If you've learned to surf you know that feeling of pure joy once you finally stood up on the board and rode a wave for the first time. Arms flailing in celebration, a smile so big you could catch a pelican, and your surf instructor cheering you on, inspires you to turn that board back around and go for more. Then it hits you literally, wave after wave, making it so hard to get back out that you wish you had better prepared yourself for the beatdown so you can get to the best part again - surfing waves.
Surfing is hard. It's physically and mentally demanding. When you think about it, you are trying to stand up and balance on a board that is moving, on top of water that is moving, on waves that are always different, and in an extreme environment like the ocean with other people around you! That's why, when you finally stand up and surf a wave, the feeling of accomplishment is so incredible. And, so addicting.
Everyone loves the ocean and with so much of the population living near a coastline, surfing has landed on a lot of lists as a sport to learn and taking lessons is the best way to start. Learning where the water is warm, the waves are gentle, the ocean floor is soft sand, the equipment top quality, and you have a certified instructor to teach you is a recipe for success and fun!
Getting to a place like that (ahem, Morrillo) likely includes plane tickets, time off work, and a lot of expenses therefore, you want to be sure to get the most out of your investment so you can catch a lot of waves and have the greatest time.
Preparing your body for surfing is more than just being physically fit so Gabriel, our ASI certified instructor, has 5 tips to share with you to help you get ready for your surf trip.
1: Yoga - Flexibility, breathing, balance, strength, and focus are all key elements learned in yoga which directly translate to the skills required for surfing.
2: Front Squats - Supporting your body in a squat position while riding a surfboard requires a lot of strength and endurance. Bending your legs in a squatted position when surfing is an essential part of the technique both to pop up onto your board and while riding the wave. Having the strength to pop up into a lower body position gives you better balance, leverage for speed, initiates the turn, protects your body from injury, and helps with endurance for a long ride.
3: Surfer Burpees - It's funny how everyone loves to hate burpees but they are really helpful for the pop-up in surfing. Doing a burpee that mimics the pop-up for you whether goofy or regular will help strengthen the dynamic muscle movement needed to quickly pop to your feet from the laying position. All it means is instead of popping up to a straight forward foot position, focus your eyes like you're looking down the line of a wave, and when you pop up, rotate your body and feet into the same position you would on your board. Easy, right?
4: Swimming - Being in the water paddling and paddling, battling the waves takes a lot of endurance so you can be sure to catch the next best wave. Swimming is a great way to strengthen your arms and entire body for paddling and cardiovascular conditioning. The one more game in surfing is real. It doesn't mean just one more wave, it means one more good wave so you gotta be sure to have the stamina to end your session on a high note.
5: Skin Protection - Being out on the open ocean means constant, unobstructed UV exposure and here in Panama the UV rays are extreme. Without a doubt, covering your skin is the best way to protect it. Sunburns are painful, they are dangerous, and even worse - a really easy way to ruin a holiday vacation. Great news though - they are easy to avoid.
We highly, and lovingly recommend Waterlust - an amazing company of marine biologists, scientists, conservationists, and educators who developed an apparel company to fund their ocean research projects. Their clothing is perfect for surfing, it's beautiful, high quality, made of recycled fabrics and helps support our local Sea Turtle Foundation using this link.
Now you have a great plan to get you, or perhaps someone you know who is planning a surf trip, physically prepared to catch every last great wave.
Your Friends in Morrillo,
Cari and Ryan Mackey
Owners and Hosts
Morrillo Beach Eco Resort