By physiotherapist, Claire van Poppel.
Spring is definitely here folks!
If you’re like me, you might be looking forward to dusting off that 3’2′ wetsuit after having the typical winter hiatus from surfing. Surfing in winter is HARD. It’s cold and miserable and means more gear: booties, hoods and even gloves! So, maybe spring is a better time to begin your surfing journey? This is also to those of you when you crawl out of your winter shell and re-commence where you left off in autumn (and that is absolutely okay!)
Yes, surfing is enjoyable, but it can also be extremely hard on the body. The positions your body finds itself in when you fall off, get dumped, ride a wave and the great times when you wear a big set on the head can be unpredictable. The stress through your back, shoulder and hips is not only high but unfamiliar for your body, especially if you have just had a bit of a break. Here is a quick list of things to help you return to surfing after your winter hiatus.
1. Check the waves and conditions are at your level of surfing. Surfing sometimes isn’t quite the same as riding a bike, it can take a while to return back to your previous level, so give yourself some leeway, maybe some forgiving conditions are a good place to start for your return.
2. WARM-UP! Make sure you move your body before getting into the water – whether you’re a beginner or an advanced surfer. I cannot stress
the importance of this enough. It doesn’t matter what you do; wave your arms and legs around, bend your back in every direction. Pop a few squats, lunges, high knees, burpees, mountain climbers. If you can activate your core, glutes and shoulders in some manner, your body will be at less risk of sustaining an injury and will be able to perform better.
Here’s a quick warm-up I find effective:
– Hip mobility
– Shoulder mobility
– Lumbar/thoracic rotational mobility
– Increase your heart rate
3. Be aware of how your body is feeling throughout your session.
a. Neck feeling stiff/sore from paddling? Have a break, move your neck around, look up/down/side to side, sit up on your board for a bit. Even lay on your back, give your extensors a break.
b. Long waits between sets and your hips start to pinch? Change your position, lay on your front/back or just float for a bit.
c. Know when to call it quits. Surfing is hard work. You are asking a lot from the body, it’s not surprising you get exhausted and sore. Don’t push it too far – that’s when injuries can occur. Call it quits and paddle in, there will be waves another day.
4. Last but not least. Have the BEST time. Enjoy the ocean. Enjoy the peace. Enjoy the quiet.
Just quickly – it can be common to sustain injuries when surfing. The two main reasons why injury occurs is due to overuse or acutely. To avoid overuse injuries please MAKE SURE you’re body is conditioned to surf and tackle the demands, there are absolutely ways to reduce your risk of sustaining an injury through consistent strengthening and mobilisation. If you are interested in reducing your risk of injury, book an appointment with one of our practitioners (and if you’re keen to chat about surf spots book in with me!)