Photo Credit: Hayley Green
With a polar vortex swirling around much of the Midwest and the East Coast this winter, we're guessing time usually spent surfing is currently being used to shovel snow and shiver. Lucky for all you snowed in surfers and bodysurfers, there are a few things you can do instead of braving the impossible winter ice for waves. We recently found psychotherapist Dan Bolton's helpful piece on a "Cure for the Winter Surf Blues" that gives you ways to stay in surfing/bodysurfing shape without being in the lineup. He includes options like trying out the indoor wave park in New Hampshire called Sky Ventures, studying surf fundamentals, watching a surf movie and even snowboarding.
Now those choices are all well and good, but they can't really be used over here on the West Coast. While we have sun instead of snow, we have had to deal with flat days all too often this winter. Here is a list of some things you can do next time the waves are nowhere to be found that will help cure those flatsurf blues. Whether you use a surfboard, handboard, bodyboard or just your good ol' bodyweight, you'll be able to keep yourself busy while waiting for those barrels to return.
Practice Your Balance
Perfect balance is essential to catch barrels, but that's a little hard to practice if you're not out in the water. Luckily, there's a somewhat realistic way you can practice standing on a surfboard without ever leaving the comfort of your home: a balance board. A balance board, like an Indo Board or Goof Board, is just a wooden board placed on top of a sturdy plastic tube. Standing on the board will help you perfect and prepare your positioning for when you actually ride. Plus, the balancing engages your abs, and you'll have a killer six-pack by the time the waves come back around.
Fix Up Your Boards
What better way to spend your flat surf blues than checking up on your boards to make sure they're all in ship shape? You can repair any dings on your surfboards and handboards so that they're ready to go when the waves are. Better yet, watch a solid surf movie, like Storm Surfers, while you're sanding away to pass the time.
Doing some shoulder strengthening with resistance bands is a great way to keep your shoulders, back and arms limber, toned and ready to paddle when the flat surf turns for the better. You can purchase resistance bands of varying tensions at just about any sporting goods store. These resistance bands should have handles or "cables" attached to each end so that you can easily grip when you're working your shoulders, biceps and triceps. Here's a quick exercise you can start with while you're wishing away those flat surf blues.
Hit the Road
Even though we don't have snow right in our backyards (not even in winter), we here in Los Angeles do have lots of streets and sidewalks. Why not take to the road and surf the asphalt on your favorite longboard? LA streets may be flat, but you don't need barrels to have fun on them. Skateboarding is another great way to practice your balance and keep in that surf-inspired state of mind when the waves are too flat to ride. As you make your turns, your back and and abs are engaged for balance. Your quadriceps and hamstrings will also feel the burn as you propel yourself down the street.