Robert Parker in Bali

Robert Parker in Bali
blog contributor Robert Parker Surfing Bali

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I am used to ...................

a certain amount of pain and aches in the old bod after a surf, but sometimes, I seem to experience them more intensely than usual.
It has taken me awhile to realise that it is usually after a session where the conditions might not have been terribly good and I have wiped out a lot of times.
As our ageing, but still useful bodies, are not as flexible as they once were, I think that the contortions and distortions are bodies are forced through in a wipeout situation causes minor strains that we may otherwise not have experienced.
It is the next morning, as I am getting out of bed, that I really notice them and I hobble out of the room bent over like the old guy in the image below, until the stiffness eventually eases and I can straighten up again feeling like a surfer over 50 rather than a surfer over 90!
So, I have realised that I forgot to end this post, with the key element that I wanted to talk about, the forward bend.
I feel this is the most important regular activity I undertake to combat loss of flexibility.
This may sound strange but I generally do this in the shower as the hot water ensures my body is warm reducing the chance of injury.
Rather than a feet together yoga style bend, which I do occasionally, I am talking a feet shoulder width bend and just hanging there for a period whilst breathing gently. You will find that you are slowly able to breathe yourself further down and I can usually get the palms of my hands flat on the floor. This is the closest image I can find that matches what I am describing but with feet at shoulder width and allowing the arms to dangle or fold them up if you can get over enough to warrant it.
Doing this regularly ensures that my hamstrings are loose minimising the risk of back strain caused by tight hamstrings and releases tension in the spinal column, neck and shoulders as well as getting a bit of blood into the head.
Can you touch your toes?


  1. Whoever says "ageing is all in your head" just hasn't been there yet, have they?

    What I hate is when I'm caught inside, and I try to hang onto my board through the whitewater - I have NO STRENGTH in my grip to match the waves anymore, the board just slips out like a greased pig. Arrgghh! I feel like a wimp, but now I just abandon ship and let the leash do it's inelegant but effective job LOL!!

  2. MMmm I can see what you are saying. However not quite sure about just throwing my board in the face of a broken wave though. Inelegant is one word but itd also be pretty sad if your leash broke and you found yourself swimming. Besides its sort of tragic if there is someone behind you and you scare the shit of them. Whenever possible try and hang on mate. Course - walk a mile in my shoes may well fit here. If you cant - you cant

  3. What a crock. I never "throw my board in the face of a broken wave". I said I let the leash do its job. Saw video footage of Derek Hynd surfing J-Bay, he does the same (he wears two leashes), abandons the board and swims down when caught inside a big wave. He's a hardcore pro surfer, and about 2 years younger than me.

    If you swim downward and toward the incoming wave, hard enough to pull the board under the surface a bit, there is no slack in the leash, so hence no jerking motion to break the leash, and less chance of the board hitting someone behind you.

    After you surf some of the powerful spots I have (in my younger days), like Hookipa on Maui, or Ventura Overhead, you learn how to handle situations where you know you won't have the strength to hold on to your board through the incoming whitewater. That knowledge comes in handy when you find, as you age, that you don't have the strength in your grip you once did.

    Thanks for posting, 'tho - as Mark Twain would say, your advice cost me nothing, and it was worth it, too! =)