Ways to Stay Surf Fit

Four or five hours a day paddling around is bound to keep you ‘fit to surf’.
But after ten years of riding everything that rolled up at my local beach and suffering frost bitten fingers, toes, nuts and nose in the depths of a Cornish winter, I did start to think I was a little bit obsessed with the whole surfing thing. I mean, crunching your way down to the waterline through 3 inches of snow. Paddling out and suffering a dozen ‘ice cream headaches’ in quick succession only to look back towards the beach and see huge icicles hanging from the cliffs.
Pretty special but it was cold!!

Then somebody put me on a mountain bike & I was instantly set free. The adrenalin rush was just as good (if not better at the time) than my beloved surfing. I could not believe I had missed out on this fantastic rush all these years.

Setting off down a steep narrow muddy forest track was just the best feeling. Racing around blind corners only to find an even steeper drop than before or a granny walking her dog, angrily shaking her walking stick. I even got a sick pleasure out of the uphill bits!
It was real good to find another sport that I enjoyed just as much as surfing and was also seriously good exercise.

I’ve also always enjoyed swimming up to a point. Splashing around as a kid at the local pool with your mates was always great fun. But when it comes to swimming miles, up and down the same old pool looking at the same broken tiles, Length after length, same same same. How boring! I even spotted a turd rolling around one day! It sort of put me off public swimming pools.
Now I get in the Ocean with a mask and snorkel. When it’s flat calm its usually good visibility and great for checking out the pretty fish on the reef. I started on this one because I hadn’t been snorkeling for years and now I live in Thailand I figured it was time to see what was lurking under the surface of the Andaman Ocean.

Once I had got to know each fish personally and we were on first name terms, I sort of got bored with the reef so I started to venture out a bit and before I knew it I was swimming a triangular circuit out to a big yacht anchored a good 600 metres of the beach, back to the other end of the beach from where I started and then along the beach to my starting point.

This was great, lots more fun than a dodgy swimming pool. The mask and snorkel cancelled out all that breathing technique you had to have mastered if you wanted to swim any distance. There is lots to see and with the mask it’s like watching a Jacques Cousteau documentary on a wide screen TV. So again, it’s great exercise and means staying in shape is a much more fun.
Now pardon me for going all ‘hippy’ but lately I’ve taken to the ancient art of Yoga. I’ve always had respect for folks that practice Yoga but have found it a bit embarrassing to be lying around the beach stretching and contorting in all manner and form. I practice secretly in my bedroom so as to reduce the risk of having sand kicked in my face.

It really does make you feel much stronger and extra bendy. In the words of an expert on the subject ‘Yoga focuses the mind, strengthens the body and invigorates the spirit”. Just what you need when you’re pulling in to those ‘spitting barrels’.

Choose Surfboard Fins

First, consider these fin characteristics:

  • Depth – The maximum height of a fin as measured from the bottom surface of the board. This shows how far the fin goes in the water. The hold of the surfboard increases with more depth but generally makes it harder to turn as well. 3-4 inch depth is standard on tri-fins and longboard single fins typically have a depth of nine inches.
  • Template – The fin outline.
  • Base – The length of the fin where it joins the surfboard. Increasing length adds forward drive, but makes it harder to turn. Shortboard tri-fins usually have a 3.5-4.5 inch base, longboard single fins are about 6 inches.
  • Foil – The horizontal curve of the fin, measured from the front edge to trailing edge.
  • Rake – The distance between the trailing edge of the fin base and the fin tip. This is the swept back characteristic of the fin. Increasing rake increases traction.
  • Tip – The top third of the fin. More tip means more hold.
  • Flex – Stiff fins are faster but flexible fins are easier to turn.

Second, consider the brands of surfboard fins available:

  • FCS – These fins are the most widely used surfboard fins in the world. The great things about FCS fins are the huge variety and the availability. You can almost always find a replacement at the nearest surf shop. Since FCS is the most common fin system, most surfboards come with that type of fin box. FCS makes a huge selection of fins. For fins with a softer edge try Pro-Tech. The are compatible with the FCS boxes. Installation is with a simple allen (hex) key.
  • Future – Probably the second most popular fin system in the US. They have some of the lightest fin boxes around, weighing in at about 26 grams/box. There are fins system for just about any type of surfboard out there. In particular, Future fins has an excellent selection of of Quad fins. There are also plenty of foils to choose from such as Vector, Vector 2, and the Scimitar. Future fins also install with a simple allen key.
  • Lokbox – These surfboard fins have one significant advantage over most other fin systems; they are adjustable. You can slide them forward and back to find the sweet spot for you. They are easily adjusted with a slotted screwdriver.
  • O’Fish’L – This is a snap in fin system. For those that love to experiment, this might be the fin system for you. You could even slap some fins in your boardshorts and change them in the water.
  • 4WFS – The “Four Way Fin System”. Four ways as in forward/back, cant/flair, toe-in/toe-out, or an entire fin replacement. The only problem with this system is there are so many choices you might go crazy tweaking just one set of fins.

If your having a surfboard custom shaped for you, another consideration is the type of fin system the shaper has worked with before. It might be better to go with one he or she knows well rather than risk an incorrect installation of an unfamiliar one.

With so many choices of fins/companies available, you shouldn’t have a problem finding something close to what you want. Study the different brands. They should have descriptions of the type of surf particular fins work best in. They usually have charts available for recommended weights of riders as well.

Once you have a system you like, it’s nice if all your surfboards use those types of fins. It makes it easier and cheaper to build a decent collection of fins that you can swap around and enjoy.

Benefits of Surfing

Surfing for Good Exercise

The great thing about surfing is that it is a fun and exciting activity. You would not even notice how long you have been out in the water catching waves. Other cardiovascular activities are not that fun. Some people go jogging, but sometimes it is not enough to motivate them. People who jog usually do a few rounds from what they normally have in plan. Some quit the moment they reach three rounds or just 10 minutes of running. Any exercise instructor will tell you that good exercise is not just about the intensity of your workout, but rather the amount of time spent performing it. When you are surfing, you are constantly moving your entire body, resulting in an excellent full body workout.

Discipline and Encouragement

Another benefit of surfing is that it gives discipline and encouragement. Surfing can also turn most couch potatoes into athletes. Those who get the surfing bug will be eager to wake up early morning even if they have regular work after the exercise. Some even turn surfing into a hobby, giving it more time than anything else. They start to enjoy it so much that they go surfing several times a week.

Younger Looking Benefits

The ocean is a good source of revitalising energy. Surfers love to ride waves that are a good distance off the shorelines. People who surf regularly can still perform well even if they are in their old 60s, 70s, and 80s. In fact, you will be surprised to even realise that older surfers do not look their age. Surfing will keep you in shape and looking healthier and younger.

Mental Benefits

The health benefits of surfing lessons do not only apply to your physical health. They also give you mental benefits. Surfing can reduce stress, and often gives surfers a calm and peaceful attitude about life, which is very beneficial for their psyche. The high stress of today’s world is very harmful for your mental wellbeing. Too much work and less exercise can take a toll on your health. Physical exercise such as surfing will help reduce the negative effects of stress in your life. Nothing beats going to the beach, feeling the cool breeze and the warm sun touching your skin. Surfing is a fun activity that helps you forget most of your daily problems.

Proper Nutrition

Surfing is an activity that works most of your body parts; therefore, you will need good nutrition to stay fit and healthy. You should always eat food rich in protein after you surf. This will help recover and repair burned out muscles. Always drink plenty of water and include fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Paddle Boarding

Today, I think most people who live near any body of water have either seen someone or heard something about this exciting new sport. Its the newest and fastest growing water sport in the world called “Stand up Paddle Boarding”. Its also referred to as paddle surfing or SUP short for “Stand Up Paddling”

Research has shown that this kind of activity goes back centuries in French Polynesia where indigenous tribes were seen standing on hollowed out logs. By the early 1950’s, beach boys in Hawaii were seen by tourists vacationing on the islands standing on their surfboards holding long wooden paddles. Today “Stand Up Paddling” boards are lighter, wider, faster and come in larger varieties of color ad design.

Currently, this sport is booming everywhere in the world. Races, events and competitions are being held in several countries including Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Canada and Australia. The average person who may not have ever competed in a sport before, are competing in SUP races worldwide.

Christina Boeri, a passionate paddle boarding enthusiast and good friend of mine just returned from her one week Hawaiian trip and said “Its everywhere, everybody is doing it, every car has at least one board strapped onto the roof.”

With Stand Up Paddle boarding, the possibilities are endless, if you want to ride waves it is a blast, if you want to explore and paddle beautiful flat-water lakes that is also a great adventure. I’ve witnessed people fishing on their boards, going down wild rapid rivers and as well as paddle surf the wake behind boats for long distances without a rope.

Some of the challenges beginners face when purchasing their first board, is what brand to buy, what size, shape, color and design. The choices are vast. New models and brands are being introduced to the market continuously. It is important to choose a board that is big enough to give you stability based on your weight and height. Another consideration would be the kind of paddling you intend to do.

Ridding waves and long distance speed paddling require completely different types of boards. Most people are purchasing what we call an “all a rounder” board witch has a typical length between a 10’6 to 11.’6. They are approximately 29 inches wide and 4 to 5 inches thick.

Many board companies will carry this category of paddleboard and this allows the user to catch waves and also paddle flat water. Boards will run you about $1000 to $2000 depending on the expected use. Paddles start at about $150 to $400 for top quality Carbon Fiber paddles.

The benefits of this new sport go way beyond the fun factor. The health benefits are fantastic and another bonus is that it works your mid section giving you an affective core workout. Paddleboard sale in the US will explode on that basis alone!

Personally, when I first tried this sport, I new within 5 minutes that I was hooked. The feeling of calmness and peace one experiences is so different than any other sport that I have ever done. It really is like walking on water!

Beginners should always get started on calm flat water and get a feel for the board and learn proper paddle strokes and balance. Paddle boarding schools all over the world make sure their customers have a positive experience by teaching their newbies in a relaxed calm body of water for their first outing.

Stay Safe When Surfing

Dangerous surfing situations can happen fast and without warning. Follow these tips to do your part to stay safe out in the water.

Know how to swim. You must be a strong swimmer to surf. Treading water won’t be good enough if you’re tossed from your board or pulled out by a rip.

Wear safety gear. Use a leash. You’ll avoid losing your board or having it hit others in the head, and it can help you find your way back to the surface if you get disoriented underwater. Rash guards, wetsuits, and booties will protect your body from cold waters, reefs, and the sun.

Watch out for rips. Rip currents can be exhausting at best, deadly at worst. Avoid them at all costs. Watch for “rivers” in the water, areas of faster or backward flowing current. The waves will look flatter or uneven in this area. If you do get caught, motion for help or start paddling parallel to the shore until you break free.

Practice sun safety. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses or a UV-blocking wetsuit top. More surfers die from skin cancer than drownings.

Don’t dive head first. Never dive head first into unknown waters. Neck injuries can be life-long and debilitating. If you’re taking a fall, extend a hand out in front of you and fall flat. This is especially important in surf breaks over reefs or in shallow areas.

Protect your head. Make sure you know where your board is at all times. A leash helps with this. Protect your head as you surface to avoid getting hit by your board.

Surf with a friend. Use the buddy system every time you hit the water. If you get in to trouble, you’ll have someone to help you.

Know your limits. Don’t attempt to tackle waves beyond your abilities and don’t rely on your leash to protect you. Leashes can break in big surf, which means you’ll be out there without your board in conditions you may not be able to handle.

Know And Practice Surf Etiquette

Surfing is a fun and laid-back sport full of camaraderie. A lot of this philosophy can be attributed to practicing good surf etiquette.

Watch out for other surfers. Hang on to your board so it doesn’t hit other surfers. Never ditch it if you can help it.

Wear a leash. Related to #1 above, a leash helps keep your board with you. You won’t have to swim after if it you lose it and you won’t have to worry about it hitting someone else.

Don’t paddle in front of others. Also called “snaking”, this involves paddling around someone to get ahead of him or her and closer to the wave in an attempt to gain right of way.

Practice right of way. The surfer closest to the curl has right of way. Don’t drop in on them. Wait for the next wave. Paddling surfers yield to surfers riding a swell.

Help others. If you see a surfer in trouble, help him or her. The ocean is no place to ignore someone in distress.

Keep these safety and etiquette tips in mind next time you’re out riding the waves and you’ll gain the respect of your fellow surfers, as well as come back from your excursion in one piece.

Stay Fit Diet For Surfer

A surfer should essentially focus on both pre-surfing and post-surfing diet plans.

Before you set out to surf, you need to make sure that you have completed your intake at least 45 minutes before you enter the waters.

Any food you might take will consist of one or more of the essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water in varied proportions.

There are hundreds and thousand of foods around. Diet can be confusing because digestive capabilities and individual food comfort differs between people. Before we go deep in to the many food choices, you should know that your digestive system and your natural intellect welcome food that is naturally friendly to your gut. Foods that are gut friendly are easy to digest and it makes you feel better and energetic post meal, as opposed to feeling heavy, sleepy and tired with unhealthy gut tiring foods.

What is comfortable to you might not be to someone else and vice versa. So, listen to your senses and decide on what you would take before and after surf.

Proteins without saturated fat, complex carbohydrates and whole grain, soy foods, diary foods low in fat, high fiber and nutrient rich foods are good pre-surf diet choices.

Holistic dieticians recommend, eat when you are hungry, and nothing if you are not. Your body demands food if it is in need of energy. Issues arise when you over feed or under feed it. Eat right enough for your hunger, because hunger is directly proportional to bodily needs.

Hunger compliant surfers are normally healthy, because they neither over eat nor under eat.

Oatmeal is best to you keep you energized for a long stay in water. Complement it with blueberries, nuts and raisins, fiber, easily digestible fats, and cinnamon for better digestion pre-surf.

Other choices of pre-surf food would be whole grain bread, granola, yoghurt, protein shakes, rice, black beans, tofu, energy chocolates or eggs with seasoned pepper

Those who develop leg cramps while on sea can consider including banana. Isotonic drinks also do help.

Those who do not have a lot of time for meals pre-surf can consider energy snacks like a fruit mix, fruit smoothies, nuts and raisins, muffins, peanut and banana, energy bars, or raw vegetables.

Heavy foods pre-surf over works the digestive system, leaving the body with less energy for the rest of the feats. So, have an energetic yet light diet pre-surf.

Post-surf is the time to relish your achievement for the day. You likely are hungry. Fish, grilled chicken, baked potatoes, French fries, steamed vegetables, tea or anything you like that is gut friendly.

Places To Learn Surfing In Costa Rica

The Caribbean

The conditions for surfing in the east coast do not last throughout the year as the waves are mainly the result of tropical storms. Therefore, it is not recommended for a novice to attempt surfing on this side. For new surfers, the Pacific Coast side is more of an option.

Pacific Coast

The west side of the coast can be further divided into three distinct regions, the North, Central and South.

North Pacific Coast

This is the most popular region for surfing in Costa Rica and has some great places for surfing.

Places such as Playa Naranjo have very strong winds, especially between December and March. This is a great place to stay and learn surfing due to its location. You can also camp here but a 4 wheel drive is a necessity here.

Tamarindo is a town with startling beauty which offers great surfing conditions for both novices and experienced surfers alike. The best conditions are found between December and April. Tamarindo also offers Spanish classes so if you were interested in learning Spanish too, you will have the best of both at your disposal.

Central Pacific Coast

Hermosa Beach in the Central Pacific region keeps its waters in a constant swell. The beach stretches for several miles so you can easily find a spot where it is not too crowded. The good thing is, this beach is easily accessible from San Jose.

South Pacific Coast

Playa Dominical has waves in store for all skill levels. This region features beautiful lush landscapes and coastal rainforests. This is the place to go if you want to pack light. Just don’t forget the wetsuit!

Afraid of Surfing

The most common injuries sustained during surfing are simple lacerations, which increase in frequency depending on the size of the waves and the quality of the ocean floor. Repetitive motion from paddling is also occasionally cited as a shoulder injury, although these tend to heal quickly. Unless extraordinary conditions persist, under which a surfer should not be in the water, the chance for head injury or broken bones are very slim compared to sports such as hockey or football.

The wildlife of the ocean is a major concern for some people who spend their time on a beach, would like to surf, but have too many reservations to get on a board and take to the ocean. Movies such as Jaws, disparate news stories, and a natural human fear towards predatory animals have all perpetuated an unfortunate and irrational terror of sharks, large fish, and sea-bound mammals. In reality, shark attacks are extremely rare, with only a small number reported in the United States each year, and only a handful of fatal attacks reported in the last century.

For many, vacations are a chance to get out and experience something new. When looking to surf, consider a longer stay or a group adventure by renting a South Mission Beach rental condominium today.

Standup Paddleboarding

Surfboards require waves for enjoyment of standup surfing. With SUPs, you do not need waves to have a good outing. All you need is a smooth body of water and a paddle especially designed and fitted to your height making it possible for you to standup paddle these big boards. They are big boards. But they are light enough for most people to carry and they have carrying handles or straps to make it easy.

This new sport allows you to get together with your friends, social groups, clubs, or just yourself and spend some leisure time on the water, sightseeing, cruising, and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

While you are paddling, you are getting good exercise and some special time alone or with your friends in a very healthy atmosphere. Many who ride a SUP use it for physical training. It is especially good for core, legs, and shoulder training. An hour of steady paddling will wear you out and give you a terrific workout. While you are training or just paddling, it will clear your mind and get your blood flowing for a good cardiovascular workout.

All you need to do is get a board and a paddle that are suited for you so that you will have a smooth stable ride. Proper sizing of your SUP and paddle is very important. It might also be a good idea for you to take a lesson or two from your local surf shop or water sports facility. The experts in the shop and your instructor will make sure that you make the proper choices.

SUPs range in price from $450 to $2,000. They come in different types and designs. There are beginner hard and soft SUPs, intermediate and professional SUPs. After you have taken your lesson, talk to the SUP instructor or shop owner, you will be able to make a good decision based on your own physical condition, size, and level of experience. Your desire and motivation will probably determine how much you decide to invest in your new SUP.

Long Board Tricks

Whatever trick you intend to perform on your long board, take the first few seconds on the wave to situate yourself on the board. Know where the front of your board is as well as what direction you are going. It might also help to determine how much longer you can ride the wave. You should also determine your “happy place” on the board. That is where you feel most comfortable while standing and riding on your board. Once you figure out where that is, remember it or mark it with a permanent marker. That will be your eternal reference point as your center of balance on the board.

Before you try to hang 10, you should practice moving forward and back on your board, using your permanent marker as your reference point. The best and quickest method of moving forward and backward on your board is to crisscross one foot in front of the other in a sideways fashion. Imagine you are walking on a tightrope sideways and you are walking in front of your marker and then in back of it. This movement is called cross stepping and is a crucial movement to master, should you like to perform other maneuvers on the long board.

When you feel you’ve mastered the cross step, you should be ready to hang 10. You have to be going fast enough on the wave to let you apply your body weight to the front of the board without falling off the wave. So, you need to accelerate by evenly distributing weight around your happy place. As you begin to gain momentum, you can then move forward on your board. Moving forward on your board has to happen steadily but quickly. You don’t want to move up too fast or the board will topple over nose first. Too slow and the weight in the front of your board will slow you down and the wave will continue on without you. It is perfectly acceptable to cross step forward and back until you finally make it all the way up the front of your board, but waves don’t last forever, so be sure to get there as quickly as you can.

When you’ve made it to the front of your board, all you have to do is get your toes over the tip of your board. Use your arms to keep your balance and enjoy. You can’t hang 10 for long, though, so crisscross back to your original position before you lose too much speed.