reports) that may or may not complement your surfing or just help to get rid off some excess energy when you are bouncing off the walls after a flatspell:
Soft sand running
I’m not talking about just running which is hard enough, but running in deep sand. That gets your heart rate up in no time. My deepest respect for anyone who can run more than two laps without breaking down red faced (that’s me). Not my favourite of all but probably the fastest way to get your cardio up.
If you are a surfer you are a waterbaby, so swimming seems like a natural extension of surfing. I love to go for a swim or a body surf for fun if there is no surf but I have to admit I’m not a big fan of swimming laps in a pool and far too scared of swimming the bay. It definitely helps to keep your paddle fitness up over periods of flatspells.
If you want to get really fit, try that one. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program. It was originally designed for police academies and special operations units. You get the drill. A friend of mine swears by it. She’s totally hooked. I reckon it’s similar to the boot camp style stuff that’s going on everywhere at the moment. Looks like hard work to me and pretty full on. I’m not sure if I could do that on top of surfing.
I’ve really considered that one. I used to cycle all the time as a kid. Cycling is good for you. You are out and about, keeps you fit and on top of it, it’s good for the environment and by far the fastest mode of transport in Sydney (even beats the scooter). So you don’t even have to make extra time for it. You just cycle to work. If it was not for that massive steep hill up Bondi Road..
Before you start yawning and wonder what the hell golf has to do with surfing or exercise for that matter, remember the bestest of all surfers Mr Kelly Slater himself is a great golfer. Not just because of Kelly, but I find it quite relaxing and a nice alternative to any full on sweaty type of exercise. It’s great mental training, helping you focus. And come on, who will want to do soft sand running when it’s really hot outside?
My personal favourite out of all. I just love a good stretch after lots of surfing/sitting in the office. I swear it has also improved my surfing heaps balance wise. The only thing I don’t like is that most yoga classes are indoors which is not that much fun on a hot summer’s day. Having said that, there are outdoor options too in the Eastern suburbs like Yoga by the Sea for example.
There are lots and lots of options which are no doubt great for you and your surfing. I’m sure you find what works best for you. Don’t forget though, sometimes just give your body a rest and have the day off from any exercise.