Foxwalking : Walking barefoot...
Barefoot walking and its benefits for Surfing...
A great sensation of freedom ! That's true, walking barefoot is pleasant and natural. Walk slowly like a fox : The Foxwalking.
In most religions, removing shoes symbolizes devotion and respect, especially in places of prayer. But also across cultures, we find that wearing shoes inside your home is incongruous and even rude ; We should normally remove them before entering clean and soft floor.
Fighting sports such as Judo, Karate, which requires strong support and a real contact with the ground before hitting, are practiced barefoot, which increases the strength and vitality ; This advantage in surfing and other water or boards sports is undeniable.
Imprisoned in cities with contaminated soil and many dangers for our feet, we often forget the benefits of this practice, in all seasons and in full nature. In the forest, the countryside and of course the beach, the presence of the ocean being an additional contact element. But going barefoot must not be only practiced in summer under the sun. The sensations are increased when the temperature difference is present, including on the sea shore.
There is a strong relationship between the practice of walking barefoot on any terrain and the impact on your surfing, particularly in terms of positioning, grip and feel. Nothing but the board between you and your body...
If we analyze barefoot walking, we see that our foot has a greater freedom of movement compared to walking with shoes. Moving the body weight centered on the front of the foot, provide a controlled damping and flexibility, reduce tremors due to regular walking. We often tend to strike the ground with the heel of our shoes, confident in the thickness of the sole. But in fact, the shock is transmitted in all the body, in spite of the sole. The movement is incomplete and does not send any signal to be capture by your body.
During the firsts barefoot walks in nature, it is normal to feel pain or discomfort. They reflect hypersensitivity rediscovering of our feet in the outside. During your walk, including the beach, it's important to keep a pair of shoes in your backpack or around the neck. A small pharmacy containing plasters, tweezers, a disinfectant can aloso be useful if you go for a long walk and on different or uneven terrain.
The benefits of walking barefoot on your body and surfing are undeniable, even if they can leave you puzzled at first.
Your poor little feet :
Think about them when you'll have to take off on your board and be well placed.
Remember that walking barefoot more often, will make them healthier, more muscular, will better play their stabilizing role for the whole body. Finally, they will really breathe and find back their natural shape !
They are also under pressure, especially imposed by these bad friends named shoes. Fewer blisters, redness between the toes, calluses, fungus (mainly developed in a humid atmosphere). The thick horn that forms below will make them more resistant to aggression. They will happily find back their primary sense of touch, gone and buried under socks and rugged boots.
Your sore back : You will feel more flexible, more airy. Walking barefoot, you compensate uneven grounds by a natural damping and reduce the risk of injuries. The feet are excellent info transmitters to muscles of your back, to compensate and anticipate the movements of the body.
Your rusted knees and ankles :
Most shoes are unsuitable, especially heels that destroy your knees and ankles. Your heel is an unstable joint that needs to be treated smoothly. Thanks to your toes that move and cling, your foot is more stable and you will reduce the risk of sprains.
Your balance :
Walking barefoot on a floor full of stones or branches, you trigger a signal to your brain that will accentuate your balance and increase your coordination. This is an excellent useful movement for surfing. We get the same feeling on our board, gripping with toes or moving sideways our ankles. It activates the signals between feet and head.
Walking barefoot also develops the sense of touch of your feet. Do not hesitate to trample fresh grass or thick mud, sink deeply into the sand, grind the leaves, even climb up along trees trunks.
These exercises are true sensory experiences that promote better understanding of your body, a healthier life and will help you to improve your surfing (except when cold water require your uncompromising wetsuit slippers ...)
Here is a short movie about an autumn walk in the woods, so your little feet can taste the humus and leaf litter instead of rubber and wet socks...
And for those who want to start going from walking to running, you can always try the Mexican Raramuri runners technique !
Working for several years in tourism in France and abroad, Jean-Hervé Cristol (aka Jean Révé) also has a large number of kilometer mark traveling around Planet Surf in search of endless summer waves.
In 2004 he created Destination Surf, the first agency specialized in Surf Travel , then Endless Summer a blog with tips, info and travel stories, in order to enjoy and share this rewarding experience with all surf travelers. → Learn more