The miracle of rest and recovery as it pertains to surfing performance.
The chef, writer, personality and cuck, Anthony Bourdain, got into jiutjisu late in life, a few years before he self-propelled to Valhalla.
His motto, as shared on a reddit forum under the handle NooYawkCity, was pretty simple,
Conventional wisdom is that I should allow myself recovery time. That training every day is not wise. I say fuck that. The clock is ticking. Im not getting any faster, more flexible or more durable. Gotta get in what training I can — learn as much as I can, get as good as I can before I leave this life like I began it: diapered and screaming.
Until this year, I felt the same.
Ain’t no time to waste. Harvest years are here.
And, if I’m not learning, training, surfing, I’m getting older, slower.
If you’ve hung around BeachGrit y’might’ve read the very occasional story detailing the myriad joys that come with affixing a digital fitness tracker called WHOOP to your wrist.
What came into relief as the data piled up was how little sleep I was getting, five hours-ish a night, and how I was hitting the mats or the water with low baseline recovery, always in the low thirty percent range.
Every day when you wake up, y’see, “WHOOP calculates a green, yellow, or red Recovery score on a scale of 0 to 100%. That score lets you know if your body is ready to perform, needs an active recovery day or requires rest. Recovery is based on 4 physiological metrics: Heart-rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate (RHR), sleep, and respiratory rate.”
What if I gave the body a little time to recover when I was running red or yellow instead of green?
What if those five hours of interrupted sleep turned into seven or eight?
And, if the delicious vodka and waters were replaced by only water?
Would I surf better?
For three weeks, I surfed and trained only on green days.
Instead of five surfs a week, sometimes two, mostly three, but hit harder and with the gusto of a veterinarian getting into the glisten of the chancre in a show mare’s dock.
And, yeah, it’s surprising, although it shouldn’t be, that a rested body mixed with a little high intensity yields unforeseen leaps in performance.
I felt like a human equipped to travel through space at a variety of speeds, communing with some inconceivable source of life.
The power of technology over nature.