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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
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    Returning to surfing after a 15 year hiatus

    I'm moving to Santa Barbara/Ventura in the next couple months for work and relationship reasons and am planning on getting back into surfing when I get there. I surfed from age 6 to 12, mainly in San Diego county, and progressed to the point where I could competently surf San O in head-high conditions. However, I'm 27 now, am coming off knee surgery, and haven't been on a board in over 15 years with the exception of a half-hour paddle session on my girlfriend's wavestorm in August. Am I likely to remember anything or am I just going to flail around like a kook for a couple months while I relearn everything?

    I still have a couple boards (7'2" Anacapa Bandit, 10' something...don't remember the brand) and my girlfriend and all her friends surf, so I have the gear and a group of people to learn from/with.

    Also interested in any return-to-surfing post-ACL stories. I'll be at 6-7 months post-op by the time I get down there. From what I've seen, 9 months seems pretty standard for getting back to it (like every other worthwhile activity...)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    At the beach
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    16,098
    If physically capable, lots of squats, push ups and pull downs are a surfers friend. Other wise it should be like riding a bike and you will pick it up fast.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
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    Truckee
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    69
    That's good to hear. I've been doing a lot of swimming as part of my recovery process, so I'm pretty happy with my shoulder/tri/lat strength at the moment. The squat strength is still lacking (working through major atrophy of the quad), but that'll come back with time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    livin the dream
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    4,626
    Two or three good sessions with a longboard out at Mondo’s and you’ll be back to catching waves and having a blast… Paddling out at C Street in big winter swell will take some time and commitment though…

    If those old boards you have were from your youth, they likely don’t have enough volume for you now. You might need to upgrade. Ventura surf shop sells used boards.

    Enjoy! I love Ventura. If I could make that place work career wise, I’d still be there. Go get a Coctel de Mariscos Mixto at Lalos on the Ave.


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    Best Skier on the Mountain
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    Squaw Valley, USA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Truckee
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    69
    Rad. Thanks for the advice. I visited C Street, Mondos, and Dev when I was in the area in August and was really happy with what I saw in terms of beginner/longboard waves. Could definitely see C Street getting a bit rowdier with a solid winter swell though.

    As far as the boards...I was a large 12 year old that grew into an average adult. I'm hoping at least some of them are still usable, but if not, I'll definitely check out the shop in Ventura.

    Thanks! I'm stoked to move down there and get back into the water.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    2,953
    It's hard for me to know about getting it back, as I learned in college, in Santa Barbara, so I didn't have the background.

    My last season living in Tahoe I blew my ACL. I got surgery in March, and I don't think I got back in the water until maybe February. That summer was tough living in Newport and not being able to surf, especially as I was coming to grips that I was now a weekend warrior skier and not a ski bum, but I would be careful about rushing back post-surgery. I think 9 months should be fine, but talk to your ortho and physio and make sure you are ready.

    I went through a period about 6 years ago where I didn't surf much at all for about 2 years. I was in an office where I was at my desk from around 7 to 5 typically, so in the winter I could only surf on weekends, and during the winter we would spend every other weekend at Mammoth and hit Baldy on the weekends we stayed home. I was used to surfing much less during the winter with that schedule, most of the last few years I had pretty much stopped on winter other than the occasional session, but in 2015 I never picked it back up for the summer the way I usually had. I just never got back in the habit of going. In 2017 I was able to go remote, so I got back into the water regularly.

    That was a short hiatus, but one thing I did when I got back in the water was really THINK about my surfing. I had always had a bit of a wonky pop-up, and I actually got a program on stretching and popping up that worked wonders. Honestly, I wish I had done it years ago. An awkward popup really limits you. In my case I had gone to a shortboard too quickly when I originally learned, and I never got as smooth as I should have been. This program has worked wonders for me. I also like it because the stretching and popup practice in the morning is just a great way to start the day. It doesn't take long, 5-10 minutes, but it worked wonders for me. I'm actually surfing as well as I ever have right now, and that is in my mid-40s.

    I would definitely advise looking into a program like that. I got it from a guy called surfstrengthcoach, if you just google that he should come up. Since you learned young you might still have everything down flexibility and muscle memory-wise, so you might not need this like I did, but it has been great for me.

    There are lots of fun waves in that area. In college we used to go down to Ventura all the time.

    I would start primarily on funshapes and long boards to get back in the swing of things. You want everything to be easy and relaxed, that will help you get it all back. When you are comfortable everything just flows.

    I can't stress enough about working on the pop-up and flexibility. Dryland popups will do wonders for you out in the water. Unlike skiing and snowboarding, where you have effectively already popped up, you have to popup smoothly and easily to surf well. You can't work on driving off the bottom if you are awkward and stiff from a bad popup. I really wish I had worked more on the specific motion back when I learned to surf. If you spend some time with it I think that will make it all come back much more quickly.

    Good luck and have fun!

    Here is a link to the guy's website:
    https://surfstrengthcoach.com/

    There is another guy called Kale Brock that I like. He has a youtube channel with some good info.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    1,850
    LDD - Good info. I dl'ed the app, going to take a look through the free program and may have to jump in one of the deeper ones afterward. Late starter to surfing (39, now 42) and mostly a mountain biker (living 90+ minutes from beach) so could use the focused exercise program that I don't get surfing normally.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
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    11,201
    ^^^^Volume is the best friend of a poor pop up. Coming off not surfing 18 months due to injury, I found that my pop ups were as flawless as ever on my higher volume boards (they do offer easier paddling, and more stability) but I was crawling up to standing on my smaller volume boards. Exercises are great (and I should do more of them) but equipment choices make a big difference as well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    2,953
    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    ^^^^Volume is the best friend of a poor pop up. Coming off not surfing 18 months due to injury, I found that my pop ups were as flawless as ever on my higher volume boards (they do offer easier paddling, and more stability) but I was crawling up to standing on my smaller volume boards. Exercises are great (and I should do more of them) but equipment choices make a big difference as well.

    Volume is certainly a big part of it. In fact, I think part of the reason my popup was always a bit wonky is that when I learned in college I went to small boards too fast. Volume slows everything down and makes things smooth.

    My guess is that you have always had a good popup, so technique was never an issue. I think volume combined with proper technique is what leads to success. In your case the exercises might not be necessary, good habits are probably very ingrained in you and come back when you get back out there, as long as the board volume is adequate and allows one to relax. For those of us who learned a bit later in life, I think it does help to really work on the movement. In your case my guess is that exercises would be more for flexibility when coming back after a hiatus. My guess is that your popup has been on point for a long time. I think lots of us who come to the sport a bit later can develop some bad habits. After my hiatus I really looked at the motion and thought about it for the first time in my life. I realized that I had never learned properly. Getting the motion proper has been night and day. I also did stick with high volume boards for a while, which helped quite a bit, but for me the dryland popup training has really changed things.

    But volume....If I could go back and tell my college self learning to surf one thing it would be to stick with high volume boards for MUCH longer. A high volume board allows, among other things, someone to be relaxed. When you are relaxed and get comfortable with the popup that translates even once you go to smaller boards. If you always have that stiffness that follows you too.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cruzing
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    11,201
    ^^^ mostly on point. I learned to surf at 13, so early enough. I did have an issue with draping the top of my back foot. As a kid I would sometimes rub my foot raw across the knuckles of the big toe. And that spot on my booties always had wax on it. Still do it a little, but I worked on that in my late twenties and worked it out mostly. But that comes back out when I'm tired. So conditioning sure does help. And good technique.

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