How I seriously improved my lower back by Wakeboarding Legend Darin Shapiro

darin shapiro

Darin Shapiro
Mexican Jeep tow-in

Wakeboarding is an impact sport and I have earned my badges in the world of hard landings. Jumping off of things and landing on hard surfaces means compression for your body and especially, your lower back. I have caused quite a bit of compression in my lower lumbar, namely, L5 and S1. I was nearly convinced that I would just have deal with a messed up lower back forever until Kai Fusser introduced me to “pelvic tilt.” Pelvic tilt has changed my life as far as feeling physically capable and being void of stiffness and pain.

Here is what I have learned…

Injury prevention starts with good movement control. And that starts with the pelvic tilt.

What is pelvic tilt?

The pelvic tilt is broken down into front and rear tilting. Although the movement is quite simple, it can get confusing because of how the pelvis sits, crossing from front to rear of the body. Anterior (front) tilt refers to the front of the pelvis moving down, and the back of the pelvis moving up. In posterior (back) tilt, the opposite occurs: the back of the pelvis moves down and the front moves up.

Kai Fusser explains, “the pelvic tilt achieved through the engaging of the abs will also result in the engaging of the gluteus. This way the gluteus can take the brunt of the forces off of the back. The pelvic tilt also helps to align the vertebras to be parallel to each other which will reduce peak pressure on the discs.”

When I am doing many of my exercises I use pelvic tilt to support my lower back. For example, if I am doing push ups I am keeping my pelvic tilted by pushing my lower back towards the ceiling and pulling my pubic bone towards my chin.

Practice while you stand side-on to a mirror, making sure you can clearly see your lower back, bum and pelvis. The easiest way to explain this is that you are rotating your pubic bone up and pushing your tailbone down throughout the movement.

I began to notice as I continued to use my core as the basis of every movement, my lower back felt better and better. So many of my standing movements begin with first doing a pelvic tilt and then beginning the exercise. I even begin stretching with a pelvic tilt. I have learned that so many of our daily routines can be achieved through better movement which helps us feel better and avoid injury.

Incorporating the use of a foam roller to roll out my legs and back has made a huge difference as well. Be sure to hit your inner legs to access your adductors as well as your outer legs to pound on your iliotibial bands as these areas can hold a lot of tension in your hips and lower back. Everything is connected.

It took a couple of months for me to really dial this into every part of my activities but, it has been totally worth it!

Thank you Kai Fusser for teaching me about better movement, it’s made all the difference!

Wakeboarding Legend Darin Shapiro on H.I.T. training and Fitness

Darin Shapiro wakeboarding

World Champion Wakeboarder Darin Shapiro  “Afterburner” Pic: Tanya Pavlis

H.I.T. (high intensity training) Training is one of the newer training techniques happening right now. I particularly like this type of training because it only takes 4 minutes to get your cardio session finished! I know this sounds crazy but this is what the new science is telling us.

HIT consists of short, intense bursts of exercise with either active recovery (less intense in between) or complete rest in between. Cardio and strength routines both qualify -they can both get your heart pumping and get your metabolism fired up which leads to a solid afterburn. This is because it increases the amount of time your body takes to recover AFTER you have finished your exercise session. For maximum results you must go for maximum effort on the high intensity intervals, not simply a higher heart rate. HIT causes metabolic changes that enable you to use more fat as fuel. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as fat burning potential.

Here is what I do for my HIT training thanks to my training time with personal trainer Kai Fusser. I NEVER do any more than 4 minutes of cardio in the gym. Training more than 4 minutes of cardio raises cortisol levels and puts the body into survival mode which slows down your calorie burn and reduces maximum results.

1. Get on a treadmill. Leave it off! Use your phone as a stop watch in a visible place.

2. Push the treadmill at a medium walking pace for 30 seconds.

3. When you reach 30 seconds run at maximum intensity for 10 seconds.

4. Repeat walking at a medium pace pushing the treadmill steadily for 30 seconds.

5. Repeat running at maximum intensity for 10 seconds.

Continue this 30 second low intensity 10 second high intensity interval until you reach 4 minutes. Your Done! This workout can be done twice per week, if you can handle it three times per week is even better but more than that isn’t necessarily recommended.

This is not as easy as it sounds! Make sure your body is warmed up first, I do this at the end of my workout. If done correctly, you don’t need to do another lick of cardio at all! Make sure your shoes are laced tight!

I urge anyone interested in this type of workout to do their own research and learn about this method of training!

Go Get it!



RESURGENCE with Darin Shapiro, by Sidewayz Films

It has been 8 years since Ronn Seidenglanz made a wakeboarding film. Darin Shapiro’s Resurgence to wakeboarding is also his resurgence to wakeboarding.
“It’s been fun going back to my roots and working with an old friend.”

100% of the money donated to the vimeo “tip jar” will be divided equally between Matt Manzari and Brad Smeele to help with expenses during their recoveries.

Produced by Sidewayz Films
Photos from Tanya Pavlis

Darin Shapiro

Matt Manzari

Brad Smeele

Acidic foods vs. Alkaline foods for the wakeboard body

Darin Shapiro

Feeling alkaline in the barrel.

Written by Jimmy Tiblier, inspired by the Shapiro’s dinner table.

Healthy eating has become a trend in America, but most people are unclear about what foods are truly healthy and what foods are not. Obesity, heart disease, cancer, chronic inflammation and other modern day illnesses have created a demand for knowledge about the human diet. Most of these illnesses are linked to a diet high in acidic foods, and low in foods that are alkaline. Wakeboarding places harsh demands on the human body, namely, inflammation from the heavy wear and tear. These five facts about alkaline foods will should help clarify most questions one may have about alkaline foods.

1.) As a general rule of thumb, acidic foods consist mainly of processed food products. Meat and dairy products, processed grains, fast food, and almost anything on the inner aisles at grocery stores is usually processed in some form. Try to buy foods found along the outer shelves such as fresh produce consisting mainly of veggies, fruit, and nuts. Most fish species tend to be highly alkaline, allowing humans to satisfy their carnivorous desires safely.

1.) The blood in our bodies has a pH level. The neutral pH level is 7 and foods considered acidic are below 7 while alkaline foods are above level 7. An ideal pH level is between 7.35 and 7.45. When our blood is too acidic, it cannot fight inflammation and infection efficiently. If we bring the ph of our blood to a more balanced state, the body functions optimally.

2.) Not all alkaline foods are created equal. Some foods have a very small effect on alkaline levels while others have a large effect on alkaline levels. We cannot offset highly acidic foods with foods that are barely considered to be alkaline.

3.) Stick with organic and non GMO foods. Most alkaline foods are from the ground and are very close to their natural state. Adding harmful chemicals through modern farming techniques defeats the purpose when trying to achieve a more alkaline blood level. Even though you may be eating a piece of fruit that has a high alkaline content, if the fruit was not grown organically, there may be other substances in that piece of fruit that raise acid levels in the blood. Pesticides and chemicals tend to be acid forming.

4.) Don’t overcook your veggies. Cooking leeches nutrients from the food source. The longer the produce is cooked, the less nutrients will be in the vegetable. Heating certain cooking oils can cause them to become more acidic. Look into cooking with coconut oil, which has a much higher burn off temperature than other oils.

5.) Watch what you drink as well. Studies have shown that soft drinks, colas, artificial sweeteners and other additives are highly acidic, leading to extensive tumor growth and high cancer levels. Also consider using a water filter designed to eliminate acid from the water we drink. Our water sources are highly polluted, creating “acidic water.” I add lemon to my water to help offset the amount of acid introduced to my body.
These tips should help you figure out how to go about changing your diet in order to achieve a more harmonious balance in our body. Alkaline foods are known to present a positive emotional response while acidic foods can create negative feelings.  To be on top of your game physically and mentally, look into eating a diet consisting of more alkaline foods. Quinoa and wild rice are good alkaline food substitutes for our traditional rices and pastas that tend to be acidic. Try eating more fish instead of poultry and red meat. Vegetables and fruits usually help our bodies the most. Eat well, ride well!

Thank you Darin for the opportunity and thank you to everyone who has been a part of my journey.

Going back to competitive Wakeboarding at 40 by wakeboard legend Darin Shapiro

The last 6 months of my my life have consisted of training, training, and more training. I have decided to go and do what I thought I would never do as I thought competitive wakeboarding was a sport for teenagers and twenty somethings. After my 5 year old starting riding and asking me to ride I thought “hey this is fun but that doesn’t give me the right to think I could go out and have any kind of chance competing against the best guys in the world” but, as I went out and rode something amazing happened.

The wakes had gotten way bigger and the boards have gotten way better than what I remembered! For the most part what I was trying to accomplish years ago was quite a bit easier going now. I was having so much fun and the harder stuff felt easier than I had remembered.

But, I am 40. I have been trampoline training a couple of hours per week, I’ve been putting in 5 hours a week in the gym, I have been mountain biking a ton and riding the cable and boat. My diet is mostly vegetarian or fish and I’m religious about the quality and type of supplements I take which I have researched for years.


Darin Shapiro
pic: Tanya Pavlis

Where does this put me as far as being ready to take on the Pro Wakeboard Tour at my age? I have no idea but I love being in the best shape of my life and riding a wakeboard with virtually no pain especially considering that I have been going pretty hard in my book. Kelly Slater is the best example I can give about what can be accomplished in watersports at 40 plus. Though surfing is different in regard to what type of load we put on our bodies he is the “bees knees” and I am immensely inspired by Kelly.

I have reminded myself daily that I love this process and trying to up my game has got me feeling more alive than ever. I challenge everyone out there to challenge themselves because that is where I find the most happiness and I hope you do to!