Not everyone can tame 78-footers like pro surfer Garrett McNamara, so for us mere mortals, there are still plenty of exhilarating alternatives to big-wave surfing. By jumping feet-first into these high-powered water sports, you’ll get your fix on almost any lake or coastal inlet. Kitesurfing and windsurfing will take everything you’ve got, but, master the mechanics of wielding wind speeds of 12–30 knots and you’ll be ready in no time (gear rental is $100–150 for a kite and harness, or sail, and board). Or get an intense upper-body workout with a powerhouse session of standup paddleboarding (SUP). All you need is your longboard and a performance paddle.
TRAIN FOR IT
Paul Norris—CEO and co-founder of the sports-performance training center Extreme Athletics in Orange County, CA—trains title-winning pro surfers. He emphasizes a mix of stability and core training for success on the water. (Bonus: All that hard work training for kitesurfing translates to newfangled winter sports like snowkiting.)
Legs: Stability Squat using an Indo Board or Bosu board: 3 sets, 15 reps; intermediate: Stability Squat with medicine ball: 3 sets, 15 reps
Core: Medicine Ball Rotational Throw: 4 sets, 5 reps; Swiss Ball Elbow Plank: 3 sets of 30-sec. holds, progress to 1-min. holds, and then to Swiss Ball Elbow Plank circles: 10 reps each way
Back: TRX Rear-delt Flye: 3 sets, 12 reps
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Body Glove Performance Rash Guard: High-tech top with uv protection and a waistband drawcord. ($38; bodyglove.com)
Surftech B-1 Standup Paddleboard (above): A 10’6” ultra-bomber board designed to withstand bumpy rivers and ocean currents. ($1,375; rei.com)
Werner Grand Prix M1000 SUP Paddle: A superlight midsize performance blade that slices in cleanly for optimized strokes. ($389; wernerpaddles.com)
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