Happy New Year! 5 Resolutions For a Better Surf Year

So you want to be a better surfer in 2007? You might have already made some goals for yourself: Surf bigger waves. Get in the water more often. Surf as fast as Taj Burrow. Do airs like Jordy Smith. These are all great goals! We came up with our own list to make you a fitter, healthier, and environmentally-minded surfer in 2007. Happy new year!

1. Work it out.

Experts---including the American College of Sports Medicine---recommend that to improve your health, you should do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week.

Given this simple guideline, if you aren't surfing five days a week at a moderate intensity, you aren't getting enough exercise! With work, family, and other obligations, most surfers I know aren't getting in the water that often. That's where a supplemental exercise program comes in. We recommend a comprehensive, easy-to-follow workout like Surf Stronger(TM), The Surfer's Workout. It has everything you want in a good workout: aerobic exercise, muscular strength and endurance conditioning, and flexibility training. The workout is designed for the demands and rigors of surfing. If you have to exercise, why not do a workout that will improve your surfing? Our second favorite exercise for surfers is swimming. In the U.S., masters swimming offers coached workouts and even instruction for beginners. (Note: Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.)

2. Keep it clean.

As surfers we are blessed to surf this wonderful blue planet of ours. But often we take clean water and coastal access for granted. We presume the water will always be clean and access will always be open. When this is not the case, we think, "Someone should do something about this!" Well, that someone is you. The best way to ensure a clean, healthy surf environment is to get involved and take action. Whether you pick up beach trash on every go-out or support an environmental group like Surfrider Foundation or Save The Waves Coalition, you are part of the solution. You can also help with your purchase decisions. Look for and support companies that are part of 1% For The Planet. These companies pledge 1% of revenues to environmental causes.

3. Eat Right.

For optimal health, we are supposed to eat five to eight servings of fruits and veggies per day. Sounds daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Some helpful tips:

  • For starters, pick fruits and veggies that are in season. Local and organic produce is the best. When you are at the market, ask the produce guy which fruits and veggies are his favorites. He'll steer you in the right direction. The more color variety in your produce, the better.
  • For an easy post-surf snack, try Valencia or Navel oranges, which are delicious in the winter months. Cut them up into wedges and put them in a baggie to enjoy after your session. One large orange equals two servings.
  • Blend up a berry smoothie. Raspberries or blueberries are great in a shake. Take a handful of berries, 1 cup lowfat yogurt, some crushed ice, and 1 cup soy milk. Blend for 1 minute. You'll have an antioxidant-rich, tasty snack that provides one serving of fruit and is packed with calcium, protein, and vitamin C to help your post-surf recovery.

4. Block up, plug in.

Surfing is great exercise, but you'll want to protect yourself from the elements. The sun's harsh rays can cause premature skin damage and lead to skin cancer. Use a good sunblock before every go-out. We like longtime favorite BullFrog and newer Blue Lizard. Don't forget the top of your ears and under the tip of your nose. Apply sunscreen on a daily basis, even out of the water. Make it a habit to visit your dermatologist once a year.

You'll want to practice similar preventive measures with your ears, especially if you surf in cold water. Years of exposure to cold water and wind can lead to Surfer's Ear. To help prevent this condition, wear earplugs, or keep your ears covered with a hood. Mack's ear plugs (available at most drug stores) are comfortable and inexpensive.

5. Mix it up

It's been said that "variety is the spice of life" and this is true in the world of surfing. This year, try mixing up your wave riding sleds. If you've only long boarded, try a mid-length or a fish. If you are a die hard short boarder, take out a 9'6" log on a small summer day. You will be amazed at how fun and enlightening it can be to surf on something completely different from your normal board. Borrow a friends, or pick up a beater at a garage sale and experiment this year! Same goes for all your active life: Get on a skateboard if you haven't skated in awhile, or try paddle boarding on a flat summer day. Mix it up this year and keep your surfing fresh!

Stay healthy, and see you in the water!

~Todd

About Todd: Todd has been surfing and swimming almost his entire life. He's surfed every spot between San Francisco and San Diego but calls the Central Coast home. He's also competed and won many an open-water swim copmetition from the Alcatraz Swim to Catalina 5K, to Santa Cruz 2 Mile.

Todd developed a keen interest in "fitness as a lifestyle" after beach lifeguarding in Santa Barbara, Calif. for several seasaons and then getting into Masters Swimming. Reach Todd at: todd AT surf stronger DOT com.

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Disclaimer: Always consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. The suggestions here are in no way intended to substitute for medical advice.