Courtney Conlogue knows that surf-specific training pays off.

Courtney Conlogue knows that surf-specific training pays off. Photo: Extreme Athletics

The Inertia

When I tell people I go to a surf training gym, their immediate response is either total confusion or mocking laughter. “Don’t waste your money,” they generally say. “Just go surfing.”  This lack of awareness is what separates the teachable athlete from the apathetic kooks. If you want to progress in your performance and enjoyment of surfing, then you will push yourself to learn more. Surf training is a game changer.

Before I started surf training, my balance and coordination was a crossover between Napoleon Dynamite and my great-grandma. A friend told me about a local gym in Costa Mesa called Extreme Athletics and invited me to go with her. My first class was a geek struggle on every level, and hilariously entertaining! I constantly fell off the skateboard and successfully managed to get the jump rope wrapped around my neck multiple times. They had me jumping off of tall boxes, doing pop-ups onto a bosu and balancing on unstable objects while simultaneously lifting weights. It felt like a circus act but after one week of training, I immediately noticed improvements in the water. The circus act was working, and I was sold on it!

Now a member of Extreme Athletics and a huge advocate for surf training, I love sharing about my experience and how it has made me a better surfer. I got the chance to sit down with Jon, one of my trainers and a co-owner of Extreme Athletics, and ask him a few things about surf-specific training:

How is your method different from the everyday surfer’s free workout in the ocean?
Time in the water can’t be replaced, but in the facility we can focus on certain aspects that you can’t get in the water. Building strength is very important to developing power and muscles have to be overloaded to build strength, therefore they need weight training. Translating that strength into power all happens in a controlled environment. I can have our clients working on developing torque for crisper turns over reps and sets in the same way each time. This gives the body a chance to acquire the movement, grow in the areas needed and ultimately be a better surfer.


How do you approach the stigma and judgement that training is kind of a joke for everyday surfers?
I don’t really address it. I let our work speak for itself. I’ve been specializing in training surfers for the last six years and each person I’ve worked with has said they’ve seen benefits from the training. It’s something I can take pride in, knowing what I’m doing is helping people progress or enjoy surfing more.

What do you hope to achieve by training surfers on this level?
When training people that aren’t competing, the goal is just to help them enjoy their time in the water. I want to give them the physical tools to surf and not get winded or frustrated that they can’t perform. Hopefully, the training will have them surfing better than they ever have!

Do you believe that pros and the everyday surfer can train on the same level and see the same results?
No. Just being realistic. When training Courtney (Conlogue) we’re working at a high level to help her push past the best women surfers in the world. We have fun, but it’s a serious endeavor–it’s her job. I’m not going to take an average surfer to that extent. And the results are going to be different because what we’re working on is going to be different. On the flip side some of our “everyday” surfers might just be riding fun single fins and just flowing down the line. Both are going to see benefits and improve, but not on the same level.

At one point during a workout I remember complaining to my trainer, “I hate this workout,” and he came back with, ”No, you love this workout!” Now, three months later, somehow, miraculously they get you to love what you hate. By enduring the challenging times when it seems impossible to push yourself harder, you’re preparing yourself to meet the moment of an intimidating wave and paddle into it without hesitation. With surf training, the only thing growing stronger than your muscles is your confidence. And to me, that is priceless.


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