So what is the best way to get fit for a big surf holiday while you are busy back at home, with all the pressures and distraction every day living brings? We believe there are 3 things you should do. The first 2 should be part of your long term commitment to personal health and fitness and the last is aimed at giving you a real fitness boost before you go on holiday.
The first thing you need to take care of is your general level of endurance. You need to be fit enough to go hard for 10 – 15 minutes minimum as often this is the minimum paddling requirement for getting through the breakers and out the back. I believe this fitness requirement needs to be a little more specific than “general endurance”. I believe you need to have a base level of “water endurance” or water fitness. Surfers and swimmers have an inate feel for the water. It is very different to exercising on land. It has a different type of co-ordination and efficiency. The fittest runner can be a disaster in the water, burning up all their energy and getting nowhere.
So to cover off this requirement, you should be swimming or surfing at least twice a week, every week of the year. Do not leave it till a month before your holidays, it is impossible to develop water fitness in such a small span of time. If you love surfing, you will love the water. Make it a part of your life. Then, in the month leading up to your holiday, increase you workload by 1 or 2 sessions a week and make your sessions much more intensive. This will give you a little fitness boost pre-arrival.
The second key to surfing fitness is flexibility, balance and core strength. Once again, this is not something you want to leave till the last minute, rather something you want to develop over time as part of your commitment to surfing, health and fitness. Yoga is the answer here. Yoga is so good for surfing fitness, it is almost as if it was invented purely with the surfer in mind. Not only does yoga help you improve your flexibility, balance and core strength, it also re-aligns and re-balances your body back into its natural and healthy position, away from the imbalanced position which surfing causes. For example, even the simple act of paddling requires you to over-arch your back, creating a distortion in the development of your back muscles. Yoga sorts all these types of issues out, as well as conditioning your body. My advice, get yourself a surf specific yoga DVD and do it 2 or 3 times a week.