Among watermen, Dave Kalama is a guru, reverently pushing the limits of his body. One of the first to develop tow-in surfing in the mid 1990s at the famous "Jaws" break, Kalama was pulled by a jet-ski into 60-foot monsters, only to emerge purified, ecstatic. In the past 20 years, he has revived the ancient Polynesian practice of standup paddleboarding through an ethos of exploration, perseverance, and humble nobility. He offers thorough technique advice on his blog, "A Waterman's Journal."
Five years ago, Kalama paddled across every major channel of Hawaii and cycled over every island. The man is an endurance powerhouse. We recently caught up with Kalama the day after a 32-mile race from the island of Molokai to Oahu, to find out how he trains for his standup challenges.
Paddleboarding, Kalama says, demands total body fitness. A proponent of the basics school, he opts for compound bodyweight exercises on the beach over the claustrophobia of gyms. To get all-around ripped in a more organic way, find some sand, and your limits, with Dave Kalama's ultimate paddleboarding workout. Launch Gallery >>
Photograph by Shaina Kalama
A solid core is key to both smooth, strong paddling and to stability on a board. Dave claims that a fit man should try to complete 500 crunches per session. He also says that over 100 of any kind "gets boring," so mix it up. Try the bicycle crunch.
Lay on your back with your knees up and your calves parallel to the floor. Bring your left elbow to your right knee, and then your right elbow to your left knee. Focus on tensing your core to execute the reach, not your neck. "I'll go right elbow to left knee but then I'll hold it for a count of three, so I have to engage one side for a few seconds, and then go to the other side," says Kalama. "It's not as many, but ultimately, it's probably equal to doing 50."
Credit: Shaina Kalama