Kayala Kenley shares her pre-competition preparations

In 2020, professional surfer Kayala Kennelly wins an award she didn’t get: Wipeout of the Year. (Not that you can’t recognize the hint of pride in his voice because he said, “It was usually a men’s award – only men got it before.”)

Kennelly, 43, who has been called the “best female surfer in the world”, has long been known for her fearless approach to the waves that very few (if any) other women would try to catch. The wipeout award came from a ride at the Joss Big Wave Championships in Maui when, as he was trying to drop, a gust of wind blew over his board. “The board hit my shin, then it flipped over and hit my ribs, then flipped over again and hit my chin, then I got the cartwheel off the 50-foot wave,” he recalls. The leash attached to the board with a surfer’s ankle pulled his foot out of his socket on the way down and began to tear the labrum of his buttocks.

Over the next year, each time Kennelly’s foot was wiped off, his labor was torn a little more. But before the surgery, she wanted to win the Red Bull Magnitude, All-Female Big Wave competition in March 2021. So he made his own chest shoe with which he could attach the leash to distribute energy across his torso instead of his feet. It worked. She took the title home, then got an MRI and scheduled the surgery.

Now, after not being able to surf for eight months, Kenley is not only back in the water, he is on tour for the Challenger Series of the World Surf League, which starts on the Gold Coast of Australia on May 7.

This is his first tour since 2006, when he gained experience after coming out due to homophobia. “Most of my professional surfing career on the trip was in the closet, just scared that I was going to live this double life,” he says. In a sport notorious for the hypersexualization of female athletes, her negative reaction to true sex was so intense (including being dropped by most of her sponsors) that she decided it was not worth the trauma.

Sixteen years later, things – thanks – have become more acceptable. Now, she is returning to a community that has changed her attitude towards women because of her own activism ে no small part. Along with a handful of other female Big Wave surfers, Kenley has long fought for equal opportunities for women, including changes to equal pay and permitting systems that previously excluded women from surfing certain beaches. (Charlize Theron’s production company is currently working on a feature film for Netflix with their story.)

“I did it all for equality, and it really didn’t work out [it]”So take the temperature of where the tour is and see those positive changes,” he says, adding, “It’s only half fun,” “I’m going to do an audit.” “

How does he prepare for his best competition?

After many years in the water, Kenley has a deep realization that his body-and-mind are ready to compete.

1. He perseveres hip stabilization exercises

After her surgery, Kennelly now works with a trainer twice a week to strengthen her buttocks. They specifically focus on stabilization exercises, squats on props such as discs, bosu balls, or squishy foam pads “to stimulate a variety of small stable muscles.”

Learn how to squat with the right form, then try to get to a rough surface like Kennelly:

2. He uses music to get the zone

A DJ next door (he had several residences where he lives in Honolulu), Kennelly uses music to get his head in the right place before the competition. “I kind of keep quiet and move away from people, just listen to music and watch the waves, see where they break,” he says. Although he has “one million playlists”, house music can go to him.

3. He throws tampons for more water-friendly options

Her menstrual period is never ideal on competition days, but it is no longer a problem. “[When you’re] Wearing tampons, every time you go into the water, you get waterlogged and so uncomfortable, “says Kennelly.” Now, he’s sponsored by Flex, which sells discs and cups that he doesn’t fill with water while he’s surfing. He says they’re so comfortable when he He doesn’t even notice when he is inside.

4. He opens his body with the target stretched

Before jumping on his board, Kennelly concentrates on stretching. “My periformis gets really stiff,” he says, talking about the butt muscle behind your hip joint. She also notices the flexors of her buttocks (in front of her buttocks), and loosens her shoulders to paddle.

Open your own periformis, hip flexors and other muscles with this targeted yoga flow:

5. He keeps his aim in perspective.

Despite his full biography of badass wins and awards, Kenley is very clear that as a 43-year-old competing against 20-something, he has maintained his expectations for the tour. “There is always the fear of failure and fooling yourself,” he admits. “I mean, these young women are very hungry. Each new generation replaces the previous one. Surfing is getting better and better. I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I’m just having a great experience, a good show.” And I’m trying to focus on having fun. “

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