Whether you’re an experienced surfer or are just starting out on the waves, surfing is an incredible sport to learn. From the minutes spent squeezing into your wetsuit, to the first time you successfully ride a wave, every moment of the surfing experience is one to cherish, but like most good things, it can come with its risks and dangers. Staying safe while out on the waves is as vital to the experience as your board, but new surfers may not know just how to do that – which is where we come in. Below, we’ve pulled together five things that you can do to ensure that you stay safe while surfing.
Check Your Equipment
Your equipment is the key to your safety when surfing, and that includes everything from your costume to your board, and even to the leash that will keep you attached to said, board. Your surfboard needs to be safe to use – boards that are too big, too small, sharply pointed or too hard can result in not only a difficult surfing experience but a bigger potential for danger should you come off the board.
Get Surf Fit
This may seem like a given, but surfing requires an amazing level of fitness, and it’s important to know that this fitness isn’t the same as that required for running a marathon. While strength in your legs is important, being able to paddle for long distances will benefit you far more. The further from the shore you are, the safer you are while surfing. Of course, you’ll also need to be a strong swimmer. While your board can keep you afloat, the leash to your board can fail, and if you can’t swim you’ll be left stranded. Practice swimming in your local pool and in the ocean – these are two very different conditions to swim in, but by practicing in a pool, you’ll build up strength in the muscles that you’ll need.
Avoid surfing anywhere near obstacles at all times, whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a newbie. Everything from piers, cliffs, boats, rocks and much more can prove dangerous if you find yourself losing control at any point. Currents around permanent structures tend to be much stronger and harder to surf, so it’s advisable to completely avoid these areas in the first place in order to stay safe.
Know Your Limits
In order to stay safe while surfing, you need to know your limits. It can be tempting to push yourself – after all, how else do you learn? – but trying to surf in waves or conditions that are beyond your experience and ability is just asking for trouble. You’ll not only be a danger to yourself, but to your fellow surfers too. Similarly, knowing your exhaustion limit is important too! If you’re an avid surfer, you’ll want to stay in the water all day and we can hardly blame you, but as it gets too dark or you find yourself aching in exhaustion, it’s time to head to shore. You can’t control your board nearly as well when you’re tired, your reflexes won’t be as sharp, and in the dark you certainly won’t see any hazards until it’s too late!
Stay With Your Board
Having a strong leash to your board is a key way to staying safe, as your board is your biggest safety tool. Your board is designed to stay afloat, and it always will, so even if you become stranded, you can use your board to keep yourself out of the water, or from sinking even if you reach the point of exhaustion before you can reach the shore. Keeping hold of your board will keep other surfers safe too, as it can prove to be a hazard to their surfing.
Surfing is a fun, exhilarating and active sport that can keep you fit physically and mentally. You can spend countless hours in the waves, but staying safe while you do so will keep the fun going for longer! Staying with your board, making sure that you don’t exhaust yourself and so much more can be done to improve your experience, so make sure you follow our top tips today for a safe, but ultimately thrilling surf experience!