If you’re a surfer, you’re an athlete. You can train to improve your athleticism. You can train to be a better surfer.
What makes an athlete? Is a surfer an athlete? How about a kite-surfer, or wakeboarder? What qualifies someone as an athlete, and what specific traits deem someone to be considered athletic? This is a rather complex question with an array of potential answers.
Some may say that the previous mentioned activities do not even classify as a sport or athletic endeavor. I would first ask that individual if they had personally ever attempted the previously mentioned activities, and would assume a response of “no”. For amusement sake, I’d like to see that individual then make a couple of attempts, and after a few laughs on their part I have no doubt they would admonish their previous statement.
Agility, strength, speed, power, balance, reaction time, endurance, balls, and sheer will: these are the attributes that any strength coach, no matter what sport he/she is involved in would claim as prerequisites for an athlete. These are the very traits needed by a surfer, both physical and mental, and possessed with rare abundance by today’s professional surfers. Laird Hamilton, Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Andy and Bruce Irons, are the epitome of athleticism. The ability to stand on an inch thick piece of foam, make instantaneous reactions, explosively power down the line, carving a roundhouse, and hanging ten are all displays of incredible athleticism and abilities. Not to mention that some of that is accomplished with a giant wall of water pounding down inches behind you into a foot of reef lined water.
If you surf, YOU ARE AN ATHLETE! If you have a desire to be a better surfer, then you must realize you can improve yourself and your abilities.
While most of us do not have the natural raw talent, the fortune to grow up steps from the ocean, or the sheer courage to take on what the surf pros accomplish, we all have the ability to increase and improve the various components of athleticism. Bottom line, surfing is one of the most demanding of all activities and sports due to the broad scope of what the act necessitates. Paddle=endurance. Pop-up requires explosive strength and core stability. Simply sitting on a surfboard requires an uncanny amount of equilibrium reflexes. The list goes onto include all the bio-motor profiles that comprise athletic abilities; strength, balance, coordination, mental stamina, will, endurance, etc. As the vast majority of us are not inherently gifted with such athletic attributes we have to work to improve these abilities so that you can surf more, surf stronger, surf efficiently, and have more fun. We as modern day surfers must
also take steps to correct all of the negative aspects of current lifestyles which will impede upon your abilities, and also promote injuries. Hurt shoulders don’t help you surf!
Athleticism is efficiency of movement, and fluidity of body dynamics. You move with ease and your intention of movement occurs readily. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be putting forth exercises, stretches, recipes, lifestyle improvements, and health information, all with the intention to increase your overall athleticism and surfing abilities. Basically, it will make you a healthier human being, and develop a more efficient body, and that is simply awesome.