I’ve never really been the kind of person to do a proper warm up before surfing. I arrive at the beach, I see the surf pumping, I may quickly bend down and touch my toes in a loose manner but then I’m straight onto my board and paddling out.
I’ve been told by many people that stretching before paddling out isn’t actually as effective as it’s praised to be. But recently I have done a little more research. Having spent the last year injured and definitely not paying enough attention to my body, I am now just getting back into shape and realising the importance of post surf stretching and warm up. The deep stretches and yoga can definitely be saved for after your surf session, but should not be ignored. They are incredibly important for flexibility, core strength and recovery. However these stretches aren’t ideal for your pre surf warm up.
Essentially what we want to do before any vigorous sport activity is gradually increase the heart rate, raise your body temperature, and start moving the body into positions that we will be using whilst surfing. One of the benefits I love of this warm up is that it will have you performing better from wave one. Instead of paddling out to the line up and wasting your first couple of waves to get into rhythm, you’ll paddle straight out there and be ripping from the moment you pop up. Your mind will be more focused, your muscles ready to contract, and you are also reducing the chances injuries.
I have chosen several dynamic stretching exercises, which I now do before every surf session. I can really praise the benefits. From the moment I hit that water, my body is awake, my muscles are ready to perform, and my mind is focused. And what’s even better is that it doesn’t even take 5 minutes.
1. Lunges: walk forward four, holding each lunge for 2 seconds, and then walk back four. Pull in though your core. Repeat 3 times.
2. Squats: 15 squats. Get your bum really close to the floor, and spring back up.
3. Torso twists. With floppy arms, swing left and right.
4. Torso twists. Rigid arms, and turn your head to look behind. 15 twists.
5. Explosive twists. Squat down low “hands over your rails” position, and then explode up and twist into the opposite direction, turning your shoulders and head. 10 starting on the left side and exploding up and to the right. And then 10 vice versa.
6. Lower back warm up. Lie on the sand, hips at 90 degrees and knees at 90 degrees and let your legs fall left and then fall right.
7. Same again, but shorter, more explosive twisting movements back and forth. Use you core and your stomach muscles to pull your legs back and forth.
8. Lie on your back with your arms stretched open. Straighten your left leg and kick over to your right hand. Then repeat on the other side, right foot to left hand. Repeat 10 times.
9. Warm up the hamstrings. Standing up and using your board as a balance, kick you left leg as high as you can, swinging it backwards and forwards. Repeat with the right leg. 10 each side.
10. Fast scissor lunges to get the heart rate high, followed by some high jumping jacks