Most of us don't have all day every day to surf our lives away like those professionals who have made a career out of the sport. Often it's a rush to get in the water before or after work and who wants to spend an extra 5 min looking like a "goof" on the beach doing some weird yoga moves before entering the water. Truth is though, an extra 5 min before entering the water can improve your overall session a whole lot!
So why should we warm up? A surfing specific warm-up increases body temperature and uses similar body parts to be ustilised subsequently in surfing. Increasing the body temperature before performance increases dissociation of oxygen from haemoglobin and myoglobin, increases muscle blood flow (basically overall improves oxygen supply to muscles), increases sensitivity of nerve receptors and the speed of nerve impulses (basically better reactions and quicker movements). As well as this a well performed warm-up can reduce the incidence and likelihood of sports-related musculoskeletal injuries. The whole idea is to improve performance, so in that little time that you might have to surf you can get the most out of every session.
Make sure your warm-up is dynamic and specific. Improving the range of motion (ROM) around a joint (flexibility) is an important preparatory activity to improve physical performance. Dynamic flexibility is the amount of movement of a joint from muscle contraction of which most surfing manoeuvres will be performed. The idea is to move through a challenging yet comfortable ROM.
Here are a few surf specific exercises to add to your pre warm-up and why:
Standing Trunk Rotation
This exercise loosens the trunk and increasing blood flow to your core musculature to improve the transfer of force in order to execute greater rotational manoeuvres.
Lunge with Twist
Working the lower body while continuing to increase ROM in the upper body, this dynamic stretch lengthens the hip flexors and creates ankle stability.
Helping to increase ROM in the lower back and hamstrings for compression when performing finishing manoeuvres.
Full Squat Hold to Jump
Once you've increased your ROM then it's time to add a little explosiveness. By holding a low squat and exploding up you put your muscles on stretch and then they are immediately shortened, this is known as the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC). This increases the loading in the legs and therefore provides more spring, mimicking the compression of a bottom turn into a snap.