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Salim Ahmed - surfer tips

Swim to Surf Tips #1

How Swimming Can Help Your Surfing

Admittedly, this is a weird angle to start a Swimming blog from. But I was asked to put some thoughts together recently for a guide for the Approaching Lines, organisers of the London Surf Film Festival, by a good mate Demelza Taylor. A keen swimmer, surfer, and writer.

But then I thought about it, and I have swum for over 45 of my 51 years, and surfed (not brilliantly) for 35 of them. My surfs have taken in Hawaii, Australia, NZ, California, Cornwall, and France, and I’ve learned a lot about swimming during those trips too, even if it was sometimes to escape the impact zone in surf spots where board leashes were banned.In fact, as surfers, we only think about swimming when our leash breaks, or we are trying to improve our paddle out to the breaks or to get pout of sa rip or catch that wave with a burst.

To Get Swim Fit

Paddling on a board is very different to swimming without one. But many of the basic drills can add strength to your paddle out, and make the difference when paddling for that elusive wave. With strong swim fitness, you could be catching waves others can’t too.

  1. Always start a session with one or two lengths of front crawl leg kick only using a float. We never use those legs, and they can make all the difference once you’re off the board.
  2. Swim 10 x 25 front crawl as a warm up. Concentrate on a long drawn out stroke, reaching right out with each arm stroke.
  3. Swim 30 x 25 frontcrawl, alternating from a comfortable cruise to a demo-sprint (at 65 to 70% effort). Use the slow length to recover, before picking up the speed largely through a slight increase in kick rate.
  4. Swim 12 lengths alternating a head up water polo style front crawl paddle looking straight ahead, with 3 normal lengths of front crawl with head down and breathing to the side.
  5. Finally end with 6 lengths of breastroke, extending the glide. Aim to work to completing each length with 15 strokes or less.

Next Time: Swim to Surf 2 – How To Get/Swim Out of Trouble

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