Surfing Montauk with Debra Rose

Surfing This Summer – Brace For Impact

You Can’t Stop the Waves But You Can Learn to Surf – Jon Kabat-Zinn

This will be a summer unlike any other.  Without exception, surfing in Montauk will have new challenges along with the usual obstacles offered each season. With so much ambiguity about what will happen after Memorial Day on and off the land, what’s a surfer to do?

Be Strategic: We already prepare to surf according to the conditions, crowds, weather and our schedules.  Now we must incorporate the added measure of keeping ourselves, and those around us healthy.  We try to avoid a crowded line-up, beginners, wave hogs and those taking lessons, now we must be discerning about whether to paddle out at all. Our health and the health of others around us may depend on our ability to make good decisions.

Get Outside: We want to surf as much as (safely) possible knowing there will be times when we cannot.  Adding variety and supplementing water time with other athletic activities is another way to achieve that balance.  Stay strong and offset one sport’s repetitive motions that can cause injuries by incorporating opposite activities. Stand-up paddling or going for a run counters all of those pop-ups.  Arching back on the board can mean strain on the lower back, while extra time for yoga poses and stretching can bring relief. Jump on a bike every now and then gets the heart rate up and strengthens the muscles around the knees.  A game of tennis for lateral movement in the body and hand eye-coordination is not necessarily achieved via surfing.

Stay Healthy: If there is a summer to stay out of a doctor’s office, Emergency Room, or walk in clinic, this is the one.  Pay attention to avoid complacency and seek opportunities to stay in optimal health. Most surfing injuries happen on smaller, manageable days when we tend to let our guard down, and summer often derails healthy habits. Get enough sleep each night, rest between sessions, stay hydrated, follow a seasonal and local regime of eating, and manage stress.  The better our baseline health, the better we surf, and the safer we are.  With so much out of our control, taking care of our health is up to us.

Be Patient: Montauk may have more visitors with cabin fever than ever before, so we can have patience with this world-altering situation, and with each other.  Having empathy for one another is a good start.  We all want things to be our way, and we have to patient and realize that our wants and needs are just as important as everyone else’s.

Be Careful: Continue to follow the rules of our “new normal.” Stay mindful to not loosen up these newly developed habits because it is summer, the weather is warm, there are more people around, or because it is tiring or boring to do so.

Timing is Everything: Access to surfing outside of the summer season is a gift. Memorial Day to Labor Day is a small portion of our time to share the ocean with more people than we would like.  While surf trips and travel might be on hold, surfing in Montauk must be negotiated more than ever. It may not be the summer we want or are used to, but it will be the best summer we can make it, while staying smart, healthy and safe in the process.