Surf’s Up! Ride the Wave to Getting Fortress Fit

Surf's Up! Ride the Wave to Getting Fortress Fit


Your Body Your Sport: SURFINGSurfing traces its roots to Polynesia and was first observed by Europeans on the island of Tahiti, where it has been practiced for hundreds of years. While a lot has changed in that time, the spirit of surfing and its connection to water and nature remains. For many, surfing is more than a cardiovascular sport, it is a way of life.


Surfers tend to be long and lean with strong shoulders and the wide backs of swimmers. Most of the cardio exertion of surfing comes from paddling, and depending on the break, the paddle out can be hundreds of yards out. Surfing requires balance, agility, stamina, core strength and a calm approach to open water. Maintaining a cool head enables surfers to control their adrenaline levels when confronting large waves.


When it comes to surfing, like in almost all other sports, knowing your limits are of paramount importance. Often called “hitting the wall”, “bonking” is the idea that at some point during a surf session your energy levels can suddenly drop. In other sports, you can call a timeout, and Go sit on the sidelines. In surfing there are no sidelines and no timeouts. This is also why it’s important to fuel yourself properly before surfing, get plenty of rest the night before and make sure you know how long you have in the water based on your endurance level.


While on a trip to Hawaii, I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Hey Grandma”, called out one morning on the break. In seaside cultures throughout the world, surfing is an activity that is enjoyed by people of all ages. While there are other sports that I love, I don’t suspect that I will be able to do many of them regularly when I reach my Golden years. It’s also never too late to begin surfing. While on a trip to surf Malibu I met a man who had taken up surfing when he retired at age 58. In three short years of dedication to the sport, he surfed as if he had been doing it his entire life. While the fact that surfing burns about 200 calories per hour is a benefit, most people will tell you it’s the shear fun of it that brings them back again and again. While scientists have yet to put together a study on it, I would say that regular doses of fun is one of the secret ingredients to a long, happy life.


According to the Surfer’s Medical Association, a surfer who surfs every day would get injured an average of 1.5 times per year. The most common surfing injuries are lacerations from board contact.