The only way to get better at surfing is to surf...

However, through dry-land training you can increase surf-specific mobility, improve paddle efficiency and amplify pop-up power and consistency

Explore my services page to see how I can help you become a better surfer!

Portrait of Will Johnson

My journey

Being diagnosed with a bone related disease at age two might be the end of the road for many people. Not me. This very disease that left me dependent on a wheelchair and crutches throughout my formative years is the catalyst to my sporting and fitness career today.

Perthes is a childhood disorder that affects the ball and socket of the hip as a result of reduced blood supply to the growth plate at the end of the femur. This causes the head of the femur to soften and break down by a process called necrosis. As you can imagine- not a fun thing to grow up with.

The day after my twelfth birthday I underwent a procedure to my Acetabular shelf- receiving a bone graft from the left iliac crest, to enlarge the socket part of the joint. This procedure insured that my hip had long lasting femoral coverage allowing for optimal remodelling of the hip joint. The road to recovery was pretty tough, but after a two-week stay in hospital, unable to leave my bed, and a further three months in a wheelchair and many months on crutches, I was able to walk again and continue living a normal life.

X-Rays of Will's hip injuries

With a new hip in place, I had to build up the strength and mobility so that I was able to run, squat and jump again; all the things a teenager should be able to do to play sports in school. Although I stayed active throughout my rehabilitation period, it was hard to imagine a life, or a career where sports would dominate.

The lasting effects of this childhood disease have caused a notable difference between the lengths of my right and left legs. Walking was an issue as I experienced constant pain in my left hip, and I developed a limp, further distracting from my already self-conscious teenage experience. However, at the age of 14 I was gifted ten surf lessons for my birthday which did wonders for my physical and mental health.

At age fifteen yet another procedure was on the cards. I had the growth plates drilled out of my right knee, in order to stunt the growth in my right leg allowing room for my left leg to catch up. Fortunately, the recovery time was relatively short and by the age of 16 I was fully discharged from doctor.

Will performing overhead squat

Although *physically* I started with a disadvantage and was labelled as technically disabled- blue badge and all - it never stopped me from playing sport. I always had the skill but never the athleticism…one of my biggest challenges from the beginning was my ability to move! From walking, running, squatting… you name it, my body needed to be fixed. All the qualities needed to progress for effective surfing.

The beginning of my sport science & biomedicine degree at UWE was when I was able to combine the scientific knowledge of exercise physiology and biomechanics to how it could be applied to my own rehabilitation. The circle was beginning to complete, and I was able to essentially start fixing myself as part of my gym training and now move pain free and I am only getting fitter and stronger as the years progress.

From here, I have developed my knowledge of sports specific training obtaining my level 4 strength and conditioning qualification. I have applied the knowledge into my own training and have only seen my performance in the water soar to new heights. I specialise my service to cater towards elevating surf performance through a variety of dry-land drills and training techniques to help you get the most out of every session and every wave.

Man surfing

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