Santa Barbara Surf

It is no secret that variety is the spice of life. Doing the same activities day in and day out can become boring and tedious. This is especially true when it comes to exercising. Eventually the same old exercise routine of running, weight lifting, biking or swimming becomes stale and instead of looking forward to the next gym session, one starts to dread it. Luckily, Santa Barbara’s prime location by the ocean allows those tired of running laps around the track to partake in one of the most challenging and rewarding sports of them all, surfing.


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Surfing, is a great workout, that requires endurance, flexibility as well as upper and lower body strength. Surfers need great balance and fast reactions in order to hop on their board, stabilize themselves then react to the waves that mother nature throws at them. It is a full body work out that uses almost every muscle. Core muscles as well as the upper and lower back and neck muscles help keep the surfer stable, steady as they paddle. Triceps and
chest muscles are used to push the surfers’ body onto their feet. Legs are also essential because they help carve turns in the waves. But the main muscles being worked out are the shoulders.

“People often underestimate how much shoulder strength it takes to sustain a surf session,” said John Henry Toy, surf instructor and founder of Rockashaka SB Surf Instruction.

Constantly paddling for minutes or hours, depending on how long the surf sessions is, will make one’s shoulders burn and this constant movement in the ocean provides a great aerobic work out. As surfers know, staying afloat and moving in the water keeps their heart rates up and forces the body to deliver oxygen to the muscles.

But where does one go to learn how to surf? It might seem a little intimidating to just go and buy a surf board and jump into the ocean with no knowledge of how to catch a wave. Luckily for those living in Santa Barbara and Isla Vista, UCSB student John Henry Toy founded Rockashaka SB, a place where UCSB students and Santa Barbara residents can go to take surf lessons. The idea behind Rockashaka SB is to make surfing accessible to as many people as possible.

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“I meet so many people who do not surf but just sit around the whole day just looking at ocean. It’s a bummer for them not to take advantage of such an amazing resource, mother nature’s playground,” said Toy.

Toy, who originally started giving surfing lessons in the L.A. area, genuinely wants to share the opportunity of surfing to others.

“Surfing is good for you physical and mental health. No matter what’s going on land as soon as I get in the water I feel like all my problems disappear” said Toy.

Overall, surfing not only provides great exercise but seems to improve many peoples’ mental outlooks. So for all those Santa Barbara residents who are tired of their weight lifting routine, take advantage of living by the sea and try surfing as an alternative to slaving away in a sweaty gym.

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