It's Not Just About Relaxation: the Massage Benefits for Surfers

Surfing, although fun and exhilarating, can make you feel sore, tired, and a little beat up after a day out in the waves. That’s why, at Kelea, we love offering total-body massages to our surf spa guests. Not only is a massage calming to the body and soothing to the mind, it can help your body perform better in the waves.

Massage improves athletic performance by increasing circulation, decreasing anxiety, honing concentration, maintaining flexibility, and improving healing time,

Massage even helps reduce risk of injury and--in the event of an injury or strain--actually speeds up recovery time.

In fact, many competitive surfers actually incorporate massage into their regular training regiment.

Typically, when you’re first learning to surf, or just getting back into the waves, your body can react to the new exercise with achy, sore muscles, particularly in the shoulders and neck. Our Kelea guests all receive at least one full-body massage while on retreat, but we’d like to share some tips with you for how to practice some self-care at home.

Three Easy Self-Massage Techniques for Surfers

  1. The tennis ball trick
    Grab a firm tennis ball and lie on a yoga mat on the floor. Place one tennis ball behind the shoulder blade while lying on your back.There is no specific movement to this technique, other than to gently move in circles on the ball around the shoulder blade; experiment with what relieves tenderness by rolling over the ball with both shoulders. You might notice that one side feels tighter than the other, too. Try the tennis ball trick on your lower back or buttocks; it releases a lot of tension.
  2. To relieve surfing-related back and shoulder pain
    Surfers spend a lot of time on their stomachs with their shoulders rounded as they paddle. To counteract this tension-causing activity, try this:  

    You’ll need a foam roller for this. Lie on the floor, face up, with your feet shoulder-width apart and flat in front of you.

    Make sure the foam roller is centered at your mid-back, beneath your shoulder blades; it should be perpendicular to your body. Gently rock your body over the roller, moving toward and away from your feet. You can also turn the roller to the side and  roll over it along your leg and IT band.
  3. If your forearms and wrists are sore
    Hold one of your arms out with the palm up, and cup it just under the elbow with your other hand. Gently rotate/twist your arm within you grip as you turn your palm to face the ground.Repeat this as you rotate/twist down your arm until you reach your wrist. Think of it as gently wringing out the tension in your arm from paddling or popping up.

What do you do to feel better after exercising?

Tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear about your personal tips and tricks for staying healthy.