Before each surf, stretching is so important. When I first started surfing, my buddy pointed over to a couple of Japanese surfers who were stretching on the sand and laughed.'Look at those wallies!' he scoffed, 'It's 2 ft, what the hell do they think's gonna happen? Probably saw some pro- surfer do it on a dvd or something!'
At the time, I thought it was funny too, couldn't understand the reason for doing stretches before a leisurely surf session, then one day I actually saw former pro stretching before heading out into 2-3ft on-shore chop.
I approached him and asked why he was stretching so intensely for these conditions, surely he wouldn't get hurt in this, his reply opened my eyes.
It's not the size or the injuries I am stretching out for bro, it so I am limber and can perform better! Not worried about ripping a muscle, I want to rip the wave!'
After that I thought why not give it a try, I have never looked back since, my friend still doesn't stretch before a surf despite my assurances, but I can't blame him, we are from a different era. So below are a few of the stretches I do to limber up before I paddle out and rip!
Here are the stretches!
1. I start by rolling my head around to limber up my neck, in surfing where you look is where you go and it is so easy to tweak your neck in the moment, just watch a slater dvd that guy rips his head all the way round in each turn.
2. Touch your toes, I tend to bounce down slowly letting my weight take me to full extension, don't force it or you will cause an injury before you even get wet!
3. Pull my feet to my arse, stretch them quads, they are the most fundamental part of any maneuver
4. Standing on the sand with 1 foot crossing over the other knee, then twist from the waist looking over your opposite shoulder, right foot over twist to the right
5. While sitting arch your back and reach for the stars, lock your fingers palms facing up.
6. Lastly I do a bridge, feet flat, reach back and place your hands on the sand and arch your back, with your stomach facing the sky.
7. Lastly stand up shake loose, strap on the leg rope and go rip!
There are lots of variations on this, and not one syatem is better than another, try different stretches and work out which stretching routine works for you.
Stretching is also the time that we can be watching the surf and deciding where we want to be in the water. Watching and stretching for at least 2 lots of set waves will help you to understand what you are about to paddle out into.
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