The Coast News Group
For a few hundred dollars you can own your own gym. Photo by Chris Ahrens
Columns Waterspot

Waterspot: Dry run

I haven’t surfed in nearly two months. Still, I am certain I will fare better at my favorite watersport once the local breaks open again for our enjoyment than I did before. Decades of muscle memory will kick in and instruct me on how and when to turn as the wave I am riding peels toward the beach.

Like most of you reading this, I have no trouble riding a wave once I am on my feet. Getting an out-of-shape body to paddle 100-plus yards and go from prone position to standing on a narrow, quickly moving platform, however, is not always easy. You need to be in shape and at this writing, the gyms are closed.

If you are reading this, chances are you know how to catch and ride waves. It is the all-important move in between, getting to your feet and in a ready position that often proves a stumbling block. Standing correctly can present a challenge to even the most experienced, rusty surfer.

Standing correctly requires strength, agility, balance and a sense of where your feet are planted, which should be near the tail and centered on the stringer. But how can someone retain this ability without entering the ocean?

I have written at some length about the Surf-Fit Performance Mat. This deeply researched and amazingly designed piece of equipment has proven helpful to surfers of all levels. Now, with beaches closed worldwide, it can prove indispensable to keeping in surfing shape.

While this mat aids all aspects of surfing, I have added a few minutes a day on the “Indo Board” to my workout routine. My board came with a pressurized bladder that I often balance on with little inflation, as I am currently, while writing.

Next up is a set of 10-pound dumbbells to keep paddle muscles in shape. Various combinations, including an alternate arm overhead row, do a decent job of mimicking paddling out. Dumbbell workouts can be subsidized with various types of pushups, including the traditional style, wide grip, diamond, and the dive-bomber. Reverse pushups can be accomplished on the edge of a chair, table, or flat on the floor.

A favorite piece of equipment is the medicine ball. This eight-pound orb can be operated while keeping one eye on the omnipresent TV screen. The numbers of moves possible with this simple device are nearly infinite. I like to combine medicine ball workouts with those from a power band, something that can easily be employed while focusing on “Bonanza” reruns.

Honestly, the gut wheel is kind of boring to me, something that might explain my ongoing battle of the bulge. Balance balls are slightly more interesting and have a plethora of uses especially for strengthening the core. Some who make their living sitting down prefer balance balls to chairs since they require small, corrective movements to keep balanced. Of course, a good stretching routine and a daily round of aerobics should be added to anyone hoping to surf their best, especially after a long layoff.

I keep all of the aforementioned articles in my office. They have been purchased with little financial injury and keep me in surfing shape even when I am far from the ocean. Those without access to these or other home-gym accessories will find running in place, pushups, situps, deep knee bends and stretching will keep them in decent shape until we meet again, hopefully soon, in the ocean.