Longboarders make the art of effortlessly dancing on their surfboards seem mesmerizing. However, beneath this grace lies hours of dedicated training, much of which takes place on land. Balance is the core of these preparatory land drills. Here at Pura Vida surf camp we share tips on improving your balance before you hit the waves.
The Bosu ball serves as a comprehensive test of your balance, stability, and coordination abilities. Its unstable surface compels you to actively engage your core muscles and continuously make subtle adjustments to maintain balance. This not only enhances your overall stability but also translates seamlessly when you’re out on your surfboard. To start, I recommend simply focusing on finding your balance on the ball, as it may require some practice to establish a stable position. Once you’ve found your center, you can then progress to shifting your weight in various directions and honing your ability to quickly regain balance. Once you feel comfortable, it’s time to advance to more dynamic movements like squats, leg holds, and more.
For this exercise I recommend starting with something that has a flat surface and isn’t too high off the ground. A humble plank of wood or tree log will serve you just as well as the balance beam at your gym.
Practice walking back and forth along the plank to develop your cross-step. The objective here is to discover what movement feels most natural for you. Given that we all come in various shapes and sizes, each person will develop their unique style when stepping on the surfboard.
The goal at Pura Vida surf and yoga retreat is to be able to perform this exercise without constantly glancing down at your feet. Focus on increasing your speed and perfecting your backward movement, and practice till it’s locked in your muscle memory. When you’re ready, consider advancing to a curved surface, such as a log or pipe, to add a higher level of difficulty to your practice.
If you prefer practicing indoors, yoga blocks provide an excellent alternative to the plank or beam. Arrange them in a straight line and work on your steps back and forth, gradually increasing your pace. The narrow width of the blocks aids in teaching you how to maintain centered balance while increasing your overall bodily awareness.
The balance board is every surfer’s best friend when it comes to land drills. Not only can it help in refining your balance skills, but is versatile enough that it can be used to build arm strength, perfecting your pop-up and even ken dips. Much like the Bosu Ball, I recommend starting with getting used to the motions of the surfboard and finding your balance before moving onto more challenging movements. I focus on controlling the surfboard by shifting my weight back and forth. Through this back-foot control technique, I’ve noticed significant improvements in my turns when I’m out on the water surfing.
There are numerous other sporting activities that compliment surfing well by enhancing your stability. Here at Pura Vida’s surf retreat we believe incorporating these into your land work, will allow you to reap the benefits on your surfboard.
Our yoga instructors core emphasis is on mindfulness and controlled breathing has been instrumental in maintaining composure during challenging days in the water. I’ve seen a significant improvement in my range of motion and flexibility too. Yoga effectively targets and strengthens the essential muscles for balance, encompassing both static (the ability to maintain stability in one position) and dynamic balance (the capability to anticipate and respond to changes while in motion). Building balance through yoga is a gradual journey that demands consistency. It’s essential to prioritize proper foot placement on your surfboard and not rushing into poses.
Pilates shares many similarities with yoga, but it sets itself apart with its primary emphasis on developing core strength and endurance. In Pilates, the incorporation of weights and resistance amplifies the workout, delivering a challenging experience that leaves your abdominal muscles thoroughly engaged.
Strengthening the core via Pilates not only promotes better posture and stability for surfing but also has a noticeable impact on my arms. By building endurance through Pilates controlled balances, I can paddle out to the line-up time and time again without exhausting my arms.
Written by Emma from noseridersurf.com