If you are old enough to remember the classic Saturday Night Live skit featuring Steve Martin, then this training tip could work for you. (If you're not old enough, try a Google search for the skit.)
I started surfing in the ‘70’s, right after the short board revolution and I was all about “involvement” and riding shorter, more maneuverable equipment. I never got into the longboard scene. Even now, when conditions call for small wave craft, I opt for a fish. I have always admired the grace and skill it takes to cross step up to the nose of a board or back peddle without shuffling. I just never developed that skill set.
That all changed three years ago when at 42 I had one of many mid-life crises’s and turned to stand-up paddle surfing to stay in shape when the surf was small or flat. The added width and stability of the sup lead me to believe that I might soon join the ranks of stylish cross steppers like Lance Carson, Dewey Weber and Joel Tudor.
Alas, it was not to be. After 30 years of planting my feet in one spot on a shortboard, I was a klutz. That’s when I discovered the simple, yet versatile piece of fitness equipment known as the jump rope. On days when I could not get in the water I would take 20 minutes and work on my cardio and foot speed. It is amazing to me the amount of variations to the standard jump rope method.
All you need to do is Google “jump rope techniques” and a list of sample videos and instructions appear. With moves like; one legged jumps, mini-lunges, double unders, and the criss cross, you are sure to improve your footwork on the board. And now I most certainly am not Baryshnikov, but I do get to pretend to be both Laird and Lance!
About me: Mark Colino is the owner of No Flat Earth Surf Shop in Brick, New Jersey and runs Stand Strong SUP lessons and fitness programs throughout Ocean County, NJ