We're going to focus on 3 areas when testing our surf specific mobility & flexibility.
- the shoulders
- the hips
- the ankles
Let’s start with the shoulders because I think it all makes sense for everyone how important the shoulders are for us as surfers.
50% of our time in the water we're paddling.
Doing that same paddling movement over and over again leads to specific muscle training and stiffness. The first one can lead to imbalances in your shoulder strength and the second one to restricted mobility. We do not want that because both are risk factors for developing a painful shoulder.
Not only to avoid injury, but also for paddle performance a good mobility is important. It means that you can use your full range of motion to develop your strength and enhance your paddle efficiency massively.
Next, the hips & the ankles.
Think about one of the first things you do as you want to catch a wave, your pop up.
You need to get your feet as quickly as possible underneath your trunk. The "smaller" you can make yourself, the better you can directly keep the hips low and find balance on your board. Staying low and making yourself small means using all your hip and ankle flexion.
The more you progress in your surfing, this mobility becomes important in your bottom turn for example. You bend through the ankles, knees and hips to compress your speed before going into your next maneuver.
Or for the more advanced surfer, think about your position in the barrel, staying low is key.
(Not the big ones where you stand upright ;-))
If you struggle to get in any of these positions, usually that means you have not enough mobility in at least 1 of these 2 areas.