Surfing can be like riding a bike… or can it?
If you are someone that started surfing at a young age or spent your life on the coastline then you probably have gone through your ups and down with surfing and don’t worry most of us have. Or maybe you started to surf but an injury, babies, life or work got in the way and surfing got pushed to the side a little and now you miss it more than ever but you’re not sure how to get back out there surfing like you used too.
We like to say to people that getting back into surfing is like riding a bike but there are some steps that you need to take to get there, these steps will help you get back into the water in a positive headspace without having unrealistic expectations on yourself.
Some really key elements you need to think about are the following:
Surfing is 90% paddling so if you haven’t surfed or done any kind of swimming for a while maybe look at getting into a pool first to get your arms used to the movements again.
Practice some “pop ups” each day to get your body used to the motion as this movement is a key element to surfing and you need to keep your body controlled and nimble when doing it.
Go for a few ocean swims leading up to surfing again so you are connected to the ocean and the sand banks, you know the patterns of the waves and you become more familiar with the sounds, smells and feel over the ocean.
Go for a few beach jogs, light beach jogs to engage your ankles and focus on your breathing. This will help you with staying focused when your in the water and will help your ankles be more prepared for getting back on a board.
Learn to read the ocean again, spend time in the water and make sure you do a surf check visualizing yourself on the wave with where you are at the present time.
If you have one, get onto a balance board or an on land trainer (SmoothStar board) or an unsteady surface, this is amazing for core stability and again simulating surfing which will help when you get back onto your surfboard.
If you are coming back into surfing after a major injury or having a baby please remember that your body is different now, you need to respect that things wont feel the same and you must adjust your surfing to accommodate for the injury. You will feel more nervous than usual and you maybe not trust your bodies ability but this is ok and if you are not sure what steps you need to take then this is where a coach can assist in the recovery and guide you through the steps that need to be taken to get you back to where you want to be.
The last and probably one of the most important things to do is TAKE A STEP BACK and give yourself a chance. Don’t set the bar too high and think you will get back out there and surf like you did last time you surfed because this is never going to happen. You need to get back out at a location that has a gentle wave and the conditions are small and friendly. So many people get back out into the water and think things will be like before and it just never is so think about it like riding a bike, baby steps will get you back to where you want to be.