update- Tyler is teaching a new class at the Santa Cruz Chi Center...check it!
Modern surfing is a physically demanding sport. Long gone are the days of relaxed nose riding and tranquil trimming. These days surfing has entered the realm of the extreme, with surfers putting their bodies at the mercy of sixty foot waves and altitude altering aerials. The consequences involved in surfing in such perilous conditions and attempting such merciless maneuvers can be extremely dangerous, sometimes even fatal.
To prepare their bodies for such abuse, today’s top pro’s are engaging in hardcore training programs designed to enhance power, endurance, flexibility, and lung capacity, just to name a few. WCT world title contenders like Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson have both adopted intense training regimens that include core strengthening, strict diets, personal trainers, and coaches. Australian maniac Mark Visser takes his preparation to the next level with his big wave breath holding drills. Visser blows out all his air, sits at the bottom of a pool for a minute and thirty seconds, and then swims fifty meters underwater without flippers.
With Mavericks nearby and a variety of high energy waves of consequence in and around Santa Cruz, the surfers of our area are generally a tough breed. However, unlike places like Southern California and Hawaii, where surfers train together, there’s no organized effort to keep Santa Cruz surfers fit.
Aptos big wave surfer Tyler Fox has been busy the past few years chasing some of the largest waves ever ridden on the California coast. The twenty-eight year old has tackled a few of the biggest waves surfed at the treacherous break known as Ghost Tree’s, which detonates just off the Pebble Beach golf course only during the largest swells of the year. Fox is also and up and coming Mavericks surfer, one of the few brave souls who charge the unforgiving slabs on their backhand, which is no easy feat.
About a year ago, Fox began training on his own using a method called Surf Specific Training, which focuses on enhancing balance, stamina, strength, coordination, and explosive strength.
“ I started using these various techniques and got great results. I figured it would be cool to use my newfound know-how to run training drills for local surfers interested in improving their surfing”, says Fox.
Fox began talks with Scott Adams, a personal trainer and co-owner of SurfStronger.com, a surfing fitness website. They decided to combine their respective talents and knowledge to create an outlet for local surfers to improve not only their surfing ability, but overall fitness level. They began running Surf Specific Training workouts, with participants meeting twice a week at 26th avenue beach. From there they start with a warm up jog, and then get into an assortment of one and two footed balance drills, which help with core strength and coordination. They mix in different leg strength exercises such as squat jumps, which increases a surfer’s drive and explosiveness during radical maneuvers. Paddle drills and depth checks follow, which builds endurance and lung capacity. Balancing and coordination exercises conclude the workout, followed by a cool down jog and light stretch.
Darshan Gooch, 28, of Santa Cruz says that he’s, “… found a new sense of confidence through doing these workouts. Even after the first workout I noticed greater stability, balance, and stamina. I really enjoy the fact that we are teamed up with a partner and pushing each other in a positive manner, it's quite fun”.
Camaraderie and cooperation forces surfers, who are primarily independent creatures, to work together and push each other. Additionally, whipping the area’s young pro’s and slouching veterans will only push the area’s already high level of talent even further. Fox hopes that his program will help achieve these objectives. “One of our primary goals is to give kids an opportunity to maximize their potential in and out of the water. These exercises not only build strength, they build confidence” Surf Specific Training with Tyler Fox and Scott Adams meets Monday and Wednesday from 6:00 to 7:00 PM at 26th avenue beach. Contact Tyler at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Scott at email@example.com. Sessions cost $15 and space is limited.