Fit to Surf
The Surfer’s Guide to Strength and Conditioning by Rocky Snyder
Copyright© 2003 by Rocky Snyder. All rights reserved.
You must cite the author and source of this content if you wish to use or reprint it in any form.
A surfer requires not only flexibility and strength for heavy paddling, but also muscular endurance to maintain stamina for an entire surf session. In creating an effective endurance program of cardiovascular activities, four elements are critical.
Increasing or upgrading any one of these elements will increase the demands placed on your body as it works to develop the cardiovascular fitness essential to endurance. These elements are:
- Frequency: The number of times the endurance exercise is performed in a particular period of time.
- Duration: The length of time it takes to perform the exercise.
- Intensity: The effort level reached during the exercise.
- Type: The choice of exercise performed in a workout.
The following are cardiovascular exercises that are either specific to surfing or can serve as cross-training activities (such as stair climbing or running). The detailed programs to chapter 9 include these exercises and offer recommendations on duration and intensity of the workouts.
It's helpful at this point to understand the overload principle – the general idea that by overloading or exhausting muscles in a careful, systematic manner, physiological changes will occur that make the muscles stronger and more durable. A man who performs as many push-ups as he possibly can each day will eventually grow stronger, because he has regularly taxed his muscles to a point of fatigue. This principle will come into play as you develop a program of increasingly rigorous endurance activities.
It may sound obvious, but to become a stronger paddling machine, a surfer needs to paddle. A simple way to vary the intensity of your paddling workouts is to use boards of different lengths. A short surfboard is less buoyant than a longer surfboard, creating more drag as you move through the water and requiring more effort to paddle. For training, you can start with a longer board and progress to shorter boards to increase the intensity of the workouts.