What To Do When the Ocean Goes Flat

Activities to keep you sane during downtime

Every now and again, I'll email our editor Tom Dunphy about what he would like to read from me next.

This morning, I asked him just that and his response was, "Write about what to do when the waves go flat." He followed it with a "Haha." I also laughed.

July is coming which usually results in flatness and intense heat, due to the Bermuda High that generally situates itself over our coast.

After my initial, "that's a good one," my mind began to wander and this actually became a great subject to write about. Explain some of the activity's that keep me in surfing shape while I'm not surfing all the while keeping the cobwebs off from not actually surfing. I figured since surfers are the standard as far as physical fitness, I would share my insight with everyone on easy to hard to do activities.

Keeping in "surfing" shape means keeping yourself flexible, strong and maintaining good cardio health. This kind of thing can relate to any health or fitness enthusiast— not only surfers or watermen.

Throughout my amateur years and into my professional surfing career, I have had many trainers and regimens designed to keep me in the aforementioned physical shape.

While I have done many different training programs, I am going to share some of my personal favorites, starting with one of the hardest and most demanding. It's called a burnout, and for good reason.

The burnout starts with picking a starting point— a jetty. The spacing between jetties is usually one block. You begin by running, not a sprint but just a little more than a jog. You run from one jetty to the next. Once you reach that jetty, you swim out and around it. As soon as you hit the beach, you run to the next jetty and do the same again.

I usually will do four down and four back, which means running four blocks and swimming four jetties and returning doing the same until you reach you original starting point. In total, you run eight blocks and swim around eight jetties.

If you are wondering what kid of shape you are in, this will answer it. I do not recommend this to anyone that gets winded easily or isn't 100 percent sure of their stamina. Also, make sure you have a partner in case of emergency.

Another, easier activity is stand-up paddling. While I am in no way a stand-up paddleboarding advocate when there is actually surf, it is an amazing thing to do when there's no surf.

Most surf camps offer stand-up paddling lessons. It is a great excercise for all ages. You spend the time in the water and also get to stay very active while learning the basics fo surfing— keeping your balance, bending your knees and so on.

Jogging on the beach is always a great thing to do as well.

Of course, you can go to your gym and do that, but what do you do when you're in the gym on a treadmill and you're dripping sweat?

You wipe yourself with a towel and still don't cool down. Running on the beach means being able to jump in the ocean, which is an amazing and refreshing way to cool off. Also, jogging on sand means less impact on your ankles and knees while helping to strengthen muscles that treadmills do not target.

Lastly, you can paddle. This can be done on just about any board that floats, although, the bigger board you can find, the better. It's pretty self explaitory. Just get out there and paddle. If you don't surf, this will give an idea of what kind of shape you need to be in to surf. If you do surf, it keeps your shoulders loose and strong. That way when we do finally get surf again, you're not winded.

Hopefully everyone has a great and active summer. It's never too late to start to be more active when the water is warm and the weather is even warmer. Everyone be safe. If you are a first timer at ocean activities, make sure you are accompanied by someone that knows their way around.


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