They say that the cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.
To live by the ocean, this the only handbook.
I’ve fallen into a deep love affair with surfing, and as a Yoga teacher and current student working towards her HHP, I thought I’d share a few favorite pearls that float around my head, which are usually the first to flow out when talking about grabbing a hold of those rails and riding with the tide.
1. The Session
Your pre-game is just as important as your post-surf routine. Now is not the time to shy away from carbs—carbs are your friend, dear surfers!
They give you incredible amounts of energy, and because it takes the body longer to digest and break them down, they give you energy that latss.
So when you’re planning on a solid two hour session, here’s a fan favorite: roll up steamed lentils, cabbage, white bean hummus, and some Cholula, if you’re feeling spicy, in a lavash wrap about 60-90 minutes before, and polish off with some green tea just before you dive in.
When your arms are paddled-out and noodle-like, finish strong with a pineapple-watermelon smoothie (recipe here) which both hydrates and fights inflammation, and maybe a couple grilled salmon tacos—my personal favorite.
Before you hit the sheets, soak in a bath with Epsom salts and eucalyptus essential oil, and tune out with Mazzy Star. Boom. You’re welcome.
Okay, I think this one goes without saying.
I’ve spoken to many surfers about yoga, and we’re all in agreement that yoga completely changes the game. Practicing yoga as a surfer can create more stability and balance, increase muscle strength, and ease tension and soreness in the body. As a yoga teacher, I feel that yoga, perhaps most importantly, brings you back to yourself.
Here are a few poses that are great for surfers, but feel free to Savasana your asana off
- Warrior II
- Upward Facing Dog
- Fish pose
- Legs up the wall
Ask your favorite studios about Restorative and Vinyasa flows!
Yes, I am telling you to make massage therapy a priority in your lifestyle. I know, I know. I’m the best. Like any other sport, you are an athlete.
I don’t care how many times a week you get yourself in the water. One session equals one massage. This is my rule of thumb, and a magical one at that. Really feeling it in your shoulders, hammies, and lats? I thought so.
Break up with your aches and pains, and become besties with Deep Tissue and Sports Massage. And, always say yes to the yummy cucumber water in the lobby—the most important thing you can do after a massage is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
4. Drink what the water gave you.
Thoughts. Feelings. Words. So many words.
I’m still a baby surfer myself, so all I can do is express what I’m learning, what I feel is part of the meal of surfing that makes the perfect bite and feeds our souls. All I can do is this, so hear my heart, take heart, and breathe.
I’ve come to realize how incredibly frustrating surfing can be. I mean, let’s keep it honest—for anyone who’s ever gotten wax on their hands, the water can come off like a real bitch, sometimes. However, I’ve also learned that maybe the only bitch around is me.
The water is not against us.
I mean, we are made up of roughly 60 percent water. The water is not fighting us, maybe we are actually fighting ourselves. Yes, waves are soft and mellow. So are you. Waves are also hard and pull you in and out and flip your entire view upside down.
So do people. Waves are strong and beautiful and wash your weary eyes and hug you, always, always, without being the first one to let go. You are. I am. So….paddle out.
Duck dive. Turtle roll. If you shred on the first wave, sweet. If you have to take a page from my book, and lay on your board, really far out and keeping some distance from the rest of the crew for the first 25 minutes, then do it.
Do your thing. It’s between you and the water….you and yourself. Don’t analyze, just embrace.
5. It’s five o’clock somewhere.
Water-logged and grinning (hopefully) from ear-to-ear, not much beats cracking open a can of Modelo, plopping your sandy bottom in the sand, and watching the sun wish the sea goodnight.
Surfing isn’t perfection. It’s not a chemistry lab you have to pass. It’s life and feeling the tide and kissing your lover on the mouth. It’s a pulse. A heartbeat.
A Monday afternoon.
Eat pizza, too, if you want it.
Live your life. It’s all good, it’s all wonderful and crazy and always exactly as it should be.
Worry less, surf more, and ride with love.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: courtesy of the author