A warm-up session can reduce up to 50% the probability of injuries in surfing, according to medical studies. Being out of the water for a long period can definitely be avoided with simple physical exercises and workouts.
Pedro Seixas, a physiotherapist, has concluded that 78,5% of Portuguese surfers already had a surfing injury. Could that be avoided? Yes. Did you know that a simple muscular pain might grow into a big problem?
That is why surf training is so important to prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Although you may not avoid a reef laceration, you can substantially reduce problems in your body muscles, spine, knees, hips and feet.
Seixas, alongside with doctors Ognjen Markovic and Arvid Schigt have been working with the Surfing Doctors Europe to help improve the physical condition of all wave riders.
Surf injuries lead to progressive diminishing of the surfer's performance, and increasing fatigue levels. You may have already felt that. The good news is that you can improve that, no matter how old you are.
A good warm-up, before every surf session, is critical. Get your body moving from head to toe, giving priority to combined movements of flexion/extension and rotation, that put our body structures through bigger stress forces.
Also, after a tiring session, try to complete a stretching routine, approaching the main muscular groups involved in surfing (cervical, upper and low-backs, shoulders, hamstrings, and calf muscles).
If you've got time, complete a few surf training exercises, at home or at your local gym. It's easy, fast and will greatly improve your surfing performance, next time, whether you're a pro surfer or a weekend wave rider.
A final word for breathing. Always try to exhale during the most strenuous phase of the exercise, and whenever possible, with your abdominals contracted, so that you can protect your lower back spine.
Train your paddling exhaling every two or three paddling strokes and simulate your cut-backs exhaling at the speed your torso turns.