Swim Stronger

All leashes break at some point. Being a strong swimmer is crucial to self-rescue. Here’s are some “how-to” videos on becoming a stronger swimmer.

Breathing: 3 mistakes to avoid.

Becoming efficient in breathing during a swim makes all the difference. Particularly when you are trying to swim back to shore while being pounded (and hold down) by whitewater. This video covers some easy to avoid breathing mistakes.

Freestyle: basic technique.

Speedo shot this high-end instruction video, that takes you through the basics of a proper freestyle stroke. In the ocean, you probably want to use a water polo stroke (keeping your head out of the water), but this covers some helpful basics.

Improve your paddle power.

Improving paddling technique.

This video is coming from surfingpaddling.com and explains how to improve your paddle technique. These guys offer a severe amount of knowledge to help any surfer strengthen their paddling efficiency. They offer both in person as well as virtual stroke analyses

Swim training

This showed up on a Surfline forum: a basic swim training regiment as suggested by Australian surf legend Nic Carroll. A super clear, straightforward swim training regiment to improve swim and paddle power.

Here is the link to the original post on Surfline.

“First things first: Pool, pool, pool. Your element is water, and the priority through this long long winter is to stay in contact with it. So let's start there. 
Next priority is to maintain your paddling fitness. Given the presence of a pool, and a good approach to swim training (ie. actually DOING it, as opposed to avoiding it!), you can actually hit the water next spring in better shape than when you left it. 
Get a good pair of swim goggles, a pair of swim trunks, and you're ready to go. Check out the very simple swim workout below: 

(4 - 5 times a week, all done freestyle, except where indicated) 

1. Jump in and swim 400 meters, nice and smoothly, not too quick, not too slow. This is to warm up and loosen your whole body. 
2. Take a short rest, just a couple minutes. Let the heart rate return to somewhere near normal. 
3. Do a set of short quick sprints. You're probably swimming in a 25-meter pool, so do this:
8 x 25m, each one pretty much as quick as you can, with a 20 second break between each 25m. (Or start each 25m exactly 40 seconds after you started the last one - a 40-second "interval". Intervals keep you honest.) 
4. Take another rest. That little sprint set should've limbered you up and got some heat running through your brain and body. 
5. Now a set of sturdy strengtheners.
5 x 100m, smooth and strong, with a 30 second gap between each 100m. (Or on a 2-minute interval.) 
6. Take another rest. That should've opened your lungs right up and got some endorphins moving. Healthy tingling through body, etc. 
7. Now a finish-off power set.
6 x 50m, with a 20 second break between each. (Or a 50-second interval.) 
8. Roll right into a slow "warmdown" 100m, swim very gently, 25m free, 25m backstroke, 25m breaststroke, 25m free to finish. 
9. Drink a couple pints of water. 

Most surfers will feel some odd muscles twitching after a couple of these session, but it won't be too bad - not as bad as if you hadn't done any kind of upper body work. 

After four or five weeks at this pace, you'll be ready to tune it up a bit. Try this one out every second session: 


1. Jump in for the 400-meter warmup gig. 

2. Rest for a minute or so, then straight into this: 

3. Serious strengtheners:
10 x 50m, first five on a 2 minute interval, second five on a 1min-50sec interval. (Don't give up on number eight, either!) 

4. Rest for a couple minutes, then:
10 x 50m, first five on 1 minute, second five on 45 seconds. 

5. Rest for a minute or so, then (ha ha!):
8 x 25m UNDERWATER, each on 1 minute. (You can use a set of swim fins on this one -- not a bad investment.) 

6. 6x50, swimming 25 free, 25 other stroke - backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly. Your choice of the other stroke. (If you can manage it, try to revolve twice through the three - I know butterfly is a real trick.) Each 50 on 1m15s.
6. Rest for a couple of minutes, then swim right through the remaining 600m without stopping, but doing 25m backstroke for every 75m freestyle. Slow yourself down through the last 100, down to warm down pace. 

Keep drinking nice clean fresh water a LOT during the days before and after your sessions, it'll flush out a lot of exercise byproducts and keep your muscles loose and soft. If you don't do this, you'll hurt your kidneys and liver and your recoveries will be slower. 

Spend the bucks you've saved not joining a gym on a good massage from time to time --or just save for a couple new boards. 

Any good pool center will have some sort of swim group or program where you can hook up with other people and maybe train with 'em a bit, swim training is way easier with a couple buddies.

Good luck!”

Book Tip

Nick Carroll also wrote this book called “Surfing your best”. It’s a no-nonsense book filled with tons of hands on advice. All time favorite.


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