What menace lurks in professional surfing?
It is a beautiful morning in southern California after many, many grey days. The sun is shining, bunny rabbits frolicking in the dewy grass, a little hummingbird has just built a nest outside my window and is gently optimistic about the future. Little does she know that a evil lurks nearby. Like a creeping shadow spreading across the waters. Like a menacing chill. Waiting to destroy her young hatchlings’ futures.
For somewhere close surf coaches are peddling dangerous snake oil, pseudo-science, lies masquerading as truth, death.
How do I know? Well the official governing body of U.S. Olympic Surfing just convened a panel of leading experts in the medical and possibly psychological fields to give the Olympic hopefuls the best possible shot at winning gold and let us read together from the press release.
“USA Surfing will work toward impacting the whole sport of surfing in the United States, not just our elite athletes or Olympic hopefuls,” Dean said. “We have assembled a dream team of experts to help create a performance pathway that supports winning medals and progressing the sport of surfing at every level.”
Dean believes in an evidence-based approach adapted to each individual athlete and warns of unproven and even damaging techniques employed by surfers and coaches striving to improve performance. “We look forward to sharing the leading research and techniques for surf fitness and training,” Dean said. “Surfers need to demonstrate competent movement upon which to build appropriate strength”
USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse said Team USA’s High Performance Committee reflects the vision of USA Surfing leading up to the 2020 Olympics. “Kevyn has assembled a world-class committee and surf training program,” said Cruse. “The committee’s work reflects the momentum and excitement growing in USA Surfing. Surfing is one of the most athletically demanding sports in the world and it needs the solid, medically sound training program that the High Performance Committee will bring to the sport.”
All fine and good to the casual reader but the highly trained surf journalist sniffs out the disturbance and let us read the following line, again, together:
…warns of unproven and even damaging techniques employed by surfers and coaches striving to improve performance. “We look forward to sharing the leading research and techniques for surf fitness and training,” Dean said. “Surfers need to demonstrate competent movement upon which to build appropriate strength”
What are these unproven and even damaging techniques being employed by surfers and coaches striving to improve performance? Not lifting with your legs? Sitting with poor posture? Not brushing and flossing before bed? Drinking matcha lattes instead of coffee?
Some surfer or coach out there must know and I’ll get to the bottom of it but in the meantime we should probably speculate steroids. Or cocaine.