Surf Outfitter Blog

  • Surfing Builds Character

    Whether you’re surfing on the North Shore of Oahu or skimboarding ankle biters, any experienced surfer can tell you that surfing isn’t a sport that comes with an easy benchmark for success. Put into practice first by high-born Polynesians, the surfing tradition has evolved as the centuries have, calling on generations of participants to learn the patience that comes with waiting for just the right wave and the select combination of skill and intuition..

    The fundamental truth of surfing is this: Unlike politics and investment banking, you’re unlikely to reach those lofty peaks with only yourself in mind.

    Engaging with the Sea

    The best surfers learn early that, with respect for the wave comes respect for the ocean – at least in part because the sport itself is entirely contingent on nature's cooperation. If the waters are choked with trash, if the wind isn't moving, if any number of interdependent factors fail to come together at the right moment, no amount of skill on the board can change the outcome.

    Though every surfer hopes for the chance to snag a snapshot moment on a high wave, the chance means waiting – sometimes for hours or even days – and accepting no certainty of reward at the end.

    Going Green

    With the ocean currently under threat from an increasing litany of issues directly relating to change, including rising seas and pollution, surfers have begun to come together with astonishing political power. Several groups have called for cleaner beaches and a stronger movement to halt sea level rise – which continues to contribute to erosion in a growing number of communities, whose members are even now watching the stunning landscapes that once put them on the map slip irretrievably away.

    One such community is the Save Trestles Campaign, which took action against plans to construct a road that would have endangered San Mateo Creek – a popular surfing spot and thriving habitat for marine animals. Other groups have singlehandedly, and often successfully, tackled environmentally destructive development plans and pollution, saving beaches and wild animals from habitat loss.

    Staying Safe

    Of course, no surfer enters the water without the deeply held understanding that any wrong move can mean injury and even death – for themselves and bystanders. Surprisingly, attacks by marine animals are among the most common causes of injury, followed by wipe-outs on sand or rocky outcroppings.

    A surfer who's miscalculated the energy and breadth of a wave can also easily be swept underneath, held down by a surging current, or knocked unconscious by a falling surfboard, all of which can lead to drowning or serious injury.

    In the communal environment inherent to beach life, it’s nearly impossible, and always conspicuous, to surf without the safety of others in mind. Established beach etiquette, though still largely unspoken, arose as American surf culture did in the 1960s, as popular beaches became increasingly crowded and chaotic. The rules, though they vary by location and culture, are strictly enforced by most beach-goers, and those eager to cut corners for a shot at glory will often find themselves outnumbered.

    Surfers also use shorthand to define the right of way in the water, and a line order that everyone is expected to follow while paddling out. The system is simple, but it works, ensuring that everyone in the water understands where to expect other surfers to appear and how to avoid them when necessary. Fewer injuries are typically reported at beaches with a cohesive system of rules, and, as a community, surfers have proven more than willing to embrace them.

    Down to Mindset

    Balancing over hundreds of feet of crashing water takes more than an afternoon of practice to master, which is largely why so many experienced surfers paddle out at nearly every available moment. Persistence is the key to mastery.

    And persistence means falling hundreds, sometimes thousands of times, often in front of spectators, and running the gantlet of emotions that go hand in hand with continuous failure. And still, the best of the best are those still willing to get up, dust themselves off, and paddle right back out for another try. Like so many other difficult tasks in life, it usually is not enough to suffer a public fall only once.

    With everything in the water in constant flux, nailing a perfect run means cultivating the ability to think far past the moment, without ever letting outside distractions in. As new contingencies evolve by the moment, even pitch-perfect accuracy and positioning isn't always enough, and, in many cases, success comes down to hard-won practice, and the ability to suffer with grace the consequences of wrong actions.

    The Art of Technique

    Surfing techniques, from the standard paddle to the more visually stunning front side snap, are nearly as individual as surfers themselves are. Those who stick with the sport often choose to brand themselves with signature moves, such as Australian champion Tyler Wright—who famously made the Big Frontside Kick her own. It's a recognized mark of a professional, to be able to bring a spark of creative flair to a sport that requires so much intensive focus. Generations of surfers – both pro and those at an amateur level – have upped the ante for newcomers by imbuing the sport with a healthy sense of creative, as well as physical, competition.

    Final Thoughts

    In any sport with a diverse range of participants, equipment selection often comes down to skill and often requires a helping hand from a professional in the know. Surfing is a great sport. Not only is it fun and a great way to remain in shape, but it can also help build character. Respect for nature and yourself remains an essential element of surfer culture.

  • Bathing Suit Season: Don’t Fear It Any Longer

    The summertime is synonymous with fun for many people. The longer hours of daylight and warmer temperatures allow everyone to get outdoors and have some fun in the sun. The beach, lake, and pool are all hot spots that people flock to during this hot season.

    However, there is one aspect of summer that many despise – swimsuit season. After a long winter of covering up and holiday eating, it can be frightening to walk down the beach with your head held high in a bikini.

    Even the task of finding the right bathing suit can seem impossible. Most women loathe an afternoon spent trying on suit after suit under the bright lights in a dressing room. However, you can’t exactly wear your clothes to the beach. So, what’s a girl to do?

    You can’t avoid swimsuit season, but there are ways to make it a little better. Believe it or not, you can feel carefree and confident in your swimsuit. The key to beach confidence is wearing a bathing suit that you feel good in. One that complements your frame and body type. A good bathing suit should not only fit, but draw the eye to areas you want to highlight and away from areas you don’t.

    The Secret

    Have you ever seen other bikini-clad girls splashing in the ocean or running down the beach confidently and wondered how do they do it? Meanwhile, you’re busy pulling on and adjusting your bathing suit, and wishing you could cover up. If you don’t feel too hot in your swimsuit, it makes it even harder to emerge from under the umbrella, let alone strut your stuff down the beach.

    Everyone should love the bathing suit they wear. We want everyone to feel confident and have fun on the water. That’s why we’re going to let you in on a little secret. It’s all in the fit.

    When you go to try on swimsuits, if you know what styles and cuts to look for, along with selecting one that fits you correctly, you’ll walk away with a suit that you feel good in. If you’re stressing about the impending swimsuit season, don’t worry! Below, we have included all the different bathing suit styles that complement each body type.

    Body Types

    First, you need a crash course in body types. If you are unsure of what body type you may be, then there’s a good chance you’ve been wearing the wrong bathing suits – which might explain while you haven’t felt fully confident. Below is a guide to the most common body types for women.

    Hourglass

    As the name insinuates, you are shaped like an hourglass. This means you have curvy hips and a larger bust. Your waist is cinched, meaning it is drastically smaller than your hips and bust.

     Pear Shaped

    Pear shaped women are wider on the bottom than they are up top. Their upper bodies are usually slender with a smaller bust. They have great hips, which are the widest part of the body.

    Petite

    Petite women are small all over. Short in height and weight, these ladies likely have a smaller bust and hips.

     Full Figured

    Full figured gals have an all-over curvy or heavy figure. With larger bust and hips, however, measurements aren’t as drastic as hourglass figures.

    Straight Up and Down

    Ladies who are described as straight up and down have very few curves, and their hip-bust-waist measurements are similar.

    Athletic

    Women with athletic figures have broader shoulders with narrower hips and naturally muscular or toned legs.

    Apple

    Women with apple figures resemble the rounded fruit, with thinner legs and arms, but a fuller torso.

     

    The Style and Cut for You

    Now that you have your body type figured out, find out the style or cut that’s perfect for you!

     Triangle top

    Triangle tops have cups that are – you guessed it – shaped in a triangle with string ties. They work best for those with a smaller bust, as they don’t give any added support. They also accentuate broad shoulders, toned arms, and smaller upper bodies.

    Bandeau tops

    Since these tops have no straps, ladies with a bigger bust should stay away, as they give no extra support. Also, those with an apple shape should steer clear, as the straight across cut will only bring more attention to broad shoulders and round belly.

    Underwire and halter tops

    Women who need more support should turn to molded cups and underwires. Halters are another great look that gives you an added lift.

    Molded cups

    Those with a smaller chest might like molded cups as they create a fuller bust line.

    Hipster bottoms

    These bottoms are shaped like boy shorts or briefs and sit at the hip. They are perfect for those who want full coverage on their lower half. Another option is the currently popular high waist bottom. Fuller bottoms tend to look the best on pear and athletic-shaped women. Petite women should stay away from them as they might overwhelm their frame.

    String bottoms

    String bottoms complement triangle tops and have an adjustable tie at each hip. They have medium coverage with little support. They tend to look better on athletic, straight up and down, and petite figures.

    Brazilian cuts

    Brazilian cuts are not for the faint of heart! They have very minimal covering and are perfect for ladies who want to show off their backside. While they look good on most bodies, athletic, hourglass, and petite figures usually gravitate toward this style to show off their great lower halves.

    Current Trends for Everyone

    With that being said, there are several bathing suit trends that look great on everyone.  One-piece styles are no longer reserved for older women. One-pieces have made a comeback. Many have taken inspiration from suits of the past with the high leg and deep back from the 80s and 90s.

    Mesh is also a biggie this season. You can find just about any type of suit with mesh detailing – high waist bottoms, one-pieces, triangle tops, etc. – so try one out! They look great on the beach, and the extra detail makes a solid-colored suit pop.

    Lastly, no matter what your body type or the suit you choose, mixing and matching will never go out of style. So, have fun and mix two of your favorite colors together for a head-turning look.  Also, keep in mind that cutouts, ruffles, and patterns are always on trend. Just because you’re in a bathing suit, it doesn’t mean you have to play it safe with solids (unless you want to.)

  • Catching Waves: Finding Your Surf Haven

    Finding that perfect wave is a very subjective hunt because skill level and personal preferences play a big part in where to go and what kind of wave you want to ride. There are some amazing places all over this ocean-filled world. With seven oceans, and innumerable seas to choose from, the most important factor is what kind of experience are you searching for?

    Casual or beginner surfers may dream of the ultimate surfing experience, such as surfing Pipeline, a well known Hot Zone, where heavy and hollow waves break very close to shore. If you fit into this category, you may find yourself frustrated because of localism. Typically, this type of surf attracts professionals or expert level surfers for whom these waves are their nirvana. Injecting yourself to their line-up can result in not only feeling the stress to match their skill and speed, but they too will become resentful of your casual approach.

    Conversely, if you are a highly skilled surfer and surfing is a part of your life, then finding a laid back beach, known as a Cool Zone, where it is crowded with newbies, families and weekend warriors, the experience will leave you unsated.  The waves may be mellow and crashing at a perfect angle, with that glass like glaze on the ocean, but you won't have the fulfilling adventure of chasing the wave with other like-minded members of a competitive pack.

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    By all means, track down that rising swell, coming fast and hard towards the beach. High performance rippers will find the Hot Zones more culturally acclimated to their skill level. There are always the unspoken Bill of Rights and Lefts that should be followed no matter what level you are. Straight from www.surfline.com, here are the ten commandments that every ripper should follow.

    Bill of Rights and Lefts

    1. Pick the right location. Hot Zones versus Cool Zones, depending on your skill level, should be chosen wisely. Every surfer should have the experience they desire, and certainly can accomplish this with a little research of the area they want to hit.
    2. Don't drop in or snake your fellow surfer. These are the two types of essentially taking away another surfer's wave.
      • Dropping in is when a rider has already claimed the wave, and someone else picks it up from further out on the shoulder. This may be an accidental occurrence, especially in a crowded line-up. If you do happen to drop in on someone's wave, be sure to get off as quickly as possible and apologize.
      • Snaking is a more malicious because it is intentional and though still dangerous, often happens with highly competitive surfers. Essentially, when one surfer is lined up, preparing to take a     wave, the snaker will come up behind them while the first surfer is totally focused on the wave, and follow them off the shoulder. It appears that the rightful rider of the wave dropped in on the snaker, which onlookers will know the truth.
      • Note: You may be visiting an area where you see drop-ins happen with a pack, and they are smiling and having an epic good time. They are probably friends enjoying a ride share, and by no means does this give you the a-okay to do the same. Respect the locals.
    3. While paddling out to or within a break, it is your responsibility to stay out of the way of riders on waves. Once a rider has caught a wave, it is good manners to allow them to enjoy the wave and do your best not to interfere. If you do find yourself caught in whitewater, push through it and don't frantically paddle to reach the shoulder. It is extremely bad etiquette, as well as paddling directly into a rider's take-off. Not only can this cause you or the rider to wipeout, you can get seriously injured and risk the wrath of your fellow ripper.
    4. Though shalt learn to take turns. Surfers tend to be greedy creatures, wanting all the best waves, all the time. However, unless you are surfing alone, it is a best practice to share wave-catching opportunities and keep the peace on the ocean. On occasion, hot surf spots will be packed with long line-ups and not enough waves for everyone. Surfline recommends you adjust your attitude to the situation, or find a better, less crowded spot to ride.
    5. In any surf session, respect the pre-existing vibe in the lineup. Any surfer will tell you that there is a distinct vibe in every session, and you can feel it change with new riders coming to join. The vibes may vary on the type of surf and the time of day, but ultimately the determining factor is attitude. To get a feel for the vibe, ask questions of surfers coming off the water. Ask various questions like “Get any good ones?” or “Much room out there?” This will give you an idea of whether or not it is a good spot for you to join, or move to a different area of the beach.
    6. Always aid another surfer in trouble. As with any potentially dangerous situations, you must keep your own safety at the forefront of your mind. However, surfing is a unique sport because often there are no paramedical services close-by, and riders rely on one another to stay safe. Being at the mercy of the power of the ocean proposes its own dangers, so be conscientious of your fellow surfers and be sure to help in any way you can if one is in trouble.
    7. When traveling, thou shalt respect the local surfers and their rights and customs, without forfeiting your own right to a wave. It doesn't matter if the “local” surfers grew up there or have only been surfing for a week in that location. They have more history there than you and know how the sessions roll. If you are traveling in numbers to a spot, don't immediately charge the water to catch the next set of waves. Take a little time to watch, and other riders will come in to give you space to join the session. Especially take heed when traveling to other countries to surf, as customs vary around the world as much as languages. Let the locals set the pace, and fall into their rhythm. This not only will create a positive experience for you, but leave the local surfers more open to the next rider who comes to town. Always thank them for sharing their spot and invite them to your home surf spot.
    8. Though shalt not use your surfing advantage to abuse your fellow surfers. This may seem like a complex piece of etiquette, it can be summarized in four simple words: don't be an a-hole. You may be stronger, bigger, have a longer board, better surfing skills, higher surfing fitness, and/or more knowledge of the local customs, but it doesn't mean you wield it to the detriment of your fellow riders. Surfing is all about escaping the rat race, to be able to have a physical activity one can enjoy, in the sun, on the surf, and for many it is a zen-like experience. Recognize advantages you may have over your fellow surfers and don't use them to put others at ease, or worse, in danger.
    9. At all times, be responsible for your own equipment and respectful of others'. Surfboards can be dangerous when mishandled, like letting one go in the middle of a ride. Never throw away your board, as it can injure others. Keep your board in good maintenance, free of nicks, sharp fins, or any other damage as it can cause problems out on the ocean. If you do cause damage to someone else's board, always arrange to have it repaired or agree upon a solution.
    10. Lastly, relax, have fun, and enjoy your surfing and that of your fellow surfer. Drew Kampion, famous surf writer and editor says, “Life is a wave and your attitude is your surfboard!” A good attitude goes a long way in life, and on the ocean.

    Always remember your fellow surfers' experience matters just as much as yours. Creating a surf haven for everyone to enjoy is up to each individual rider. Respect each other, and keep chasing your perfect wave.

  • Surfing for Total Health

    “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

    -Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986.

    Everything is about speed today: how fast can a project get finished, how fast can I drive, how fast is the wireless internet? So much speed and efficiency and yet nothing ever seems to get finished. So many questions, so few answers. To some degree even our vacations seem to be stuck on fast-forward: rush to the airport, hurry to a hotel, get to the buffet, the show, the tour bus on time. So much scheduling and stress - is it any wonder that so many Americans are medicated nowadays? We are just not designed for this much unabated hustle.

    Even worse, we can make the time we DO carve out to invest in ourselves equally stressful. Exercise has long been a universally agreed-upon option for reducing stress, but so many forms of exercise are both competitive and anxiety-inducing. We are so organized, we take away the spontaneity and joy of the pursuit. Instead of running outside in nature, we’re on a treadmill multi-tasking (reading a magazine, listening to a podcast or TV) or taking on gigantic though admirable challenges like a Tough Mudder or a Spartan Sprint.  As a culture, we just don’t seem to be able to just let go. Life moves too fast - it did for Ferris Bueller back in 1986 and it certainly hasn’t gotten any slower.

    SurfingForTotalHealth1

    Finding an activity that blends the exercise our bodies need with the soothing discipline our minds require seems nearly impossible - until you look out to the ocean. In the water, free and unplugged from the distractions of our digital world, surfing may be a near perfect stress reducer for modern Americans. More than just a sport, surfing is a beautifully logical counter to the strains of the modern world. The benefits of surfing for both body and mind are extensive, having been proven to be an effective whole-body workout coupled with outdoor meditation.

    At www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au, they approach total health and wellness by taking small steps each day to exercise. They go on to say that going to the gym or playing a sport is even more important to boost overall health such as a stronger immune system and improved heart and lung function. Surfing, among other water sports, is physical and mental exercise, truly promoting total body health.

    The common parental refrain to children everywhere of “Go outside!” shouldn’t be forgotten as we become adults ourselves. Outside adventures with fresh air, room to move, along with time to just think or create never lose their value. As great as the ‘Great Outdoors’ can be, there is perhaps no better outdoors than that found seaside, on the beach or in the ocean itself.

    Time spent seaside has often been lauded as a great improver of disposition. Sheer proximity to something so enormous helps provide perspective, the sounds of the ocean is a natural white noise to calms our senses and quiet our mind, and even modern science is starting to investigate the impact that negative ions produced by the ocean have to lift our spirits.

    Simply spending time at the beach affords moments for mindfulness. Surfing takes that to next level. Surfing requires you to pay attention to the sky, the wind, the waves. Focus is required to be able to read the world around you, from current patterns and wave formation to the angle of the sun and weather changes. The accumulated mental hubbub and chatter we carry to the ocean have no place there, for distraction will get you a face full of seaweed or an unexpected cold dunking.

    Surfing teaches patience and keen observation skills, and rewards them with a glorious adrenaline rush. Waiting, adrift, while watching for that one perfect wave to come narrows your focus down to the purity of being absolutely in a moment. It engages all the senses, from the taste and smell of saltwater to the sound of crashing waves and the calling of gulls.

    The shading of sunlight on water surrounds you, and physical sensations abound: cold or warm water, pulling currents, the board under you. Nothing comes with you except what you absolutely need: no excess gear, no thoughts, and especially no cell phone or other digital tether. A whole wide world of clamor narrows down to waiting for the next wave and solving the problem of how to ride it best. In short, the soothing elements taught in stress management classes are all waiting for you out there on the water. All you have to do is engage with the environment to disengage from the fast lane.

    Developing a passion for surfing and a healthy addiction to the accompanying Zen peacefulness also have satellite benefits that cascade into aspects of everyday life. Surfing is a sport that chases the dawn, so being up early gives surfers a chance to go out and play well before any work or school commitments have a chance to cloud our minds. Starting the day with a brisk, fun activity makes the rest of the day run more smoothly, fueled by a greater perspective and natural endorphins.

    SurfingForTotalHealth2

    As a demanding and very physical activity, food and diet become essential to getting the best out of any given trip because a body must be fueled well for optimum performance. The exertion also counteracts one of the most diabolical aspects of stress in the modern world: insomnia. Peaceful yet exhilarating, surfing is a full body workout coupled with intensive meditative concentration. Together these components help to provide a deeper, more rejuvenating, and restful sleep, a sleep that allows you to greet the dawn on your board morning after morning with vigor.

    It is just as important to support a full body workout on the surf with the right equipment, such as protective clothing and leashes. Maximizing your workout is easier to do when you are comfortable and protected from burns, rashes and scrapes.

    Examined as a whole, the benefits of surfing coalesce swiftly into an argument as convincing and inevitable as the tides. Nature. Meditation. Exercise. Awareness. Escape. Ferris Bueller was right - if you don't slow down, life is easy to miss- but it can also be one amazing and enjoyable ride, where hard work and a mind at ease allow the balance we find on a surfboard to find its way into the rest of our day.

  • Limits Exist ... Sort Of

    Everyone knows that surfing is one of the best exercises out there for all-over strength, conditioning, and overall physical fitness. It’s challenging, exhilarating, relaxing, and simply just fun. However, not all of us live within a reasonable daily drive to the ocean. Many of us live in places where the ocean is a frosty prospect for much of the year, or where the waves aren’t quite up to standard. For us, the mere mortals of the surfing world who do not own a beach house in the tropics, surfing as a sole means of exercise doesn’t work—not because we don’t want it to, but because of the constraints of normal life.

    Limits4

    Like many all-encompassing passions, surfing enters every aspect of your life, sometimes whether you mean it to or not. Sometimes it manifests in habitual checking of weather and wave forecasts, sometimes by pouring over surfing magazines and catalogs. When you are out there, it's all you can think of. When you’re not, all that you can think of is how to get back. Not bad for a pursuit that hones your core, strengthens your heart, and lends great mental balance to everyday living.

    Facing the Challenge

    The hitch is how to get the most out of the days you DO get out there, and how to fling yourself tirelessly (okay—almost tirelessly) into one wave after another all day long? If you’re landlocked, what do you do to prime your body for the best surfing?

    Like most great athletic challenges, the answer comes in the form of cross training. Not only does cross training up your overall performance, it also lessens your likelihood of sustaining an injury that would keep you from performing at peak efficiency. Professional athletes have been incorporating aspects of other branches of fitness for years; what works for them can also work for the everyday Joe who wants to make the most of his weekend or vacation. Like any great discipline, attention to the small details makes all the difference.

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    The Basic Theory

    When people do repetitive actions over and over again, whether through sports, employment, hobbies, or habits, the great danger lies in overuse issues. Tendinitis, bursitis, sprains, and strains can all stem from overusing some muscle groups while allowing others to stay weak or underutilized.

    By incorporating different patterns of use and movement, any given muscle group can be toned and strengthened in ways that both prevent injury and optimize performance. This has been apparent in the NFL for decades, as ballet core exercises have been assimilated into training programs. Greater balance and flexibility allows for the body to undergo great strain and demand, while still being able to bounce back unharmed. In this light, cross training falls into three categories: cardiovascular activity, strength training, and flexibility.

    Training on the Run

    Cardio, in a nutshell, is the branch of exercise that focuses on training your heart and circulatory system. It may manifest in activities that make us pant and sweat; but the true target is to strengthen your heart so it can beat with greater efficiency and distribute blood and oxygen to all parts of your body. A strong heart manifests most obviously in great endurance—something that is essential, to make the most of a day of surfing.

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    Paddling and swimming both take a great deal of cardiovascular training; and, while riding a wave is the fun part, it's only about 5% of your time in the water. Supplementing your aquatic cardio with land-based pursuits like cycling, dancing, running, and martial arts will pay of dividends.

    Pick Things Up and Put Them Down

    Resistance or weight training seems to evoke a love/hate reaction from people. Fear of “bulking up” or “not bulking up enough” haunts this otherwise very reasonable activity. It is also very time intensive and physically challenging—but it works. By including weight training in your surf body preparation and maintenance program, you achieve several different benefits.

    First, stronger muscles in general lend to better performance and balance. Squats are a prime example of a perfect land-based training exercise that translates well onto a board. By strengthening those muscles that most come into play, abrupt shifts through fatigue and loss of balance are less likely to occur. Push-ups, crunches, and plyometrics can all be assimilated into your land routine with spectacular results. Additionally, strength training has the long-term benefit of increasing bone density, making your skeletal structure less susceptible to the fractures and breaks that occasionally accompany rough surf or bad luck.

    Don’t Be So Uptight

    Like any physically demanding activity, warm up and cool down time are absolutely essential. Even if you have superb cardio capacity and rock-hard abs, you can still fall afoul of strains, sprains, and overuse issues. These are perhaps the most insidious kinds of injuries, accumulating slowly over time and taking even longer to properly recover from. Without properly supple muscles, abrupt shifts of balance can net you a painful tear that keeps you landlocked for weeks on end.

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    To this end, attending a regular yoga or barre class can be an enjoyably social way to ward off injury while simultaneously improving your overall balance. No one has ever claimed that yoga or ballet is easy; that being said, this discipline of regular stretching may be the single most essential aspect to staying healthy and strong in between surf sessions. If you’re lucky, you can even attend classes that blend stand up paddleboarding and yoga, combining two challenges at once, with a guaranteed soft landing if you lose your balance.

    Just Do It

    The Ancient Greeks said “All things in moderation,” and to some degree that applies even to such a fantastic sport as surfing. Hampered by time, geography, and responsibility, not everyone gets to surf as often as they like—and that is perhaps not such a bad thing. Time away from the ocean allows for different but complementary training that enhances the time we do get to surf, and it wets our appetites and our enthusiasm.

  • The Best Core Exercises to Supercharge Your Surfing

    The first day of surfing can leave even the most physically fit of novice wave-riders exhausted. The continued paddling, repeated “pop-ups,” and holding posture while riding waves to shore can take a lot out of a person. But the muscles that are most often pushed to their limit? The core muscles. This multi-muscle network is responsible not just for simplifying your push to your feet, but keeping you balanced as you await the perfect wave, as well as keeping you upright once you pop to your feet.

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    Contrary to popular belief, core strength means more than having defined abdominal muscles. There is actually an inner corecomposed of the diaphragm, multifidus, pelvic floor, and transversus abdominis. The outer core, surrounding these elements, is comprised of the abdominal muscles, the obliques, and the muscles running up the spine. Both elements of the core must be strong, flexible, and engaged for good surfing to take place.

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    Why the Core Is Central to Good Surfing

    A strong core is about more than just looking good in the bathing suit you’ll surf in. An engaged core will keep you upright while out on the water; without attention to these key muscles, your performance atop your board will suffer, or perhaps even cause injury.

    In addition to strength, however, any workouts you do to strengthen this area must also encourage its flexibility. Cris Mills elaborates:

    Do you have the required flexibility to rotate the lower body away from the upper body? If not, and you go into high speed core training or whippy snaps, you’ll really end up hurting something.

    To ensure that you’re building a core that can serve you well out on the water, Mills encourages you to focus on “spinal stability and pelvic control, and then progress into high speed rotational work, which is much more functional.” You’ll appreciate taking the time to develop these muscles once you’re shredding waves, pivoting expertly without pain, discomfort, or risk of injury.

    Isolated exercises, such as crunches, are minimally effective when building up the sort of strength that aids surfing. Instead, seek to focus on abdominal exercises that mimic some of the motions you’ll utilize out on the water. This will commit these motions to muscle memory, making them easier to do when called upon in the moment.

    Planks

    Planks are a comprehensive exercise; they engage not just the abdominals and back muscles, but also the shoulders and arms. Further, you’ll pass through the plank position in your “pop-up” to your feet, and so this is a good position to get used to. To plank, get into the “top” position of a push-up, with a straight back and straight arms. Feet should be flexed, with the toes holding up the body. Start by seeking to hold the plank position for 20 seconds, and gradually add time as workouts get more complex.

    Prone Swimmer

    Another exercise that engages the back muscles, a portion of the core that is often neglected, the prone swimmer also can provide relief for tight abdominal muscles. Lie face down on the ground, then arch the back, and lift the arms and legs off the ground. Then pull your arms back, as though you were doing the breaststroke on dry land. This added arm movement will give you practice in warming up the shoulder muscles, another set of muscles that must be strong for success in surfing.

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    Jackknifes

    Also sometimes called V-sits, jackknifes start from a full lying position on the back. At once, lift your extended arms and legs up in the air, aiming for them to touch with the body folded while balancing on the butt. Once the arms and legs touch (or come as close as possible), return to the extended lying position in a controlled release. Aim for twenty reps of this exercise to start, increasing this number as your strength improves. Ab muscles and back muscles are engaged here, while also helping you adjust to bringing the arms and legs together quickly as you do in the pop-up.

    Walking Lunges

    While holding the upper body straight up and down (clench the abdominal muscles to make sure of this), lunge forward with one leg, bending the knee at ninety degrees. Push off that leading leg to return to the neutral position. Then, repeat the motion with the other leg. This motion should be repeated twenty times ten on each legwith reps increasing as you get stronger. In addition to engaging the core, the lunge helps to engage and move the hip flexors, another key part of rotating the lower body away from the upper body.

    One final note: as you work to build strength, make sure that it’s not at the expense of also developing flexibility. These two abilities work in concert to prevent fatigue and injury, but overdevelopment of muscles can prevent flexibility when it’s neededsuch as during and after a fall from your board. Supplement exercises like the ones above with copious stretching before and after you hit the waves, and yoga workouts as cross-training. Attention to the strength needed to surf well will keep you safe, energetic, and strong as you ride the waves in to shore.

  • Surfing Songs: The Best Surfing Inspired Music

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    Out on the water, the only soundtrack you have is the ebb and flow of the waves pulsing through your ears. On land, however, you have a little more control over the music that inspires and fuels your surfing. If you’re searching for a bit of inspiration, whether your time is spent dreaming of surfing or just relaxing on the beach, we’ve got a number of suggestions for you!

    Dick Dale, “Miserlou”

    You likely recognize this tune from its role in 1994’s Pulp Fiction, or its use as a sample in The Black Eyed Peas’ “Pump It.” But Dale’s song, and indeed his whole repertoire, has been iconic enough to earn him the title “King of Surf Rock.” Dale and his Del-Tones formed in the early 1950s and played the lion’s share of the songs that formed the genre during that time. Though their style evolved to focus more on cars than surfing in the sixties and seventies, Dale returned to it in a solo career later on. Despite advanced age (at the time of publication, Dale was nearly eighty) and a host of medical issues, he continues to tour and delight audiences with distinct guitar licks and liberal use of a whammy bar.

    The Ventures, “Hawaii Five-O”

    In addition to giving us one of the most iconic TV theme songs, The Ventures are one of the most popular instrumental rock groups of all time. The song charted in the top five in 1969, although this was far from their only chart success. In fact, they had 37 albums hit the charts between 1960 and 1972a staggering total even today. Their name was a verbal representation of the genre-hopping they were willing to do to stay inspired, and they proved highly prolific as a result. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, and occasionally still tour with a modified lineup.

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    The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds

    It may not have the immediate surf appeal of “Surfin’ USA” or “Surfin Safari,” but Pet Sounds solidifies the exceptional nature of The Beach Boys as a band. The groundbreaking album from the Beach Boys celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2016, and continues to have an impact on longtime fans and newer listeners alike. The band’s eleventh studio release, it features some of their most popular songs, including “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Sloop John B,” and “God Only Knows,” a song Paul McCartney once deemed the best song ever written. Their breezy, beach-inspired sound captures the energy of the best beach days, and gives you hope for channeling their genius into your time on the water.

    Weezer, Blue Album

    What The Beach Boys did for surf-inspired music in the sixties, Weezer may have done for the nineties. Their Blue Album hit upon surfing themes directly with songs like “Surf Wax America,” and even recreated the sock-hop craze that shared a time period with surf films in their video for “Buddy Holly.” The gentle but intricate lead guitar work that you hear through the music of the prior artists shows up, courtesy of frontman Rivers Cuomo. Give this album a listen while en route to the beach, or even while cleaning your board after a long day of surfing.

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    Jack’s Mannequin, “Holiday from Real”

    The opening strains of Everything in Transit evokes memories of the beach, with the blowing wind and gentle squawk of seagulls. From there, lead singer and pianist Andrew McMahon launches into this song about spending time with friends near the beach, living a life that feels like a getaway. Those of us who use surfing as a getaway from a hectic or less peaceful life undoubtedly identify with this message. The rest of the album takes an emotional and less escapist trajectory, but its opening song was just made for a carefree trip to the beach.

    Jack Johnson, “Upside Down”

    Especially when shredding in the barrel of a roaring wave, the world can feel like it’s upside down when we’re out on the water. Jack Johnson’s quiet twangy “Upside Down” captures that with a combined bounciness and stillness that feels like the right song to play in your head as you catch a wave and prepare to ride it to shore. Especially when you make it to your feet, and the rush of euphoria washes over you, it’s easy to think what Jack repeats toward the end of the song: “I don’t want this feeling to go away.”

    This is far from a comprehensive list, but we hope it’ll get you started in building your playlist. Have suggestions on what to add? Let us know in the comments!

  • Surfing on Screen: TV and Movie Surfing Favorites

    Our first priority is generally to be at the beach. The sunshine, the waves, the feel of the sandit all just feels right. But, sometimes, that’s not always in the cards. Whether we’re landlocked, nursing an injury, or weather has gotten in the way of our perfect beach day, sometimes we have to stay inside.

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    However, those days can still include surfing through movie (and TV!) magic. We’re sharing a few of our favorites to add to your queue or search for online.

    The Endless Summer (1966)

    The seminal documentary on surfing by filmmaker Bruce Brown, The Endless Summer follows surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave; its title refers to the extensive travel required to surf year-round. Beautifully photographed and intimate in its feel, you’ll love the spirit of this film, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year.

    Riding Giants (2004)

    Three years after his heartfelt and energetic documentary on skateboarding, Dogtown and Z-Boys, director Stacy Peralta turned his eye and camera toward a different board sport: surfing. Riding Giants shares current testimony on the sport, with footage and interviews about its history. Peralta is a painstaking filmmaker, and you will learn a staggering amount about the sport as a result. This one will have you itching to catch waves once it’s done.

    Gidget (1959)

    Admittedly, this 50s-era Sandra Dee vehicle (which later inspired a Sally Field-starring TV show) has a different tone from the films already listed. However, it can be fun to look at the image surfing had in earlier daysone of rebellion and slight dangerand what effects that image had on naive young teenagers. This pick is definitely a sillier one, but still worth a watch at least once.

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    Point Break (1991)

    In the early nineties, it would appear that surfing still had a reputation for rebellion. Point Break capitalized on that assumption with its story about an undercover FBI agent who works his way into a surfer gang, hoping to connect them to a string of bank robberies. Among the best of Patrick Swayze’s movies, it also stars Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, and Lori Petty. A remake was released in 2015 ... but you can go ahead and skip that one.

    Blue Crush (2002)

    Although Gidget does surf in her movies, relatively few movies focus on female surfers. In 2002, Blue Crush provided a change to the formula. Starring Kate Bosworth, Michelle Rodriguez, and Matthew Davis, it tells the story of a talented surfer preparing for the Pipe Masters competition with a distraction on her mindquarterback Matt Tollman. Although the film has its stereotypical teen film moments, it also features skilled action sequences of surfers, and is worth watching for those moments, too.

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    Surf’s Up (2007)

    The surfers in Surf’s Up are also preparing for a major competitionthe Penguin World Surfing competition. Released during the height of a “penguin craze” in the U.S., this animated “mockumentary” features the voice talents of Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, and real-life human surfers Kelly Slater and Rob Machado. This is another silly way to spend a rainy afternoon, and may be particularly entertaining for younger kids still building enthusiasm to take on the waves for themselves.

    BONUS: Drunk History, “Hawaii” (2014)

    If you’re looking for a short story about the history of surfing ... told by someone who vaguely knows what they’re saying, check out Comedy Central’s Drunk History. A season 2 episode focusing on stories in Hawaii details the brief feud that took place between surfers in Hawaii and ones from Australia. Surfer Eddie Aikau is shown brokering a “peace treaty” of sorts between the two factions over a mutual respect for the sport. There’s some explicit language on this one, so we don’t recommend watching it with kids or at work.

    We’re always wishing for the next beach day, and for conditions that favor time among the waves. In the meantime, we hope these picks will keep you entertained and inspired until the next surf outing arrives.

  • Swim Suits for Every Body Type

    Customizable, scalable, SEO-ready—these qualities are essential in an e-commerce platform for those who want to grow their online business. Magento has a solid reputation in the online marketplace for being an e-commerce platform that merchants can trust and depend on.

    Feature-rich and powerful, this shopping cart software gives both large and small online stores the ability to scale as their business grows and significantly increase their revenue in the process.

    With any e-commerce platform, there is simply no way that a platform is going to fulfill 100 percent of a business’s needs. This is where extensions come in. As the largest open-source e-commerce platform, Magento has the advantage of allowing the brightest developers from all over the world to create useful extensions that improve your online store’s functionality.

    Whether you need an easier way to manage your shipping or track your sales, there is an extension that can help your business grow. Here are the top ten free extensions that will allow you to make your online store do more without burning a hole in your pocket:

    Most Common Fitting Types

    Small Chest?

    No problem. This is a fairly easy fix and usually you can find a plethora of suits with ruffling or a little extra padding to give you some extra oomph. You can also choose string bikini styles; though they are a bit more revealing, they can add shape where one piece suits wouldn't. Go for color, like bright patterns. Combined with ruffles, ruching or padding, your figure will look much fuller.

    Bigger than a C?

    Stay away from the ruffles. With your ample chest, adding ruffles or padding will only allow your chest to enter the pool area before you do. Don't choose sizes like S, M, or L – to give the support your girls need to look their best, find tops that have actual bra sizes. Thicker straps and molded cups can offer more support, keeping the girls in place while you swim or play water sports. Bralette styles are extremely flattering and perfect for surfing, too.

    Small Top, Curvy Bottom?

    This is the typical “pear shape” of the fashion world, but, for you, let's simplify to find you the best suit. Ideally, you want to draw the eyes to your top while flattering your curves. Choose low cut or decorative tops with feminine additions like bows and ruffles. To minimize your lower half, pick out a suit with a skirt that falls just below the widest part of your thigh. Steer clear of boy shorts and thick banded bottoms, as it won't help you balance your body shape. High cut, full coverage bottoms also can elongate your hips and mid-section, creating the illusion of narrower hips.

    Athletic or Tomboy Figure?

    You are the envy of many women, as most suit styles fit your body type. However, for the most flattering look, you may want to check out feminine, flouncy type swim wear. In your case, less is more, so string bikinis with floral patterns and side ties add more curves to your figure. Monokinis or strategic cutouts in one piece suits can add curves exactly where you need and want them.

    Want to Hide Your Tummy?

    There are a variety of suit styles to choose from if you want to hide any extra weight in your middle, often referred to as the “apple shape.” You can go one piece or tankini, high waisted or swim dress, and flatter your figure. Go for a plunging neckline to keep the focus up and away from your tummy, or you can choose a suit with ruching in the middle, which hides any bulges in the gathered material.

    Uncommonly Common Figures

    Built Like a Linebacker?

    If you have broad shoulders, this can make finding a swimsuit that draws compliments challenging, but one of the prettiest looks is the asymmetrical, one shoulder top. Because of your awesome shoulders, you carry this look perfectly while keeping the focus looking to the side instead of taking in your breadth. Choose a solid colored suit or one with prints along the sides to enhance an hourglass shape to your body.

    Booty Lacking?

    Some women choose suits with full coverage thinking the more material, the bigger their behind will look, when in fact it's the opposite. You were blessed with a small behind, and you get to show it off with higher cut, cheeky bottoms. Pick out a loud print or vibrant color to give the illusion of a bigger bottom.

    Ample Backside?

    Minimizing your rear can be done in several ways, such as solid colored bottoms with printed tops. This creates a balanced body look. Also, picking something with full coverage as opposed to skimpy or string suits will make you feel more comfortable. Skirted suits also offer a fun, flirty look while keeping your bottom covered.

    Got Love Handles?

    Who doesn't hate these annoying tidbits? The best way to tuck them away is to wear a high-waist suit. The key is to choose one that comes up above your belly button so that you can avoid the other dreaded look, the muffin top. Loose cut tankinis can help provide coverage as well, giving you a fun look for the beach.

    Short Body, Long Legs?

    Extend the look of your torso with two tips – wearing a low rise bottom combined with a halter top. This will make the appearance of your torso being longer than it is. Showing more skin and maximizing the flattering look in the right suit, and you will be rocking the beach!

    Looking for a Flat, Smooth Back?

    It's tough to hide back fat in a swim suit, since most of them are geared toward showing more skin, especially in the back. To hide these extra folds, choose a suit with wide straps, as the thin ones will only dig into your skin and create more folds than you have. Also, choose a one piece with a high back for a sleek, sexy look that will be sure to turn heads in the surf.

    Short Legs?

    Suits with high cut bottoms will extend your legs to look longer. If you also happen to have a long torso, choose two separate colors for top and bottom to cut the length of your body. Combined with the high cut bottom, you will even out your body shape.

    Burnin' Up?

    The sun is cruel to those with fair skin, and especially so if you love being out on the water or hanging out on the beach for the day. Try a rash guard, which comes in all kinds of fun colors and patterns. It will protect your skin from the sun, and from any harsh rocks if you roughhouse in the water.

    When you head out to your favorite store to pick out your new summer look, be sure to try on a variety of suits. It's always best to find as many different designers as possible, as the sizes and styles may vary slightly from season to season. Remember that suits stretch out when they are wet, so, if you are in doubt as to the size, go smaller. Snug fitting suits always look better, especially when wet. Happy shopping!

  • Surfing in Any Season: An Introduction to Indoor Surfing

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    Even those of us who live in the most idyllic of locations aren’t always able to surf whenever we’d like. Daily life and its obligations get in the way; we have to allow time for rest and injury rehabilitation; andthe least manageable of variablesthe weather doesn’t always cooperate.

    What are we to do during long spells of rain, snow, or the threat of hurricanes? Yes, there are fitness classes that mimic the moves and physical feel of surfing, but the environmental feel of the stoke and euphoria of being out on the water is noticeably absent from these offerings. While our bodies feel the benefits, our hearts and minds aren’t tricked so easily. Luckily, in the last few years, a formidable and frothy alternative is gaining in popularity: indoor surfing.

    The advent of wave machines and artificial waves is allowing indoor surfing to scratch that itch, while reducing the role weather plays in our decision making. Effortlessly simulating the swells we spend so long chasing out in the ocean, indoor surfing is an efficient way to get out on the water, without actually getting out on the water.

    How It Works

    Indoor surfing locations are typically powered by SurfStream technology, a standing wave machine designed to vary the types and intensity of waves available, making it easy for surfers of multiple degrees of experience to participate safely.

    SkyVenture, a New Hampshire-based indoor adventure park, is one user of the SurfStream system, marketing it to prospective consumers as an experience that lets you use a real board while learning skills that are transferable to the real-life waves when the time comes. In fact, the waves they produce are so realistic, they are able to host indoor surfing competitions using this equipment.

    Selecting a Location

    As with any indoor adventure location, you should seek out locations that not only have exciting offerings, but which also have strong safety protocols and procedures demonstrated through their marketing and informational efforts. Do they list for whom these activities are safe or unsafe? If you have questions or concerns, is contact information readily available?

    Consider, also, restrictions that these facilities may have in place for age (do you have especially young surfers with you?), size, or time. Are the facilities you’re considering able to accommodate you? Look for locations that have staff who are willing to answer these questions with a smile and the information you’re looking for.

    How Does It Feel?

    It can be hard to believe that an indoor surfing experience could be anything like the real thing. Lenny Nichols of the Eastern Surfing Association of Northern New England has said as much after trying these machines, remarking that indoor surfing “isn’t meant to replace outdoor surfing; it’s a complement.” However, for many years the same was true of indoor skydiving experiences, and now the popularity of those excursions rivals that of its outdoor predecessor. And, indeed, the same could gradually be coming true for indoor surfing. Using real boards, and waves real enough to facilitate competitive surfing, we may be getting close to an all-season alternative to open water that satisfies even the most discerning of surfers.

    At an April 2016 indoor surfing competition held in Quebec (an area not typically known for its fostering of surf culture), Cheyne Magnusson seemed impressed. “The performances from amateurs of all ages and the top pros who traveled north of the border were totally epic and the atmosphere was electric all day long,” he shared. He went on to say, “It was rad to see how surf culture can thrive in a freezing, landlocked, area of the world!”

    It is that added benefitthat of accessibility―which may be where indoor surfing facilities and technology will provide the most benefit. Those that live on the coast near high-quality waves and frequent access may not exercise this option unless their standard options are taken offline by environmental concerns.

    For frequently cold, landlocked, or otherwise surf-challenged areas, the availability of indoor surfing locations could open up access to the sport for those otherwise “closed off” to the opportunity. And, who knows? In years to come, we could see surf champions who got their start, or maintain world-class skill, through training at these facilities. For now, we urge you to give them a try and see what the increasing hype is all about.

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