Joakim Noah trained with big wave surfer in off-season

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The trendy off-season workout for NBA players is MMA — it’s a hard workout, it teaches balance and core strength, plus it’s just cool.

That’s not what Joakim Noah did last summer.

He was in Southern California working out with famed big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton. And no, working out with him doesn’t mean jumping on some 50-foot wave (which I’m pretty sure violates Noah’s contract in like 12 places). Rather he was doing pool workouts that sound pretty extreme. From the Daily Herald (hat tip to SLAM).

“I would say I learned just as much about recovery from him as anybody,” Noah said after playing 44 minutes and the entire second half against the Knicks. “The way he trains for what he does is unbelievable. I consider him like a mentor….

“He surfs 60-, 70-foot giants,” Noah said. “You fall, you could die. Talk about mental toughness. When you have a 60-foot monster, you can be under (water) for two or three minutes, so you have to train for that.

“He’ll use weights and do like jumps underwater. He can do like 10 jumps. I can do like three. It’s unbelievable, just for your lung capacity and stuff like that. It really helped me doing these pool workouts.”

Noah is having a career year — 13.7 points and 10.8 rebounds a game, he’s the defensive anchor still and taking on more of the Bulls offense with Derrick Rose out. He has a PER of 18.5. The Bulls are atop the Central Division without their MVP and Noah’s play at both ends is a key reason.

So apparently this works.

Is it really hard to picture Noah hanging out on the beach, talking workouts with surfers? Then finding a way to make it work for him.