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The Dragon Slayer’s Predicament Vol. 2: Getting Back Into Surfing Shape

I don’t care how lean and mean and physically fit you happen to be going in to your next surf trip. If you’ve forgotten how to ride a board, or have no idea what you might want to be working on in the sessions to come, the dragons might just end up slaying you. In the last installments, I have come through with the foundations of a surf-specific swimming workout plan and a surf strength building exercise regimen designed to facilitate a surfer’s return to the water after a long hiatus. Now, I return with the last, but certainly not the least important component of the program:

Board Skills and Drills for the Landlocked Surfer

Think of this as your reward for persevering through the swim and strength workouts.

Skate: I’m talking about skateboarding, surfing’s highly spirited little stepbrother. I love them both (almost equally). Any effort you put into your skate progression when you’re not surfing will benefit you tremendously when you’re back in the water. I’m especially talking about bowl and transition skating, but parking lot sessions and bombing hills can be effective and fun ways to prep too. Don’t go out and break your wrist or anything, but do work on your flow, fluidity, and style. Anyone who both skates and surfs will tell you that discovering new lines on concrete, can open your eyes to a whole new creative dimension back in the water. Similarly, there’s a ton of skating techniques/tricks that can be transferred to surfing with remarkable compatibility(and vice versa). So get out and skate! To get you going, here are a few ideas that some of my dragon slaying buddies and I are working on for the next session.

Rando brings power and speed to his lefts, both in and out of the water.

Maneuvers like this backside smith hack along with 50/50s, 5.0s, and board slides (too name a very few) are not just fun, but they can help your surfing too. If you can’t seem to figure out some aspect of your surfing or if you’ve got a weakness that’s bothering you, use your skating to help address it. Let’s say you’re a goofy footer who can never stay committed on a floater going right. I would prescribe you a few sessions on the mini where you work on 50/50s, turns, hacks, whatever you can do to actualize some progression between now and your next paddle out. Don’t make the same mistake twice. If something’s not working, change it up. Take advantage of the stationary medium you’re riding and get some practice in.

I’ve been working on this Rastovich-esque, two-handed layback in the deep end of the bowl. I try to go as fast as I can and keep the force on my feet.

No matter what level you happen to be at in skating, if you put in some effort you will progress and it will be fun. The most important thing in this program is not doing ‘tricks’ per say, but rather using the skateboard to simulate being on a surfboard. Improving balance, going fast into turns, and pumping strong are things I work for in both my skating and my surfing. It almost always seems that progression in one precipitates progression in the other.

Andrew has been skating this bowl wearing a 5mm wetsuit with a hood so that he’s nice and comfortable executing grab-less air like this one out on the Oregon coast this winter. By the way he can do 100 pull ups in six sets and has been known to swim 10×100 meters butterfly in 15 minutes. No joke.

Hope you enjoyed The Dragon Slayer’s Surf Workout Program. Good luck.

Posted by Caleb on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 in Surfing.


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