Four or five hours a day paddling around is bound to keep you 'fit to surf'.
But after ten years of riding everything that rolled up at my local beach and suffering frost bitten fingers, toes, nuts and nose in the depths of a Cornish winter, I did start to think I was a little bit obsessed with the whole surfing thing. I mean, crunching your way down to the waterline through 3 inches of snow. Paddling out and suffering a dozen 'ice cream headaches' in quick succession only to look back towards the beach and see huge icicles hanging from the cliffs.
Pretty special but it was cold!!
Then somebody put me on a mountain bike & I was instantly set free. The adrenalin rush was just as good (if not better at the time) than my beloved surfing. I could not believe I had missed out on this fantastic rush all these years.
Setting off down a steep narrow muddy forest track was just the best feeling. Racing around blind corners only to find an even steeper drop than before or a granny walking her dog, angrily shaking her walking stick. I even got a sick pleasure out of the uphill bits!
It was real good to find another sport that I enjoyed just as much as surfing and was also seriously good exercise.
I've also always enjoyed swimming up to a point. Splashing around as a kid at the local pool with your mates was always great fun. But when it comes to swimming miles, up and down the same old pool looking at the same broken tiles, Length after length, same same same. How boring! I even spotted a turd rolling around one day! It sort of put me off public swimming pools.
Now I get in the Ocean with a mask and snorkel. When it's flat calm its usually good visibility and great for checking out the pretty fish on the reef. I started on this one because I hadn't been snorkeling for years and now I live in Thailand I figured it was time to see what was lurking under the surface of the Andaman Ocean.
Once I had got to know each fish personally and we were on first name terms, I sort of got bored with the reef so I started to venture out a bit and before I knew it I was swimming a triangular circuit out to a big yacht anchored a good 600 metres of the beach, back to the other end of the beach from where I started and then along the beach to my starting point.
This was great, lots more fun than a dodgy swimming pool. The mask and snorkel cancelled out all that breathing technique you had to have mastered if you wanted to swim any distance. There is lots to see and with the mask it's like watching a Jacques Cousteau documentary on a wide screen TV. So again, it's great exercise and means staying in shape is a much more fun.
Now pardon me for going all 'hippy' but lately I've taken to the ancient art of Yoga. I've always had respect for folks that practice Yoga but have found it a bit embarrassing to be lying around the beach stretching and contorting in all manner and form. I practice secretly in my bedroom so as to reduce the risk of having sand kicked in my face.
It really does make you feel much stronger and extra bendy. In the words of an expert on the subject 'Yoga focuses the mind, strengthens the body and invigorates the spirit". Just what you need when you're pulling in to those 'spitting barrels'.
My fifth method of staying tuned for surfing is watching a good old surf movie. There's nothing like it for getting you fired up to go shred and lacerate or even just cruise on your 10 foot mal. Watching a surf flick definitely gets you stoked for surf. It exercises your imagination.
So, we have surfing, mountain biking, swimming, yoga and watching surf movies. Now there really is no excuse not to stay 'surf fit'.