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Friday, December 19, 2008
Still at the Helm — Part II

This is the continuation of my interview with Florida shredder, Ryan Helm from earlier this week. —

EXPN: Well, you've obviously researched it. It's cool to see that you have a thoughtful answer for it. So, what else do you have for this winter? You're not doing too many 'QS contests and stuff?

Helm: I've just been training. You know, I took some time off the 'QS because of the traveling. I have a year-old baby daughter recently. This last year, I've been spending a lot more time with the family, but it's also given me the time to train really hard. So, I've taken a different angle with my surfing. Instead of doing 16 events, I want to do eight events a year, but be in top shape and put on the best show I can.

EXPN: And you do a few non-sanctioned events?

Ryan Helm Yeah, I do the Unsound Pro, the ECSC, the King of the Peak down at Sebastian. But I am shooting for the January event at Sebastian (4-star O'Neill S.I. Pro.) That's what I am going to be training for, that's what I've got my sights set on right now.

EXPN: You got second at the East Coast Surfing Championships this year.

Helm, ramping up at the Inlet.

Ryan Helm: I got second at the ECSC. I'm feeling better than ever, as far as that whole 'Younger for Longer,' thing, you know? I feel that right now. It's nice to be kind of sharing that with people on a broad level. It inspires me even more to emulate that idea and live like that.

EXPN: How'd you do in Mexico? Did you do a few events?

Ryan Helm: No, I was just down there surfing, spending time with family, getting in shape. I was going to do an event down in Puerto, but we got called up here. I decided to come up and use this opportunity in New York

EXPN: You're wife is from Mexico right?

Ryan Helm: Yeah. Her family is from Guadalajara. We were spending time in a few different spots — Pasquales, Sayulita, Gudalajara. I got a chance to do something that I always wanted to do in Guadalajara, some Muay-tai training, some Jiu jitsu training, mixing some different things in. Just trying to learn, you know. Always trying to evolve as a surfer and I'm always looking for different ways to train, to inspire myself.

I reached a certain point when I was 26. I had been in Mexico for years. I surfed up to six hours a day for months in a row — in perfect waves. And I decided that was as far as I could go, just surfing. And I started looking in other directions to improve my surfing. My brother is a pro soccer player and he knew a lot about training. He kind of stepped in and gave me some inspiration on how to train in different ways.

Ryan Helm doesn't seem to find any contridictions by being sposored by big oil because of the company's ethos.

EXPN: Is that about when you came back onto the competitive scene?

Ryan Helm: It was a little bit after. Just to implement it into my lifestyle was really difficult in that traveling scene. So, it's really over the last two years, what I've really worked on a daily basis. During the summer, I'll train up to five or six hours a day.

I went through an injury a year and a half ago, and rehabbing from that, I'm just way stronger than I when I was 26, or 21 for that matter. My flexibility has doubled, my strength has doubled and I've been able to maintain my quickness and flexibility.

EXPN: Like light weight/high reps?

Ryan Helm: Not really light weight/high rep, just really explosive stuff — a lot of jumps, a lot of plyometric stuff. I found that mixing it in, like when I do explosive stuff, low reps, high weight, I mix stretching and movements in between those. I do kettle bells in movement form, so you're not just locking in a muscle.

The helm family before the most recent addition.

EXPN: Yeah? My tattoo artist swears by the kettle bells.

Ryan Helm: Yeah, you move some heavy weights. I really feel they make you stronger.

I've been able to work with some high level amateur athletes this year. During the summertime, I got them into the training regiment as part of my surf camp. They trained with me for a few months — young up and comers in my area. A lot of times with surfers, we just surf. That's all I did. And bringing in some athleticism into surfing is great.

EXPN: Thanks Ryan. Good stuff.