There’s nothing dangerous when we think about the beach right? Wrong. Even if the beach is nice to look at, surfers, both experienced and not should be careful to avoid any unfortunate mishaps that might happen. There’s nothing wrong with taking extra safety precautions as long as it can save your life. So what do surfers need to do to make their surfing escapade enjoyable and safe at the same time? Let’s have look!
Before you ride the waves, take a look at this safety checklist first and see if you’re ready and prepared.
Examine the Area
- Just like what our grandparents use to say, look before you leap. To ensure a smooth and safe surf, be sure to scan the area first and see if there are any rocks, shallow reefs, or any other dangers to avoid.
Be Updated About the Weather
- Check the local news or go online for weather updates. If you see that the sky is starting to cry, then look for another safer date to go surfing.
Check Your Board’s Fins
- Fins under your board can be very sharp, so it’s better to dull it first before venturing out in the sea to catch some waves. If you don’t, then being attacked by your own board is the last thing you need to worry about which can get really messy.
- Learn & practice how to unhook your board leash while underwater. Leash entanglements is not a good sign and you might be caught up into underwater accidents later on.
Know Your Limits
- Lastly, the most important thing to do is to know your limits. If you can only ride small waves, then it’s ok. Don’t push yourself outside your boundaries just to impress anyone. You’ll end up dead pretty soon if you try to ride big waves without proper knowledge and skills just yet.
Watch Out for Riptides
- Nature can be pretty and scary at the same time, especially when it starts to challenge you while you’re just enjoying your surfing session in the ocean. Riptides are one of the sneakiest dangers of the ocean. If you ever find yourself being caught into one, then remember the triple “F”.
- Flip – onto your back so you can breathe.
- Float – to conserve energy.
- Follow – the current until it stays calm.
Swimming against a riptide is just a waste of energy and makes your escape much harder. Keep in mind that a riptide’s force lessens further from the shore. This means that it will stop pulling you out 50-100 yards away from the shore. Once the current had calmed down, you can swim back into the shore until you’re completely out of the riptide, or you can just either float until the current will lead you back into land.
Shallow Reef Wipeout
- If you’re ready to wipeout, do it in a place that’s completely free from corals. Corals are very sharp so it’s important to avoid them. The best thing to do in this situation is not to wipeout in a shallow reef. But if you ever find yourself already in a shallow reef, then do the “starfish”.
- So what is this “starfish” thing that we’re talking about? Well, if we look at a normal wipeout, you have to bring your arms together above your head and extend yourself to form a line. However, the starfish is miles different from this. As the name suggest, when you wipeout, you ext end your arms and legs to the side just like a starfish. This enables you to float higher and farther away from coral-filled places.
- This is indeed one of the scariest part when it comes to surfing. Being tossed like a ragdoll by the waves is an experience you don’t want to remember. Hold downs are inevitable though so if ever this happens to you, then remember these:
- Relax – keep calm and go with the flow of the current.
- Use your arms – to protect your head from any danger that might happen.
- Hold your breath – to save yourself from drowning.
- Do not panic – or else a trip to the hospital is the next thing you’ll end up on.
- Keep in mind that panicking and fighting for the surface won’t do any good. Your body will use more oxygen which prevents you to breath properly that may lead to worst situations later on. Train yourself to breath longer underwater to help yourself become more comfortable during a hold down. An average hold down can keep you underwater for 12 seconds. For big waves, however, might last longer than that. And what’s worst is that one wave will be followed by another depending on the place of the ocean you’re at. Do some yoga to train yourself to relax during longer hold downs.