Whether it be rain, an injury, or lack of swell, there will always be something that’ll keep us out of the water. Being a surfer from Southern California, I know the anguish of checking the cams and seeing my local surf break look like a lake. However, during XL winter swells you can also experience the opposite, and will only see a handful of guys out. On these days, I usually either venture up the coast for better surf or simply stay home. Despite these challenges, it’s still possible to get better at surfing through doing other activities that help you in a number of ways. Here are some tips on how to practice surfing when you’re not in the water.
Skating is perhaps the closest related activity to surfing, and for obvious reasons. There are several parallels between both sports that will help you in board riding. Skating is actually fairly easier than surfing, and could be a good stepping point if you’ve never surfer before. The best translatable skills to learn would be carving, power sliding, and pumping and gaining speed. For these tricks you skate by using your body to maneuver around. The best kind of board to emulate the flow of surfing would be a cruiser, or anything with loose trucks. I would recommend a Carver, especially if it has risers on it. Look out later this year for our release of South Bay Skate Co. which will sell both cruiser and trick boards that are perfect for getting better at surfing.
Snowboarding is the second obvious one. With this sport, you have both of your feet strapped onto the board, and is a great way to advance your carves as well as your postural strength. It’s also insanely fun and a great alternative to surfing if you’re in an area that snows. Most surfers such as myself love to go skating and snowboarding whenever we’re not in the water, since it’ll always remind us of surfing.
Endurance is key in being able to surf well, especially when it comes to big waves. Surfing is an extremely demanding activity, and being a somewhat decent swimmer is an absolute requirement. Being a great swimmer gives you even more of an advantage, since your paddling and endurance will be a whole lot better. It’s also a great way of getting to know the ocean and its beauty. Be sure to take note of conditions, avoid rip currents, and swim with either a friend or a group if its your first time in the water.
Balancing is one of the most importance skills to have as a surfer, which makes owning a balance board a must. That is why SBBC just came out with the Surf Trainer Balance Board, which is great at developing your surf skills along with building strength in your core and back. It's also one of the best ways to learn how to cross step, and can be used almost anywhere. Be sure to check one out before they’re gone. The best way at becoming a better surfer is by being in the water everyday. If for any reason something keeps you out, however, practicing one of these cross sports is a great way at keeping you fresh and ready for your next session.