Health gurus help keep surfers riding the waves

Rob Machado told me a while back that he could tell when the local waters were affected by red tide, even without looking at the ocean. He, like many of us, including me, is allergic to the phytoplankton bloom commonly called Red Tide and scientifically known as Harmful Algal Blooms. The blooms are toxic and can cause everything from minor discomfort to life-threatening asthma.
In some cases a red tide triggered asthma attack doesn’t even require entering the water. The gasses produced by the blooms float far enough inland to cause many of us to reach for the inhaler. While the nighttime light show can be spectacular, it’s not enjoyable if you’re suffocating.
Wanting to enjoy the ocean even during red tide events, I went looking for answers, other than pharmaceutical ones. My first stop was to Del Mar’s Akoni Apana, whose Hawaiian Power Flow techniques have offered me instant asthma relief without pills or an inhaler. Apana has helped me and countless others — one of the most recent
being skateboarding legend Christian Hosoi, who was in pain with a bad shoulder prior to Apana’s healing touch.
Just up the block from Akoni is another healer, Minh Ngueyen. While sometimes called a “fitness
trainer” and a “nutritionist,” Minh, as those who know him realize, is far more than that. Through his Raw Fusion foods and his Power Hour classes, Minh offers options for clearer breathing, a better life in general, and surfing your best.
One of Minh’s suggestions for help with allergies and asthma is locally harvested raw honey. Being extracted from local pollens, this honey provides the needed antibodies against environmental allergies. Minh, whose dietary advice includes grass-fed meats, believes that you are not just what you eat, but you are what you eat eats. “Things like preservatives take a lot longer to process in the body and can cause allergic responses and worse,” Minh said.
Physically, many surfers tend to be out of balance because their biggest workout comes from paddling, which develops the upper body, while the chest down receives only a mild workout. Minh suggests “functional exercises,” where an athlete trains the needed muscles for strength, speed and flexibility.
“You need to be up on your board quickly and be able to flexible enough and quick enough to shift into different positions as the wave changes shape,” Minh said.
Minh offers Saturday morning workouts in Del Mar along with strength trainer Dan Trongone and Candice Bottomley. The classes, which are geared to all levels of fitness, include stretching with a Yoga/ Pilates emphasis and are followed by healthy post-workout breakfasts.
“After a hard workout, you have about 60 minutes to nourish yourself and replenish your system with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, so you won’t be as sore. This style of workout is perfect for surfers, because it focuses on not just strength and flexibility, but reaction time,” Minh said.
Minh’s Power Hour workout runs every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at 12674 Intermezzo Way in Del Mar. To learn more, visit


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