Training ideas to keep you ripping in the New Year
The year 2023 is going to be a good year. With winter swells stacking up and local mountains getting hammered by snow, the next few weeks could be something truly special.
It’s that magical time of year in which you can score overhead waves and offshore winds in the morning, then beeline it straight to the slopes and shred all afternoon. There aren’t many places in the world that this is possible, so if you haven’t taken advantage yet, now’s definitely the time to get busy.
And speaking of getting busy, there are probably more than a few folks out there reading this who have arrived in the New Year with a resolution or two—be it getting back into surfing after years away from the lineup or challenging themselves to ride bigger or heavier waves.
Whatever the resolution, be the positive change you seek, and in the words of the late, great Bob Marley, “Don’t bury your thoughts; turn your visions into reality.”
When it comes to tuning up for the surf life, if you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you’ll know I’m a huge advocate of swimming for fitness. I’ve never figured out why more surfers don’t dedicate time to training in the pool; it’s so good in so many ways.
For starters, swim training is really good for the endurance one needs when the waves are pumping, especially for those who may be getting a little long in the tooth. We live in an area where it can go flat for a few weeks at a time, and surfing alone may not be enough to allow you to perform the way you want to when the waves do come up.
Regular swim conditioning solves this issue. Training in the pool can help you paddle circles around the crowd when it’s big.
And while swimming is great for endurance, it may be even better for competitors looking for an edge over their rivals in the water. Think about what it takes to win a 20- or 30-minute heat. There’s a lot of sprinting, a lot of battling for priority, and when the wave of the day does come in, you’d best be ready to give it your all.
Sprint workouts in the pool and improved stroke technique can be a powerful point of differentiation. In talking with some of the world’s most elite pros, they often point out that it’s hard to find a pool to train in when they’re on the road. Luckily, if you live in Dana Point or San Clemente, there is no shortage of great facilities that are open to the public. No excuses!
I’m also a big believer in forms of exercise like Pilates and yoga that will allow you to develop strength and flexibility without gaining extra mass.
Full transparency, my wife owns Align Pilates and Yoga Center in San Juan Capistrano, so I may be a bit biased, but I really believe that Pilates and yoga can help you stay in the water, surfing better for longer.
As a middle-aged computer jockey, I’m not so much interested in hammering weights in the gym; I’d rather stay loose and limber. Pilates and yoga will help with strength and flexibility and, in turn, can reduce the potential for injury.
I believe that surfing should always be fun. That’s why we all started in the first place. But that doesn’t mean all those good times don’t require a little work. Whether you aspire to join the world tour or are just hoping to keep surfing into old age, putting in some hard yards in the pool or yoga studio will always pay off in the end.