Contributed by Laura Chow
Surfing is for one and all, and that doesn’t change if you’d have a breast augmentation. With a little recovery time and some exercises you’ll be back on your board in no time.
Take your time with recovery
Once you are past the initial recovery and any pain has subsided, it is important to continue to take it easy for 6 weeks.
This means no heavy lifting, including your surfboard, until cleared by the doctor. This may take longer, up to ten weeks, depending upon where the incision was made and whether the implant was placed above or below the pectoral muscles.
Some implants will heal faster, such as ones that are inserted through an incision around the nipple and then filled. This has much less impact on surrounding muscle tissue.
Give your body time to heal, and let your surgeon know during follow-up visits that you wish to begin surfing as soon as you can. Each person has a different recovery experience.
Before you get back in the water
Practice lying on your board for a few minutes at a time to get your new breasts used to the pressure from the weight of your body. If there is any pain, consult your doctor.
Your muscles will be weakened a bit by the surgery and downtime afterwards. Do exercises that strengthen your back so that when you surf, most of your weight is resting on your lower rib cage and not your breasts.
Do some swimming without the surfboard to get your fitness levels back up to where they were before, and make sure your arms and pectoral muscles are ready to go before hitting the waves.
The muscles around the breast will take the longest to get back in shape, but take it easy and don’t rush it. Those muscles have been through a lot, and overdoing it can cause hardening or internal scarring. Lifting small weights and light yoga can help bring those muscles back to full strength.
Practice proper paddling
Paddling out may be the part that feels the most different after breast implants. Proper technique is more important than ever, and besides, it will make your paddling more effective.
Practice holding your body stiff on the board and keeping your head still. Keep your feet together and up out of the water to prevent drag. When paddling, each arm should go all the way into the water, paddling with one at a time, not both like a breaststroke.
The more water you can push with your arms, the faster you will go. Don’t just use your arm muscles, put your whole core into the stroke. It can be tiring at first, but the muscles will build up in no time.
Take your surfboard out on a lake if you can, and just practice paddling at an easy pace the first few times, then paddle more enthusiastically. This way, you won’t be annoying other surfers out on the waves.
Time to hit the waves
Try on your gear and make sure it all still fits in the chest area. You may need to invest in a new swimsuit top with more support. The first time back out in the actual surf, stick to easy surfing, as you will probably need to build up your stamina again.
Paddling out against waves is much more difficult than paddling on a lake, and you may get tired more easily than you think. Your center of gravity will be slightly different, and you need to get used to the new you.
Stay positive, focus on strength and technique, and you will be surfing better than ever before. Don’t be afraid of wiping out or smacking the water too hard, as implants are designed to withstand physical activity. Once the initial healing process is over, there is nothing that can get in your way.