One of the first things that often pops up when newbie surfers or amateurs try to get guidance on how to be safe while surfing is injuries with your surfboard. Yep, your best friend, while you're hitting those big waves, can be your worst nightmare if you aren’t well-versed in dealing with or avoiding this mishap so that you don’t sustain wounds that might take you straight to the emergency.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled some of the best ways you can keep your body safe from potential harm during a wipeout.
Important things to consider when surfing
1. Falling off of the board during a wipeout
When the wave is too big or strong, and you know you’re going to fall over, always fall to the side or the back of the board and never the front. With forward momentum, your board is more likely to smack you hard if you are right in front of it.
Also, be in a protective position right before you sense a wipeout. This position involves shielding your head with your arms so that even if the board hits you, you don’t sustain head injuries or, worse, aren’t knocked unconscious, which can lead to drowning.
If you’re aware that your surfboard is making its way to you, you can use your feet to push it away. This might require skill, so if you are a novice, you might have to practice to achieve perfection.
Once you master this art, you will be well on your way to being able to handle any kind of wave that comes your way.
2. Emerging right after
Being in the midst of waves means that when you emerge after a wipeout, you might be inside another wave. Make sure that you’re in control of your surfboard by positioning it firmly behind you while you navigate other waves.
3. Never panic
Panicking while surfing is the worst thing you can do. You should know that mastering your mind while amidst big waves is perhaps the most important thing and the number 1 skill that you will have to learn.
Once a person starts to panic, they lose self-control, and in that moment, they forget all the safety rules that need to be followed at every step of their surfing experience so that they can avoid a huge mishap.
4. Avoid getting hit by another surfer’s board
If there are other surfers around you, chances are that you might wipe out together and, hence, get hit by each other’s surfboards. In order to avoid this, keep a fair distance between you and the other surfer and take turns riding a wave.
If you see someone already taking a wave, you can wait and take the next one. With a little bit of coordination and understanding between surfers, potential injuries can be prevented.
5. Double-check your board leash
Your board leash should never break because a free board can wreak more havoc. It can hit not only you but also other surfers in the vicinity. Before heading out into the sea in search of some great waves, make sure your leash is well attached to your ankle. If it’s broken or fits loosely, you might have to get another leash.
6. Wear a helmet
This might seem like a silly idea to many surfers, but if you are wise, especially if you are just starting out, it won’t hurt to wear a helmet.
This will protect your head, an important organ for coordination, balance, and control. Even if you sustain injuries elsewhere, if your head is protected, you’ll be much safer overall. A helmet is also a brilliant idea if the waves you are planning to take are huge.
7. Get any cuts or wounds treated immediately
When people get hit by their surfboards, they sometimes sustain injuries. If these aren’t treated on time, you might be left with a serious infection such as a staph infection.
This is caused by Staphylococcus, and when this bacteria finds its way into your bloodstream, it can quickly spread. Many people die because of this, so you have to take precautions. You can even manipulate your board by inserting softer fins so that there is a lesser chance of you suffering from a cut or a scrape.
8. Use foam boards if you are a beginner
Since there is a huge risk of trauma with a traditional surfboard, you are better off with a soft board if you are a novice to the sport. You might not like this idea since many people, especially those who want to learn the art of surfing quickly, want to dive straight in with an actual board. But remember, ending up with a concussion or nasty neck pain will leave you thinking twice the next time.
9. Stretch before getting started
Stretching exercises will help you warm up your muscles and make sure that when you’re finally taking on a big wave and close to a wipeout, you’ll be agile enough, both physically and mentally, to make sure that you follow all the tips mentioned above closely.
The better prepared you are, the better you will be able to handle waves of any size and also enjoy the sport in the process.
Surfing can be a lot of fun, especially if you love the ocean and are doing this with your friends. However, keeping in mind a few rules on how to protect yourself and others while plunging straight into this activity can really help you to think straight and improve your surfing skills significantly. You owe it to yourself and others to practice safe surfing in order to ensure that you don’t suffer from any unexpected mishap.