11 July 2011

Staying Fit for Surf: Video Reviews

I previously reviewed the Yoga for Surfers DVD series, and YSF:V2 continues to get a lot of use in my house. Since then, I added another regular, Surf Stronger: The Surfer's Workout, Vol. 1. I've also tried two more exercise DVDs that are now gathering dust.

I got the Surf Stronger Vol. 1 video as a digital download rather than a DVD, and play it on an old iBook tied to the TV. The workout has three segments: a pre-surf warm up, a main workout, and a cool-down stretch. The pre-surf warm up is designed to be done on the beach, and starts off with a light jog down the sand followed by exercises to warm up surfing muscles and get them ready to move. I've incorporated a few of these into my regular pre-surf stretching. For the main segment, creator Scott Adams is joined by another guy and a couple of girls who go through the exercises with two levels of difficulty. A fitness ball, dumbbells and a yoga mat are required. With the sea in the background, Scott first performs each exercise and explains how it will improve your surfing, before having his crew start the set. My only complaint is that his demonstration, and the introduction of his crew, can't be skipped, so repeat users either have to do extra repetitions or wait through some downtime until he says "let's begin." It's also unfortunate that the crew doesn't include a guy half as attractive as the girls. Those minor complaints aside, the exercises themselves are quite useful and relevant, and I often find my muscles are a bit sore later, but in a good way. The final segment incorporates a number of yoga poses, plus some stretches involving a fitness ball that I've found are great to do after a long surf to relieve tension in paddling muscles. Surf Stronger: The Surfer's Workout, Vol. 1, is strongly recommended.

I tried Taylor Knox Surf Exercises just once. These exercises are advanced and I was not prepared for the high level of difficultly.some involve. Taylor launches right into the tough ones without warmup, and unlike Surf Stronger, there is no option offered for a lower level of intensity. I shied away from a few of the exercises because of my lower back problems, and a friend told me his physical therapist cautioned him to avoid some due to their potential to cause back injury. Unless you're already in great condition and have worked your way up to a high level of strength and flexibility, I'd stay away from SE.

My hopes were high for Surf into Yoga with Rochelle Ballard, as I greatly admire her surfing. Unfortunately I just didn't click with this DVD. While the filming took place at or even in the ocean (on a barely-submerged reef), it's missing the connection to surfing inherent in Surf Stronger and Yoga for Surfers. There is no explanation of how the exercises are useful for a surfer. This is a pure yoga DVD, complete with the mystical mumbo-jumbo that doesn't interest me and some rather irritating gong music. Rochelle has been shelved next to Taylor Knox.

Surf-specific exercises can help you to surf better and surf stronger. Fortunately there are a growing number of videos available to guide you at home. Find a program that's right for you, and stick with it. See you in the water!


  1. I turned off Surf Into less than ten minutes in. It had everything I didn't want in a yoga video. All I wanted to do was stretch out some screwed up muscles in my hip. The music, the hippiesque focus. It was too much.

    I have the Surf Stronger v1 as well as the Core Fitness and the 10 Minute Core from the same person. They are all actually pretty good. The exercises are straightforward and I do get sore if I havent' done them in a while.

    Core Fitness repeats a few things from V1, but for the most part features new workouts. Some of them are pretty hard, but he sort of includes alternate ways of doing them/ways to build stamina to do them right.

    The 10 minute core is a good quick workout. No balance balls or weights needed. Stretching is also included in the 10 minute core, but no warm-up.

    Serena Brooke is in both of the Core workouts so there's footage in both of her catching a few waves.

  2. P90X is a really good set of videos that is perfect for a surf workout. Combination of Chest, Back, Plyometrics, Legs, Arms, Yoga, Abs, and Kenpo. 1-1.5 hour workouts.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions! I'll have to check those out when I get tired of my current lineup.