Cure for the Winter Surf Blues

Dan Bolton

If you live in a cold region of the world and you're anything like me the winter can be a hard time of year. I often find myself feeling like a caged animal when I'm not able to take my board and jump into the ocean. It's not always feasible to jump on a plane to Costa Rica when you have responsibilities at home. I have been mulling this around for a couple of months now, but it happens that today is yet another blizzard in New England, schools are closed, and we will be digging out our cars, snow blowing sidewalks, and dreaming of summer most of the day. What perfect timing for this article! So I've come up with a few ways to battle the Winter Surf Blues which have helped me get through the surfing off season, keeping a positive frame of mind and prepared for when winter finally breaks and I can get back into the water.

6 things you can do until surf season to get your surf fix and keep your mental state up:

(1) Indoor wave park- Sky Venture New Hampshire

Recently Sky Venture New Hampshire added an indoor surfing facility they call Surfs Up Indoor Surfing. They offer the potential to ride up to 6 foot waves on a 32 foot surf stream, which they claim to be the largest in the country. Outside of the cheesy attempt to market themselves via women in bikinis, this place looks pretty solid. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with women in bikinis, but if someone is going to go to an indoor surfing facility for the women in bikinis they are not only doing it for wholly the wrong reasons, but are likely going to be sorely disappointed as I highly doubt women in bikinis hang out there in the manner portrayed in their video. All that aside, the benefits of replicating surfing in such an indoor park are obvious. You get to hone your surfing skills. It is a very functional way to practice as the wave is consistent, not dependent on an unpredictable swell (read this post: LessonsfromtheSurf), so repetition allows you to really focus in on specific aspects of your surfing repertoire. Also, if you're a beginner, the indoor format is a way to practice in a safe environment that allows you to get the hang of surfing before taking to the tricky swells and currents of New England.

If you act fast, Groupon still has a deal available to save you half off one group lesson-

(2) Download the app - Joel Parkinson Pro Surf Training

You may not be a pro surfer, and neither am I, but why not learn to train to prepare for the next surf season like a pro? What better way to be prepared and in tip top shape when the weather breaks? It includes over 150 different exercises to help prepare you for the specific demands surfing puts on your body. It claims not only to prepare you for all the different types of wave they encounter in the world tour, but also helps prepare you for the types of waves that you find at your local beach break. Just select the type of waves you usually encounter and it will give you exercises to help you train for the rigors of that type of break. I do not know these guys, nor do I make any money off of recommending this or any of the sales they make. I have used the app myself and I have found it to add diversity to my exercise routine and it motivates me to prepare in the long, cold off season. (Also, as I described in the link above on Lessons from the Surf, I found myself unprepared and not in good swimming shape back in the fall because it was a dry surf season over the summer, and in response I downloaded this app not to let this happen again).

Check out a preview here:

Download the app here for $3.99:

(3) Study to brush up on your fundamentals

We all have different areas we can improve on in our lives. Surfing is no exception. Surfing allows for a never ending challenges and opportunities to develop one's skills. Whether you want to learn something as complicated as a fancy new trick or something as basic as how to be more consistent catching a wave, there are many options available to you.

or check out the 110% Surfing app

Here is a video preview of what's on the app:

(4) Watch a surf movie- Step Into Liquid

Yah, yah, I know that movie Chasing Mavericks is all over HBO and iTunes, but if you want the real thing not complicated by a cheesy, makeshift love story I suggest Step into Liquid. The love story is strictly the love for surfing. One of the surfers in the movie describes her love affair with surfing: "It's like falling in love. You don't know what the feeling is until you've felt it." (also available on iTunes -

(5) Take the dive and get in the freezing water. That's right, people surf in the freezing cold. Growing up on the West coast I'll have to admit this is not my thing. But, you can get a winter wetsuit, usually a 5/4 or a 6/5 wetsuit, with a hood, gloves and booties and you're good to go. It is said that the swell from the winter Nor'easters make for amazing waves, but still not my first choice...

(6) Snowboard- Snowboarding helps you practice your balance and is a great way to have fun and make the best of the winter. Having grown up in a warm part of the country where the lowest temperature in the winter was in the 60's during the day I had to learn quickly that when it came to the snow in New England, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. The cold and snow is not going anywhere, so you might as well accept it and make friends with it.

If you have any other ideas please leave them in the contact section or email me with them.

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