There’s nothing like paddling out into perfect, solid waves knowing that you are at your physical peak. When your arms sink into the water, each stroke forcefully propelling you towards the lined up walls, and you’re unphased by the oncoming sets because you’re primed, ready and full of energy.
There are a few things you can do to ensure both your body and mind are optimised before the next epic session.
On the day
There are obvious things that are nice to do before you paddle out including getting enough sleep, having a healthy meal the night before (with a good balance of carbs and protein) and not being hungover. But this article is all about the day of the session so here is our pre and post-surf supercharge.
You want to eat something low GI a few hours before your session. Some toast with scrambled eggs and spinach or cereal with yoghurt will do the trick. If you’re short on time or are heading for the dawnie then you may be interested in the Surfd.com Super Smoothie. After years of testing we have finely-tuned this creation to give you an optimal combination of nutrients to not only energise you in the short term but also provide long-term health benefits.
Check out the preparation video and recipe below. Apologies I got all weird in this, it was pre-dawnie and I was half asleep.
Whether or not you have a smoothie you should definitely drink at least half a litre of water before you paddle out. When you are out in the water your brain is tricked into thinking you have all the water you need and fails to properly send the signals for thirst to your mouth and throat. Combined with the fact that you don’t register sweat release and you’re likely to consume some salt water, it is imperative that you get your fresh water fluid levels topped up just before you paddle out. Mild dehydration can cause symptoms such as weakness, dizziness and fatigue – which are not conducive to surfing your best!
When you are out in the water your brain is tricked into thinking you have all the water you need and fails to properly send the signals for thirst to your mouth and throat.
We all know stretching is important but stopping for more than a toe-touch on the beach is hard when it’s pumping and you’ve got a froth on. But taking five minutes out to do some simple stretches can really help improve your flexibility and get your body warmed up for the thrashing it is about to receive. A simple routine can be adapted from some pretty standard yoga poses, including Child pose, Cobra, Downward Facing Dog (walk the dog to loosen up) and Plank. We’re in the process of recording these poses especially for you guys and will post our video when it’s ready. In the meanwhile you may like to search Youtube for “sexy yoga”. We did.
Don’t get freaked here, I’m not going to get all yogi on you (actually I am) and I’m not going to make some weird heavy breathing video (I’ve already done that). Yoga breathing, called Pranayama, is designed to bring more oxygen into the blood and brain, which has very obvious physical and mental benefits.
The breathing process requires you to inhale the deepest possible breath, through your nose and all the way down into your stomach. You raise your shoulders, collarbone and ribs, extend your abdomen and lower your diaphragm expanding your lungs to their fullest capacity. A yoga site I just visited says that getting it wrong could cause a nervous breakdown so maybe get some guidance from this pretty little lady on Youtube.
Being mentally pumped can have the biggest impact on how well you surf. You could use NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to trigger your confidence pre-surf but I’ll do an article on that some other time. In the meanwhile, I usually put on some good tunes whilst getting ready (Biggie and Tupac) and maybe visualise some really good waves I’ve ridden in the past. Also, visualising how you’d like to surf solid waves can be as effective as actually being out there riding them. See it from your favourite surfers perspective, get your mind right and you will prevail.
After your session you should maximise your potential for recovery. Some tips I’ve learned from gym people as well as other athletes are that you should get some protein into you within half an hour of serious exercise. This nourishes your muscles and helps them rebuild and recover from the stress you’ve just subjected them to. A tuna or chicken sandwich provides a great source of protein plus some carbs to refuel the reserves.
If you plan to surf again later in the day this is also the time you can indulge in some high GI foods such as chocolate or sugary sweets. Personally I find them too artificial but, hey, whatever floats your dongle. A friend of mine said that after intense training sessions her team (the German national hockey team) drink beer. You have to love those Germans – I’m down with that post-dawnie!
I hope that some of this is useful to you and helps you supercharge your next surf session. Now get out there…