Surfing fitness and paddling are one and the same as being able to swim. The benefits of being able to swim, especially ocean swim are numerous.
Anyone who surfs knows that paddling endurance is essential, arm, shoulder, core and basic overall strength and flexibility. We spend more time paddling than we do actually surfing on a wave. Plus, all leashes can break at some point so being a strong swimmer is crucial, especially if you are heading out into bigger waves.
Swimming requires plenty of stamina but surfers require stamina plus short bursts of energy and strength for paddle power to get out the back and onto waves. Because of this, surfers need something different from just traditional swim training if you want to build up stamina to continue paddling for wave after wave. Ideal training for surfing is swimming laps in a pool but you need some variation with drills. The best surfers in the world are all excellent swimmers. Get some good goggles and hit the pool and imagine yourself at the backline on a big day without a board. Designing your swim programs to help your surfing makes it easier to get motivated to jump in the pool and train.
Due to the physical nature of surfing, pool training usually involves some kind of breath work to improve lung capacity, cardiovascular health, which also helps in keeping calm through wipeouts. Yoga training also helps the body make efficient use of oxygen, as well.
Swimmers and surfers use essentially the same muscles for propulsion but for different purposes and in slightly different ways. Freestyle swimming involves pulling the body through the water, keeping the body line long and straight while rotating the torso and kicking with the legs for more propulsion.
Paddling a surfboard is similar to freestyle swimming with regard to the 'pulling' part of the stroke. Like swimming, the powerful muscles of the lats, back, arms and core are constantly engaged to paddle while keeping the body on the board and the head up.
If you want an individual swim program to help improve and enhance your surfing fitness and breath control
contact me to discuss.
Photos courtesy of www.maggielangtry.com.au
Are you looking to buy a wetsuit for open water/ocean swimming?
It’s Autumn, the sunrises are epic but it means the water will inevitably start to cool down soon.
As a swim coach I spend a lot of time in the water and my wetsuit is an important piece of kit.
I wear a wetsuit for many reasons but number one is warmth, your core temp can drop very quickly in cool water, especially if you’re teaching and not actually swimming. Another reason is comfort. A wetsuit can also improve and help your speed and confidence through buoyancy.
As a regular surfer and swimmer I’ve tried a few wetsuits over the years and they vary greatly.
For swimming (ocean pool or open water) I prefer to wear a 2XU brand wetsuit as I like the fit, material and comfort, there are of course many brands on the market for you to explore, I’m not endorsing any particular brand here, it comes down to what fits best and works for you (including price).
A wetsuit's primary purpose is to keep you warmer, which can help you stay comfortable in the water for longer and reduces your risk of hypothermia. A wetsuit can also provide the extra lift you need, which will make it easier for you to float as you calm down and focus on lowering your heart rate.
Remember, a wetsuit is not designed to keep you completely dry. They work by trapping a thin layer of water between your body and the wetsuit material, letting your body warm the water to a comfortable temperature. The thicker your wetsuit, the longer and warmer your body will remain in the water.
Flexibility, one of the most important features of a wetsuit that’ll help you move freely in the water. If you use a regular wetsuit for swimming, this added flexibility and the ability to move your arms and legs freely, will be restricted.
Swimming wetsuits are designed to be highly flexible in all the right places to ensure your swimming is effortless. Your wetsuit should fit comfortable against your skin, without restricting arm, leg or body movements but snug enough that water can't easily get in.
Wetsuit thickness is measured in millimetres, represented with two numbers separated by a slash. The first number represents the thickness of the neoprene in the torso area, the second number represents the thickness of the neoprene in the extremities.
Fit and comfort are the most important considerations when it comes to buying a wetsuit. You may have a $1,200 wetsuit but if it doesn't fit correctly then you won't comfortable, warm or efficient.
Swimming wetsuit should:
1. Have no excess material or extra folds.
2. Be comfortably snug but not too tight.
3. Provide a full range of motion in arms and shoulders.
4. Feel comfortable and not too tight around the neckline.
Unlike traditional surfing wetsuits, open water or swimming wetsuits are designed to allow for more flexibility and range of motion in the water. This helps you to swim without feeling restricted in any way possible.
A good wetsuit will play an important role in enabling you to swim through winter, if you dislike the cold like me. Whether you are swimming for recreation, training or racing, wetsuits provide you with additional features and benefits that will not only keep you warm but can help your swimming.
If you are looking for some advice and help with choosing a wetsuit - please shoot me an email
Swimming for surfers
No matter how much you want to surf, sometimes there are days when going out is just not an option.
So what to do...?
When conditions due to weather or otherwise make surfing impossible, keeping in shape for surfing is best achieved by staying in the water. Swim sessions are strong workouts for surfing, such as paddling and breath control.
It is a good idea to mix up your program to keep it interesting and prepare your body for different conditions and circumstances in the ocean.
Feel comfortable and confident with your ability and skills in the ocean.
Contact Linda for Learn to Swim, Introduction to Ocean Swimming, Ocean Swim Skills and Stroke Correction lessons.