Fit For Surf – With Kai ‘Borg’ Garcia

Story & Photos: Chris Latronic

Born in Kauai and now living in Haleiwa, Kai Garcia is a beast. Even more so today then ever before. At the fresh age of 42, Uncle Kai Borg has found the new fountain of youth in the form of Crossfit, a modern fitness optimization program to fuel his life at the highest possible level. Still working for Volcom, Electric, Vans, and Waiola (coconut water), Mr. Garcia took some time from his busy schedule to pump us up and show us how to be FIT FOR SURF.

How did you approach your work outs before trying crossfit?

At first, I thought like everyone else. You do curls, lift back, bi’s, legs… Do the routine over and again… You know, that whole stereotype from magazines and media. Yeah they look good, but they can’t swim or surf. They have no mobility, they’re all locked up. I didn’t want that. I want to be able to surf, run with my kids and live life at a high level.

When did you find out about crossfit?

Crossfit is something I found out a year ago. It’s functional for everyday living. It makes life easy and better. It’s not about bodybuilding, it’s not about getting big, its about getting good for life at whatever you do.

Are the crossfit workouts time consuming?

You don’t have to workout for 2 hours. Most workouts are 10-15 minutes and you’re done! It’s over! You go on with your day.

How has your surfing improved?

I feel stronger, faster, looser… You name it! This past swell I surfed 8 days straight, that’s unheard of for me, and I trained everyday after that… and still going. That’s testament right there.

What advice do you have for people eager to try crossfit?

It’s just about walking in there and doing it, and seeing where that will take you. And if you don’t like the direction, go do Zumba, PX90, or whatever. Go do something that you’ll be happy with… Just don’t do nothing.

WARM UP: Warming up can be done a number of different ways. Usually we go for a run or hike. We also use resistance rubber bands to help deepen the stretch. It’s like somebody helping to stretch you out, pushing you pass that point that you’re comfortable with. It’s important to stretch and warm up before any workout, majority of surfers have tight hips and back. You can put them on the wave, and they rip, but when they’re walking on land, they’re duck-footed, crooked, and barely any of them can touch they’re toes… except Kelly (Slater). Bottom line, stretching makes you better and it takes work.

THE WORKOUT: 5 Deadlifts at 225, 10 burpees, and 15 ab-mat sit ups in an ‘AMRAP’ 10 minute workout. AMRAP means As Many Reps As Possible… Which means non-stop movement! (Or the best of your ability).

FIND A WORKOUT PARTNER: This is not an easy workout to do alone. Yeah, you can pull it off a few times but you’ll never push the limits like you do when you have a fierce partner. I like being in a class with 20 people around me, you know, cause everyone is yelling, encouraging, and rooting for you to do good. Crossfit is fast, intense, and hard… You need all the help you can get.

DEADLIFT – If you want to improve your front side hack or backside carve and overall power surfing you need to do deadlifts. Good deadlift technique will go far in shaping your surfing technique. Every professional athlete does deadlifts, except surfers… that’s changing now… no way around it. Make sure you keep your weight on your heels.

BURPEE – The burpee is a full body workout on it’s own. You’re dropping down, it’s a push-up, it’s a squat, it’s a jump. You got no place to workout? Do 100 burpees where you stand, then see how you are.

ABMAT SIT UP – It’s basically a full sit-up over an abmat. The abmat serves to support the lumbar area of the lower back giving each sit-up extended range of motion. It’s optional to touch your feet together in butterfly position to help deepen work to the hips. For full benefit, go all the way back and all the way forward. Ground to ground, full range of motion.


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