We all want to surf better, right? Those of use who love surfing usually love a challenge, and are always striving to improve our skills. One of the most important factors in surfing is balance. The other is core stabilization- finding grace and stillness while engaged in dynamic interaction with the strongest force in nature- mother Ocean.
So to train yourself to balance better, and strengthen the core- what does one do? Here are some choices for the aspiring shredder.
Huh? What? Cross over to the dark side? Seriously, paddling is a great core workout and also strengthens the shoulders and back. It requires balance to stay upright, and once you’ve got the hang of the basics, a paddle board is an awesome place to practice your long boarding tricks- cross-stepping, walking the nose, stepping hard on the tail and swinging the nose to turn. It’s a great alternative on a day with little swell, and the truth is… It’s actually really fun.
Grab a Bosu trainer, which looks like half a stability ball mounted to a flat piece of plastic. Take the fins off your board, toss her on top of the ball part and jump on- this is a great way to “fake” surf when you’re away from the water. When placed with the ball side down, a person can stand on the plastic side and work on stabilizing the core by keeping the feet even. Squats are a great option here, as are lunges. Also, using a Bosu to de-stabilize your plank (push-up position) by keeping the toes on the Bosu will strengthen the abdominals.
If there’s one way to improve your balance, it’s slack lining. Originally practiced mostly by rock climbers, a slack line is a long nylon flat cord that, when stretched between two anchors, can be carefully balanced upon and walked across. The inspirational YogaSlackers developed a habit of even practicing yoga on the lines. Afraid of heights? A slack line can be set just a few feet above ground, allowing for a short fall. Even attempting to stand for a few minutes gives an incredible core workout and trains the little muscles to balance better. In time, slack lining becomes a moving meditation, linking the mind, body, and breath.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everyone and their mom has told you that yoga will improve your surfing… still haven’t tried it? You’re missing out. Yoga helps to train the body evenly, increase respiratory capacity, improve flexibility, and calm the mind. Yoga will not only improve your surfing, it will likely improve your mental clarity, self-esteem, and overall health and well-being.
Just not into it? Maybe give it a shot just once. San Diego is the yoga mecca of the west, and here we have a veritable smorgasbord of yoga options. You like sweat? Bikram, Ashtanga, or power yoga might be up your alley. Rather not be dripping buckets while stretching? Try restorative, Hatha, Kundalini, or Yin yoga. Wanna get crazy? Try acro-yoga, which combines acrobatics with the wisdom of yoga and the therapeutics of Thai massage. You’ll get to explore the boundaries of what your body can do- and maybe even fly! Yoga is for everyone- you just gotta find which flavor you like.
Want more tips for improving your surfing and/or overall well-being? Come back soon for tips on visualization- and find out how to “Conceive it, Believe it, and Achieve it.”