• John Hagen: Riding the Wave

    John Hagen: Riding the Wave

    At 58, John decided it was time to act on a lifelong dream and learn to surf. Last summer, he packed his bags for a weeklong Costa Rica surf school and turned that dream into a reality—with the help of Kettlebility training.

    Facing blistering heat and hours of tough physical work in the surf building the skills to ride the wave, John credits his diligent Kettlebility training with helping him build the skills, strength, stamina, and confidence needed to successfully ride the waves. While some of the younger surf students were beat down by the conditions and had to sit out parts of the twice-daily instruction and hands-on sessions, John didn’t miss a beat. (And his surf instructor noticed.)

    “I don’t think that I would have been able to progress as far in my surf training if I had not had my training from Kettlebility,” John says. “Surfing is not just about balance. You need a certain amount of body-weight strength, flexibility, swimming and paddling ability, coordination and of course, conditioning. And you have to put all of it together to surf successfully. Due to my training in Seattle, the body weight, conditioning and flexibility aspects of surf training was not as hard for me as I had initially thought.”


    He adds: “My biggest challenge was mental, being able to have confidence that I could successfully learn a new and complex skill, even on a basic level. Happily, things worked out about as well as I could hope and I was able to surf at the beginner level within a day of starting surf training.”

    Of course, John had worked hard to prepare. He had slimmed down by some 20 pounds and added about a pound of muscle to his frame, eating a Whole30 diet and training regularly with Kettlebility instructor David Lind. John’s training incorporated TRX, kettlebells, barbells and bodyweight exercises, eventually tailoring the workouts with specific drills to prep for his surf trip, like assisted one-legged squats, balance and jumping drills and ring pushups.

    A systems administrator supporting Boeing Flight Test, John came to Kettlebility more than five years ago, disenchanted with his big box gym and fed up with not getting the results he sought. Over his years at the studio he’s done group classes, several Transformation Challenges and individual training. And he’s seen himself grow fitter, stronger and more confident—all of which helped inspire him to tackle his surf goal.

    Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, “surfing was always something that captured my imagination,” says John, who downhill skied and body boarded in his younger days. “When I started getting more invested in my career I put those things aside but never forgot them. As I got older, I started to think about returning to my old goal of learning to surf.”

    Not that now-surfer John is resting on his laurels.  He wants to keep getting stronger and leaner, surf better and hit a “Century” strength and conditioning challenge. Hang ten, John!

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