Q&A: John Gannon, Bra Boy, pro fitness trainer, airplane travel tips

What is your background as an athlete (what sports did you play)?

All sorts: did the surf club stuff through my teens, paddling skies and boards –then got hooked on Jiu Jitsu and boxing.

Were you always a part of surf culture growing up?

Always. I love the ocean and the beach. We recently spent 10 days in New York. After about five of those days, all I could think about was getting in the ocean. It’s like it washes all your sins away… [laughs]

What do you love about surf culture?

The healthy lifestyle, the people and friends.

What is a typical ‘day in the life” for you on a training day?

Depends on the waves.  If the waves are good/fun we surf and stretch. If there is a flat spell or bad conditions, we step the training up.

What would your ultimate work-out day look like?

Stand-up paddle in the morning before a big breakfast. Then, go up to Origin of Energy at Bondi junction do a work out with those guys. Then, they do a lunch at the gym of slow-cooked organic meats; fresh coconut based smoothies. Then an arvo [afternoon nap].

When did you start professionally training athletes?

Five years ago.

Who do you currently train?

Taj Burrow

What is a typical week’s work-out for the pro-surfers?

Lots of lunging, squatting, twisting, chin ups, and cross training, but most of all postural work. Keeping the body in alignment is the best injury prevention and strength training any person/athlete can do.

What are some of your tips to staying healthy on an airplane flight?

Stay hydrated, move around, try to stay relaxed -some Bose noise canceling head phones are the best purchase i’ve ever made — get upgraded to business.

What are three exercises people can do on a plane to get the blood flowing?

1. Wall squats are the best. With your back against a wall, slide down into a seated position with your feet are shoulder width apart and your knees are directly above your ankles. Hold this static position for 30 seconds to a minute. Do this three to five times.

2. Stretch your hands and arms above your head as high as you comfortably can, and then go up onto your toes so you are fully stretching from toes to finger tips. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Do this three to five times.

3. Twisting. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, arms loose by your side and twist your upper body from the waist, keeping the arms relaxed.

What are some good ways to stay healthy while travelling?

Nothing will ever beat eating good quality healthy food and some exercise. Always try and fit into the sleep wake cycles as fast as you can to avoid jet lag.

What are three good training exercises people can do in a hotel room?

Stretching. Put some music on and jump around. Sex.

What is your favorite band to listen to when you train?

I’ve been listening to LCD Soundsystem, but it changes a lot.

Do you have any funny stories from being on the tour?

So many, it’s nonstop. Everywhere we go is like the biggest event of the year for the local people. All they want to do is party.

Are there any funny stories/pranks between the Australian surfers?

A couple of years ago in Spain, some of the boys were flying out the early the next morning, and some were on another flight a few days later. The ones flying out in the morning had the car packed, boards on the roof, ready to go. The others who were on the later flight got really drunk and went down to the car park and took every wheel off the car so it was sitting on its axles — they missed their flight.

What beach in the U.S. do you reckon has the prettiest girls (and Aussie beach)?

In the States, any beach in Cali has hot girls, but way to much plastic — that’s sort of a turn off. In Australia, Bondi for sure.

What was the experience  of being involved with the Bra Boys film like?

The film is just about the beach, myself and a group my mates grew up in. We had fun with it. A lot of doors opened. Some of the boys used the opportunity; some didn’t.

How did it affect the Bra Boys?

Its changed a lot. I’m still working out if it was for the better or worse. Some of the boys were better off before the film.

What advice do you have for up and coming Australians surfers who want to become pro?

A solid base of power surfing and flow is hard to beat — it never gets boring. Then, learn all the airs and tricks.

What is your favorite memory of Andy Irons?

I think about him a lot, but enough has been said about AI. It’s time to let him rest in peace.

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