Surfing can be a dangerous sport if you aren’t taking safety precautions but luckily there are plenty of ways to stay safe while surfing. Here is your guide to staying safe and preventing injuries in and out of the water!
With any sport, you pose risks to your body whether it just be wear and tear or a specific injury. While surfing can heal your body, it may also hurt it so follow these tips to avoid getting hurt. Staying safe and healthy is going to allow you to keep surfing, maybe even until you’re 80 years old!
SURF WITH A BUDDY
First things first, surfing with a buddy is one of the best ways to stay safe in the water. Having a buddy out there is going to give you peace of mind that if something did happen, you would have some help.
If you can’t find someone to surf with, make sure you at least let someone know that you are going out to surf and where.
surf forecast – CHECK THE TIDE AND WAVES
Another safety precaution before you are in the water is to check the tide and waves. You don’t want to get caught up in waves you aren’t ready for.
If you are just learning how to surf, ending up in a swell that’s too heavy or big for you can result in injury and might even scare you out of surfing again.
GET A GOOD WETSUIT
And don’t forget about a good wetsuit! Wetsuits are not only made to keep you warm, but they can protect you from cuts or scrapes.
If you are surfing in colder water such as in San Francisco, booties are going to keep your feet warm and protect from cuts from either rocks or your surf fins. Wetsuits are going to protect your skin just like sunscreen will! Skin health is super important so don’t forget your SPF and you can even wear a hat in the water. Never is a bad Idea to look for a wetsuit at local surf shops.
DO SOME STRETCHES
Before paddling out, doing some stretches on the sand is going to prevent pulling muscles and other injuries.
Stretching is one of the sure-fire ways to protect yourself from injury in the water. Stretching is also going to loosen up your muscles, giving you more mobility while you are surfing. This is also going to warm up your muscles for a better paddle out and pop up.
Surfing requires the use of your entire body which makes you more prone to injury, especially to your upper body including your head.
Many surf injuries come from your own surfboard so being comfortable with your surfboard is going to be important. Foam boards are going to be your best bet if you are just learning how to surf.
Hitting your head on a foam board is not going to nearly hurt as bad as an epoxy board. If you are riding a shortboard, many head injuries result from improper form when duck diving under a wave. Sometimes it is going to be better to just ditch your board and swim under. That’s what leashes are for!
WEAR A LEASH
Wearing a leash is going to keep you attached to your surfboard which will come in handy if you wipe out.
Having your board stay close to you is a great way to keep safe as you are always attached to a floatation device. This will also keep other surfers safer as they won’t just have surfboards flying at them.
Checking for rip tides before you paddle out is super important and will prevent you from getting sucked out.
Knowing how the ocean works, especially, rip tides is essential to being safe and comfortable in the ocean. If you don’t have a great understanding of rip tides and ocean currents, don’t be afraid to ask a lifeguard or fellow surfers.
LISTEN TO LIFEGUARDS
Listening to lifeguards and their recommendations is key as their sole job is to keep you and other beachgoers safe.
You might think you know more than them or that you are fine in the water but lifeguards are just there to protect you and their number one priority is your safety so if they tell you to paddle somewhere else or to get out of the water, just do it.
While there is a lot to be aware of when it comes to surfing and being in the ocean, there is a lot you can do to prevent injuries and stay safe while shredding.
Stretching before and after a session is your best bet on preventing muscle injuries and check out this blog post for more information on other surf exercises that will improve your safety and stability.