From Blue Crush, to Surf’s Up! Many a movie has been made about the challenges, perils, benefits and ultimate cool factor of surfing, a sport characterised by washboard stomachs, healthy tans and sun-streaked hair … but for all the silver screen awe that the sport attracts, the reason for its long term fascination is that this isn’t just a sport that can make you look and feel fab … it is a lot of fun as well, as surf coach Ingemar Cressey explains!
How did you start surfing?
I was born and raised on the beautiful beaches of South Africa, surfing from the age of nine: the first time I took to the water I loved it, and started competing from 10! I was then fortunate enough to win the South African champs when I was 12 which allowed me to travel and surf many surf spots around the world and gain a wealth of knowledge and experience about the sport and lifestyle.
Do you enjoy the coaching side of it as well?
I’ve now been doing it for 23 years, and have been teaching it for over 12 years; surfing has been my life, I love it and owe a lot to it – it has been really good to me; it’s an amazing thing to see someone ride a wave for the first time, I could never get bored of that look on peoples’ faces, its sheer amazement!
So, why is surfing a good work out?
Surfing is a good workout because it allows you to use almost all the muscles in your body: It’s a cardiovascular exercise which is great for burning calories; and it’s also a good work out for those of you who don’t like going to the gym. The atmosphere cannot even compare to a gym, you’re out there with nature enjoying the waves – sometimes you’re having so much fun it doesn’t even feel like a work out. It also has a holistic feeling; having the salt water caress your skin and feeling it rush beneath your feet!
How does it help improve and maintain your fitness?
The paddling aspect of surfing means you are continuously conditioning your upper body muscles, which allows them to grow stronger and generates good muscle memory, which in turn will improve over time benefiting your balance and co-ordination.
What’s your best advice for starting out?
A good way to start is with a beginners lesson, and then if you’re keen to take it on, depending on your size and height buy yourself a beginners board (usually they are the soft boards ranging from six to 10 feet) along with a comfortable wetsuit – these can range in price from £30 pounds to £600 pounds, so there is a lot of scope when buying the equipment. When choosing a beach to learn, always try and pick a beach that has no rocks and has lifeguards about. There is always the option of renting equipment, that way you can figure out what is right for you before you buy anything. You don’t need much equipment to start out, basically just a board and wetsuit, along with some wax and a leash!
Top tips for new surfers …
– Pick your destination carefully: When starting out try not going to crowded beaches; it’s best to have a lot of space around you when learning.
– Be positive: A wave that looks tiny or uninteresting from shore may turn out to be incredibly exciting once the surfer is out there. Without trying it’s impossible to know!
– Be patient: A surfer learns early that it’s not possible to force the ocean to do the surfer’s bidding. There are days when the ocean just isn’t responsive with the good waves and there are days when the surfer is the one who is not responsive to the ocean for one reason or another.
– Embrace challenges: The challenge of surfing is precisely the reason surfers throw themselves into it on a regular basis; surfing shakes things up and leaves a surfer guessing, providing surprises that test a surfer’s character
– And most of all enjoy the ocean!
Fancy a little surfing on your spa break? Visit Ingemar Cressey at his surf school on a Spa & Surf break at The Vale Resort!
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.