I’ve always loved surfing. To me, it’s the perfect combination of balance, form, and practical strength. Not to mention the Zen of paddling out into the water, completely alone but surrounded by, and at the mercy of, the elements.
Now, there are three downsides to this. First, I’m a terrible surfer. Really, I just never got that good at it. Weak swimmer and all that. Second, I live in Arizona. The closest thing we have to water here is a “river” where you go “tubing”, which basically means float in your own filth under the hot sun for six hours. Third, have you seen what an octopus can do? Seriously. Keep away from them. They live in the ocean.
But this doesn’t mean I can’t use surfing as an inspiration for a workout. There are quite a few options for this, but the one I’ve always enjoyed is the Indo Board Balance Trainer. The setup is pretty simple: there’s a deck and a roller, and you balance and it costs $200. I decided, rather than spend the money, I’d practice some of my amateur wood-working skills and make my own.
– Board. I used a single 3/4″ sheet of pine, 12″x48″. You want it to be wide enough to fit your feet and long enough where you can stand with your feet spread at least shoulder width.
– Roller. I grabbed a two-foot secion of 3″ diameter PVC.
– Paint, if you want to do a stencil or design.
– Wood glue
– 1″ wood screws
Now, you can go the super simple route and just put the board over the pipe and go to town, but here are a few steps to make it more polished and a bit easier to use.
Cut the board down to the appropriate size, with curved edges. Using the lid of my brew kettle as a line for a curve, I cut the board down to 40″ with the jigsaw. This is your deck.
Cut strips of the leftover wood, 2″ wide, and attach to each end of the deck with wood glue and clamps. These rails on the underside will help prevent the pipe from sliding out from under you and winding up in a giant disaster.
Once the glue has set, screw from the top of the deck down into the rails to secure.
Use your jigsaw to cut the rails to match the curve of the deck. Due to the size of the rails, I found it was easier to cut them when they were already secured in placed. And due to the thickness of the wood, I found it was much easier for my jigsaw to cut one at a time. The point is, you should end up with a curved deck, and curved rails under each end.
Use your sander to smooth the edges and give the top of the deck a good once-over. This is a pretty easy step that helps give a semi-professional appearance.
Coat the deck and rails with varnish. I used clear waterproof finish. This is another easy step, but it will protect the wood from scuff marks and water damage, and adds a nice smooth finish.
While the varnish dries, work on the pipe. I sprayed the PVC black, but left it at its full length so that I could use it lengthwise with the board, and have more room to spin and maneuver.
Nerd out and add a stencil or design. Naturally, since it’s my favorite thing ever, I broke out Gipsy Danger’s paint job from Pacific Rim.
And that’s it! After an hour or so of work (not counting drying time) and $15 of supplies, you too can work on your surfer balance without having to come within 100 miles of a jellyfish!
Check out the gallery for some pictures of the work-in-progress, and be sure to check out Indo Board’s site for some awesome exercise ideas.