Zoe Grospiron swapped competitive skiing for surfing when she was 13 years old, after her family moved from the French Alps to the south-west of France. A Roxy team rider, she came third at the 2015 and 2016 French Championships, and second in 2017. In 2020, she came second in the 2020 European Championships and is currently ranked ninth in the Women’s Longboard Tour 2022. Here, she shares her training secrets…
Zoe Grospiron’s cardio and strength training tips
‘I fell in love with longboarding the moment I tried it and I knew straight away that I wanted to do it professionally. Longboarding is so much more graceful than shortboarding and the flowing sensation feels very similar to skiing, which I was missing a lot after moving. Longboards are a minimum of 9ft in length, and when you’re on one, it feels like you’re dancing with the waves. Surfing is my job now and I take it very seriously.
‘Alongside my surfing coach, I have a coach for the gym and a coach for my mental health, because competing can be very stressful, and I find having good cardio fitness and a strong mindset is very important for keeping my heart rate low to stay calm. I work on my cardio in the gym or I go running, and I also do a lot of surf training in the water because it’s very important to practise things again and again. I try to go surfing every day when I’m not travelling.
‘If I’m in France during the winter, I might only be in the water for 40 to 90 minutes but, when the conditions are really good, I can surf for the whole day. I think my favourite waves in the world are in El Salvador, where I go every year for a surfing holiday with my family.’
‘I find having good cardio fitness and a strong mindset is very important for keeping my heart rate low to stay calm.’
‘As well as good balance, stability and core strength, you need strong arms and shoulders to paddle out repeatedly. During a competitive heat, you get 25 minutes to make as many attempts at surfing the waves as possible. That can be very tiring, especially if it’s stormy and the waves are big. But you also need very strong legs to put some power behind your turns.
‘I do bodyweight exercises and lift light weights, using gym machines, free weights and medicine balls, to build strength. I also use a BOSU to develop balance and stability, and do a lot of plyometrics, such as box jumping, to build explosive power in my lower body.’
Zoe Grospiron on nutrition, recovery and vital kit
‘I enjoy cooking food that’s as nutritious as possible. I love eating fresh fruit, veggies and smoothies, but I also like baking cakes and cookies in a healthy way. I feel like I eat all the time to fuel my training. I drink a lot of water, too. I was a vegetarian for four years, then pescatarian, but I might use a little bit of chicken now on rare occasions, only if my body craves it, because I like to listen to my body.
‘I love eating fresh fruit, veggies and smoothies, but I also like baking cakes and cookies in a healthy way.’
‘To recharge my batteries, I love going back home to France to spend time with my family. Cooking helps to calm my mind, as does yoga. My mum qualified as an instructor to develop her own knowledge and I enjoyed developing a yoga routine with her over lockdown. However, because I’m always on the go, I usually just do online videos for around 30 minutes – any longer and I get bored!
‘Sometimes I’m very disciplined and practise every day, and sometimes it’s only twice a week. It’s great for stretching out my body, especially when it gets very stiff from travelling. I also listen to meditation guides and practise breathing exercises, which are very helpful for calming my mind and relaxing my body.
‘In the ocean, there are a lot of elements I can’t control. Controlling my breathing helps me to control my heart rate and my mental state when I’m anxious or the waves are challenging during a contest. Breathing practice helps me to find my inner peace, feel confident and get my mind back in the game.’
‘In the ocean, there are a lot of elements I can’t control. Controlling my breathing helps me to control my heart rate and my mental state when I’m anxious.’
‘All I need is a wetsuit, a board and a tin of wax and I’m good to go. I love my Roxy wetsuits as they are pretty and have a really good stretch, so I always feel comfortable and stylish. I also take my massage gun with me everywhere I go, to use in the morning, after surf sessions and even on the plane.’
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Zoe Grospiron’s greatest achievement
‘Obviously, I have goals. My short-term goals are to get into the top five of the WLT (Women’s Longboarding Tour) and to become European Champion. Long-term, I would like to be the World Champion. I’m proud of my success but I’m most proud that my passion is my job and that I get to do what I love every day.
‘I feel very supported by my family and the amazing team at Roxy, who are like a second family to me. Travelling the world, meeting new people, experiencing new places and surfing – that’s what makes me really happy.’
To find out more about Zoe Grospiron and other Roxy Surf Team Riders, visit roxy-uk.co.uk
Words: Joanna Ebsworth | Photography: Roxy