Warm up for surfing success
In surfing, stretching is very important, not just to be flexible and to be able to push your limits, but more importantly you're preventing injury.
Surfing is different to other sports; you are dealing with the ever-changing ocean. Low tide, mid tide, high tide, shallow banks, strong offshore winds, howling onshore or cross shore winds: all these elements, believe it or not, will help contribute to an injury at some point in your surfing life.
If you want to improve your surfing, or you want to be an international world beater, or if you want to have longevity in surfing, then stretching is a must.
As you improve and start to experiment with harder manoeuvres that you've seen good surfers do, you need to be flexible, to compress and extend your body parts into different positions and manoeuvres.
Guaranteed, if you go into some big high level turns and your knees, ankles, back, hips and shoulders aren't fully warmed up, you are likely to injure yourself.
Ankle and knee ligaments are common surf-related injuries and they keep you out of the water for many months.
Fifteen minutes of stretching before you surf is the go for the average punter. If you are a competitive surfer and you're pushing the turns you should be stretching for 40 minutes.
All surfers should know when high and low tide is.
You should be able to identify dangers such as rips, currents, rocks etc, before you go out.
If you're smart, you'll watch the waves for five to ten minutes. Know where waves are breaking consistently in one spot, then use a landmark to line up that particular spot with a building or a tree.
Don't rely on humans - that woman on the tartan blanket could disappear and you've lost your mark.
In crowded surf it's inevitable people will be in your way.
Before catching a wave, make sure you look shoreward and no one is in your takeoff line.
If you check early, you can still adjust your paddling line and not miss that precious wave.
For the surfer who is in the way, you should never try to be in front of anyone paddling for a wave. Get yourself outta there.
Never dive off your board near shallow sand bars. Broken necks and surfers are a toxic mix!
Falling off the sides or at the back of the board is your safest exit plan.