A new year is upon us and with the flip of the calendar comes the New Year’s resolutions that some of us will likely break before the end of January’s first week.

I don’t typically make resolutions per se, but I do have a standing one that’s good for all of the year: Surf as much as possible.

I’ve found that the secret to making that resolution stick is to improve my overall fitness, most notably flexibility. While it’s great to lift weights to gain strength and it’s important to have strong aerobic endurance, nothing—at least for me—is more important for surfing than being flexible.

As I age, my legs don’t bend as easily, my hips are constantly tight and my overall ability to crouch into small spaces just isn’t what it used to be. The internet, of course, is full of workout programs that promise to improve flexibility, even for a 40-something wave rider like me.

I’ve found that yoga is good medicine and simple stretches do the trick too. But the best program I’ve come across that actually addresses fitness for surfers has been developed by a guy named Cris Mills. Mills, the self-described Surf Strength Coach, has put together three online training programs that deliver significant fitness improvements.

His most comprehensive, “Surf Training Success,” is intense and requires you to work up to the progressively more difficult movements in the regimen, which addresses flexibility, endurance and strength. Another is “Stretches for Surfers,” which is his approach to improving the core flexibility that is vital to surfing. The third program, which I’ve yet to try but will probably give a go this coming year, is called “The Perfect Popup,” which refers to the takeoff movement so critical to riding a wave well.

You can check out details about Mills’ programs on his website, surfstrengthcoach.com.

Regardless of which program you try, the focus is on making it easier for you to ride waves when they’re up. And that’s a resolution that I believe most of us can stick with throughout 2019. Happy New Year!

GALVESTON CREW SCORES GREAT SURF AT PIER

The hard onshore winds from Wednesday evening gave way to much cleaner surf when the wind turned offshore and died completely on Thursday.

That was certainly the case at the 91st Street Fishing Pier where a whole crew of Galveston surfers scored great conditions late into the day. Among those shredding at the pier were Douglas Grummons, Valerie Johnson, Kris Hopkins, Brian Kuhn, Brandon Hardin, Nathan Rouse, Ed Potter, Heather Kirby, Hannah Fullerton, Ryan Fullerton, Travis Dhonau and Stephen Limones. Special mention goes to Hp Dodge who shot the pier’s T-head on one of his numerous waves.

Stephen Hadley is a longtime surfer who lives and works in Galveston. If you have an idea for this column, email him at stephendhadley@gmail.com.

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