5 Ways to Keep You in the Water For Longer

Matt Rode

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Updated 256d ago

Having trouble keeping it up? The froth, that is. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. When we are young, we can seemingly surf all day, but as we get older, our sessions tend to get shorter and less frequent. This is due to a variety of factors, such as aging bodies, diminishing strength and endurance, responsibilities that get in the way of consistent sessions, and the propensity of adults to spend more time in their heads than we do in the moment.

But what about when the best day in decades comes around, and you suddenly wish you had the physical and mental endurance of a 15-year-old grom? Here are a few tips to help you stay in the water longer, whether the wave are pumping or you are just paddling out for the daily grovel. And, for some of these suggestions, we're going to resurface some vids we put together with Surf Strength Coach to keep you in the water for longer.

Don’t let yourself get out of shape

It may be too late for this one, but there’s no time like the present to regain the fitness level you enjoyed as a youngster. Surfing for a long time requires a combination of physical attributes, the most obvious of which are paddle power and endurance, cardio fitness, and a body composition that allows for efficient paddling and surfing on a board the size and style of your choosing.

Obviously the best way to maintain paddle fitness is to paddle, so the more you surf, the longer you will be able to last during sessions. Other forms of exercise that support paddle power include paddleboarding (sorry SUPers, but prone is a lot more useful for surfers), swimming, and upper body isometric exercises. Meanwhile, cross-training such as running, mountain biking, or doing intense workouts such as CrossFit keeps your cardio fitness and endurance high, while also regulating your weight so that your 5'9" shredstick can float you properly. Also, consider going tee-total. All those additional calories from beer etc are sure to play havoc - plus it'll make that dawnie that much more enticing.

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Maintain your flexibility

Kids are typically impervious to the aches and pains that can limit adults’ sessions, and that’s largely because they are more flexible and have suffered less injuries than the rest of us. Tight muscles and joints are a major reason our sessions don’t last as long as we’d like, but there’s no reason why we can’t be as flexible now as we were when we were 10. Commit yourself to a yoga or other stretching practice, and make sure you stick to your guns. Your shoulders, hips, neck, and lower back will thank you, and you will soon notice your surf sessions increasing in length.

Fuel properly

Surfing burns calories and dehydrates you, so if you want to be able to endure marathon sessions, you have to prepare appropriately. Super hydrate your body before your session, drinking both water and electrolytes to help prevent cramps (try to avoid drinks with added sugars, such as Gatorade).

And make sure you eat a proper meal before paddling out, including slow-burning, high-nutrient foods like complex carbs, healthy proteins and fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. You might also consider sticking an organic bar or two in your wetsuit to keep yourself going for a couple of extra hours if the waves are really good.

Get a good wetsuit

These days, there is no excuse for having sub-par rubber. There are dozens of wetsuit companies making great, durable products at affordable prices, and proper insulation is arguably more important than a good board. Invest in a good quiver of wetsuits for different temperatures, and you will be able to stay in the water for hours.

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Rediscover your childhood stoke

The biggest reason kids can surf all day is because they have a strong mental game. They are so stoked to be in the water that they don’t even notice when they get tired, hungry, thirsty, or chaffed. Leave your stressors on the beach, get over your ego, stop worrying about how well you surf, and stop being so jaded and cynical about the conditions. We all started surfing because it’s fun, but too often our grownup mentality makes us forget why we are in the water. Tap back into your childhood stoke, remember that surfing is supposed to be a break from adulting, play your heart out, and don’t paddle in until the fun stops or your kids come looking for you.

Cover shot: Tomv Photo