Author: Abby Siemer
“As a wakeboarding coach there’s so much that goes into staying healthy and making sure we’re at our best for our students. Being a wakeboard instructor requires a lot of time, work and attention usually in the heat of summer, so it’s important to not get ourselves rundown”, explained Coach Kirby. As a water sports coach, it’s important to understand how to take care of yourself when in such a demanding, daily environment. Kirby shared his safety measures that protect him, the other coaches, and customers from the challenges that come from this line of work.
Anetik is a company that has supported Kirby’s School of Wake for the last five years; the company was created by athletes for athletes who need comfortable, reliable, and protective clothing. Anetik specializes in pieces that protect the skin from harmful UV rays and are built for extreme temperatures. This is done by using unbleached cotton that has natural lignins that absorb UV rays or with other fabrics like polyester and silk which reflect radiation. It’s vital for the coaches to protect themselves from the sun. There are two types of UV rays, 95% of rays are UVA which if exposed to for long periods of time can damage skin cells and lead to cancer. The other 5% of rays are UVB which are significantly more intense than UVA and are responsible for most sunburns; they can also lead to skin cancer and cause eye damage.
Kirby is a fan of Anetik for many reasons, but one is the versatility their clothing provides. On cooler days their pieces can be layered, but still have a light, airy feel. As the weather gets warmer, Kirby moves from their long sleeves and hoodies to t-shirts and eventually tank tops. He also enjoys that he can dip his UPF30+ shirts into the water to cool down quicker, but being wet on a boat isn’t always comfortable, which is why Kirby also wears their fast drying board shorts. He finds their shade masks convenient to block his face from the sun and wind.
Another protective measure they take is keeping Zinka Sunscreen on the boats at all times including the spray, lotion, nose coat, sticks, and chapstick because of its effectiveness against harsh UV rays. Zinc oxide blocks both UVA and UVB rays plus it’s photostable and waterproof meaning neither sun nor water can break it down. Zinka Sunscreen or as the coaches call it “fun screen” comes in an array of different colors which attracts kids and makes it easier to encourage them to wear sunscreen. The color also helps to alert you to when it’s time to reapply; it will start to fade when another coat is needed.
Kirby is a huge advocate for understanding how what goes into your body affects your performance and how you feel. Every morning he has an AG1 multivitamin supplement drink. He chooses to mix his with water and pineapple juice or a bottle of Body Armor juice. AG1 contains vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium which have anti-inflammatory properties and boost the immune system. AG1 has spirulina in it as well which provides the body with the protein it needs to protect and repair cells which can help prevent things like minor injury and skin cancer. It also contains B vitamins that improve the function of the energy- production system.
Kirby says that by drinking this every morning he’s able to avoid the midday crash and stay energized all day with no help from energy drinks or caffeine. Caffeine from energy drinks can actually aid in dehydration by pulling water from the body to dilute the sugar in an energy drink, it depletes the body of water and electrolytes. Electrolytes help to carry electrical signals from cell to cell, but when the body is dehydrated there are not enough electrolytes to continue this function which can lead to headaches, nausea, dizziness and if dehydrated for long periods of time can cause brain swelling and loss of kidney function.
When working in the hot summer sun, it’s important to replenish your body and keep hydrated. Kirby does this by carrying a Hydro Flask filled with ice water each day. If he’s feeling a little overheated he often will add a packet of Liquid IV to his water.
Kirby also fuels up with heathy snacks with a quick stop at Woods Supermarket here at Lake of the Ozarks before his sessions. Woods always has great healthy snack options to help fuel his body throughout the day.
When asked why Kirby takes so many precautions he said it’s important to be mindful of these elements because as a coach you have to be able to think clearly for the safety of yourself and your customers. “It’s the most rewarding job you could ever have putting people in the water and getting them those great first time experiences, helping them love the sport that we’ve grown to love” Kirby stated. “When we’re at our best we can do and be our best”.