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
Lean, beastly legs are the indicator of fitness. Biceps might help some with paddling, but when you're 20 miles offshore, you need your stabilizers to stay alive. Start lunging.
With an upright posture, thrust your right leg forward and out, so that your right knee creates a 90-degree angle between your calf and your hamstring. Your left knee should just barely touch the sand. Then, bring your left leg up and out, and lower your left knee into a 90-degree angle, so that your right knee now nearly touches the sand. Repeat until you're burned out.
"I'm not carrying weight," Dave says. "I just start lunging my way down the beach. I try and do at least 100 every time. If I've been doing them for a few weeks, I get myself up to about 400."
Kalama also advocates backward lunges. You guessed it: same form, in reverse.
Credit: Shaina Kalama