Learning how to surf can be a fun and exciting experience! Riding your first wave is a huge accomplishment, especially after hours and hours of practice. But before you paddle out you have to ensure the safety of yourself and others while you’re in the ocean. Thousands of surf related injuries happen each year, most caused by “wiping out” or surfers being unaware of ocean conditions. It’s important combine both open water swim safety and surfing safety to ensure that you stay calm and know what to do if an accident does happen on the beach.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, it’s important to keep these tips in mind to ensure everyone’s safety. Here are some surfing safety tips you should know before hitting the waves:
Surfing Tip #1: Have Surfing Experience
Before you head out into the ocean it’s important to know the basics of surfing. If you’re a beginner it should be a no-brainer that surfing without taking a lesson or even knowing the fundamentals can be dangerous for you and the other surfers around you.
It’s also important to know how to swim. Swimming and surfing go hand and hand- if you’re inexperienced in both it’s best to take lessons. Remember, be patient and make sure you have the right training before you hit the waves.
Surfing Tip #2: Check The Weather & Your Equipment
It’s important that you check the weather, tides, and wind before you head out to the beach. Most beaches will also inform visitors if it’s safe to swim or go into the water. You should also learn how to observe the ocean for changes, this will help you identify rip tides and tide changes. This will be useful as you can alert other swimmers and surfers to avoid certain areas of the beach.
Another important step is to make sure all of your gear is in working order. From your leash to your wetsuit, ensure that there are no rips or tears that could make you uncomfortable. Also consider wearing bright colours in order for others to spot you when you’re in the ocean in case of an emergency.
Surfing Tip #3: Wipe Out Safely
Everyone who has ever surfed has wiped out countless times. The important thing to remember is to “wipe out” safely.
Make sure to always protect your head with your arms when you wipe out in case the board or other things in the ocean hit your head. In case you aren’t able to protect your head with your arms, it’s always better to bail feet first into the water than head first.
Surfing Tip #4: Help Others & Be Aware
When you see another surfer in need of help, it’s best to let the closest lifeguard know or call the closest emergency services. It’s not recommended that you swim out to help someone as it could lead to further injury to the victim or even yourself. Let professionally trained lifeguards and coast guards handle an emergency.
In the case of an emergency where lifeguards, coast guards, or surf lifesavers aren’t present, you should only assist if there is no risk to yourself! Remember that calling your local emergency medical services is a priority in any case. Some helpful skills include getting trained in First Aid/CPR, and maintaining your surf lifesaving skills. It’s recommended to learn First Aid & CPR if you’re a surfer in case of an emergency. It’s helpful for you and other surfers at the beach.
Surfing Tip #5: Stay With Your Board
If you find yourself in an emergency, whether you get thrown underwater or you drift too far away, it’s important to stay with your board. Your board will always stay afloat, so if you’ve been tossed underwater and need to get back to the surface, stay calm and follow your leash back to your board and wait for help to arrive!
Remember to have fun and stay safe when you’re riding those waves!
Do you have any helpful surfing tips? Let us know in the comments!