The best way to prevent chronic injuries to these areas is by increasing your active, usable mobility, which includes owning strength within a wide range of joint motion. -Overhead shoulder mobility/full-range shoulder flexion.
It looks at how the human body is supposed to move and then restores optimal joint function followed by increasing movement capacity, body control and expanding your available ranges of motion.
However, it has been shown time and time again that surfing creates strength and mobility imbalances in long-time surfers because the sport places asymmetrical loads upon the body.
Training for mobility will help to improve your flexibility but the same is not true in reverse. Flexibility is a passive range of motion (for example, how high someone can push your leg up in the air) and mobility is an active range of motion (for example, how high you can actively lift and hold your leg up in the air).
If a young surfer does not start to address whole body imbalances early by ensuring every joint in their body functions at it’s optimal and birth-right range of motion, chronic injuries are inevitable later in life.
To prevent injury in surfing we need to improve the load-bearing capacity of our body’s tissues to a level beyond which they will be exposed to, maintaining the health of all our joints to optimise general movement and surf performance.
Hip flexors tend to get super short and hip rotation (internal and external rotation) are common focus areas. -Neck extensors overuse and deep neck flexors underuse, compounding an existing “desk neck” posture and leading us to mimic our turtle friends. -The lower spine can become too mobile from years of rotating through the lower spine and hips to move the board.
Having a large amount of mobility can safeguard you against injury as you have more control over your joints in space and you can receive and generate forces from, at times, awkward positions which are common to surfing.
The truth is, improving your flexibility is hard work and the most effective way you can improve your flexibility is through using active (strengthening) means to achieve a greater range of joint motion.
Older surfers typically did not have a regular mobility and movement practice to complement their surfing lifestyle as, in the past, stretching was considered unnecessary and a waste of time.
The greater positions and joint angles your body can move and control, the greater your capacity to adapt to surfing situations without snapping, straining, tearing, popping or cracking something.
Read more here: The Inertia