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Adventurous Surfing Ways To Maintain Stamina


It’s been a little over a week since I returned from surfing in the Mentawai Islands for 9 days. To say it was amazing is an understatement, but there were moments of brutality which appeared in a good way and made me feel alive. 


We stayed in a surf camp called Beng Bengs which ironically wasn't by the Beng Bengs surf breaks, but in front of Ebays. The camp is owned by an Italian guy called Christian and his business partner. Christian lives there during the season with his local wife Sindy and their 2 year old daughter. 


The food at the camp was beyond expectations and was exactly the food I needed for my low histamine diet. Christian had taught his staff how to make italian influenced food, so there was lots of meat and salads with a yummy dressing. We even had a great surprise one night after a hard afternoon of surfing when the staff bought out Tiramisu! We all squealed with delight and immediately gobbled it down while the 2 that didn't have theres yet had to watch use with envy until there's appeared. 


I couldn't believe how much we ate. The amount I ate for 1 dinner I would normally eat for 2 dinners at home. 


Our days were quite simple. After waking we had breakfast, got ready, went out to the surf breaks in the boat (5 - 45 min), surfed 3-4hr, came back, lunch, rest, back on the boat to surf 2-3hrs, back home for dinner, watched the photos from the day and then went to bed. 


We did this for 9 days straight,  which was amazing, but the body was starting to feel it by day 5 and my pre-existing shoulder injury was certainly needing attending. 


I had to pull out all my tricks to maintain my stamina. My go to for shoulder maintenance was using a Red Light Therapy Pad. This was a life saver. The one I have wasn’t that expensive, I think I actually bought it off Ebay, but it certainly does the job with reducing inflammation. One of the girls broke her toe on the first surf and used it daily. The difference it made was noticeable and enabled her to continue surfing in relative comfort. 


My next goto for energy conservation was my afternoon ‘none sleep deep rest’ practice. I have been doing this type of practice for about 20 years, but a couple of years ago I bought a vagal nerve relaxer called Sensate. I am not endorsed by these guys or get any kickbacks, but I love how quickly the Sensate drops me into a parasympathetic state, which allows me to have a deep restorative rest.  After my afternoon rest, I would get stuck into some stretching and rolling, plus some stimulating breathing exercises to get me energised for the afternoon surf. 


On day 5 I was feeling it in my body. My shoulder was playing with my mind as it was making my arm feel weak and I could also feel the buildup of lactic acid in my arms. I started using breath holds while I was paddling back out to the take off zone. I would hold for around 8 paddles, take 3 breaths and repeat. As breath holds offset the build up of lactic acid and stimulates the contraction of the spleen to release more red blood cells, this is a way of giving me a second wind and an extra burst of energy which I needed. I continued to do this every surf I had until the rest of the trip when I was starting to feel fatigued. 


“The breath holding exercises to simulate altitude have many benefits for sports performance and health. You can use breath holds to: Delay the onset of fatigue and lactic acid, so you can exercise for longer and recover faster.”,for%20longer%20and%20recover%20faster


The reef wasn't much of an issue as we wore booties for the more shallow spots. There was one surf at 4 Bobs which was super shallow and regardless of the booties I still got a few cuts, plus a ding in my board, which was actually totally worth getting as the wave was amazing. 


This was all solved by a bit of duct tape on the board and some Chinese ointment for the reef cuts called Die Da Yao Jing. This stuff is honestly the best ointment I have ever found. It goes on like a tar which seals the cuts and the alcohol and herbs kill the bacteria so there was no infection getting any type of look in. 


I'm now home processing the trip while getting used to surfing with the crowds again in small 1-2 ft conditions. This is perfect for some shoulder rehabilitation as it still needs some attention to recover from flogging it for the best 9 days of surfing I have ever had!


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