Fitness training for surfer’s – Are surfer’s overdoing it?
I believe so, by the amount of time and effort surfers put into their training. In many cases, far too much time in my view.
Don’t get me wrong, good fitness is essential for good surfing and being able to handle the stresses that the sport places on a surfer, but what about the other performance variables. Surfing technique, decision-making skills, or developing the psychological strength to handle pressure situations. All equally important in my view, but aren’t being trained nearly as much as fitness currently is.
The thing is, surfing isn’t a first-past-the-post sport. You don’t need to win by a hundredth of a second like in swimming or sprinting. You do however need to paddle powerfully and for a long duration, handle the landing on difficult finishes, and surf fast. Good fitness levels allow these things to be done well, but it isn’t everything when it comes to performance success.
I watched a WQS surfer compete recently who I know is diligent in their fitness training, yet this surfer lost first round in both ASP events in Australia in February. He was clearly fit enough to win, but his surfing was flat, and un-impressive. It’s the same for numerous other competitive surfers. They think that sweating out the hours in the gym will be the panacea to all their faults.
Connecting with a quality fitness trainer can make a big difference to performances, no doubt about it. Not only in visual terms in a performance but also in the belief that they can develop in themselves. And that is what a good fitness trainer can do, build belief over time as they are building strength and power.
But what I want to say to surfers globally is – don’t put all your eggs in the fitness basket. Fitness is the foundation that holds everything else up, but having a strong foundation when the structure above is weak or there are important pieces missing in a surfers performance package is a recipe for plateauing-off in performance and never reaching a surfer’s true potential.