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Surf safety – 10 tips

The ocean can be a dangerous place. It is crucial that you have the right knowledge, are confident in the water and know what to do in case a dangerous situation occurs.

Here are 10 tips for your surf safety:

swimming in the pool to improve your surfing safety

Bondi beach pool   Photo by AndrewK

1 LEARN HOW TO SWIM

Although you are connected with your surfboard leash to your surfboard, leashes do sometimes break. Therefore it is wise to practice swimming in the ocean. Take some time swimming close to a lifeguard and you will be less likely to panic once such a situation occurs.

2 LEARN ABOUT RIP CURRENTS AND TIDES

Rip currents and tides come in regular patterns and are predictable. Learn from other surfers and locals on the effect they have on your local surf spot and you might well avoid a dangerous situation.

 3 LEARN THE SURF ETIQUETTE

The surf etiquette are simple guidelines on how to behave in the water so you or other surfers stay happy and safe. These ‘rules’ are important to learn and one should memorize and respect them.

4 TAKE SURF LESSONS

If you want a safe start and get up on your feet as quick as possible it is wise to take some surfing lessons at your local surf school. They have the knowledge, equipment and can give you the best advice about your local break.

surfers entering the ocean surf safety

Morning rush hour   Photo by RStacker

5 OBSERVE THE WAVES

Take some time before entering the water to observe the waves and currents. Check where the best waves break and how to get there. You can do a pre surf warm up while you get pumped watching other surfers.

6 START ON SMALL WAVES

Slower, crumbling waves are better and easier for beginners. Once you are comfortable on these you can progress to faster, bigger waves.

7 START BODYBOARDING

Bodyboarding can be a great way to experience and understand the waves. On top you do not run the risk of getting hit by your own surfboard or surfboard fins.

8 SURF WITH FRIENDS

Surfing with friends is safer than surfing alone. You can help each other if a harmful situation occurs. Surfing together also pushes you to surf better. Train yourself by trying out different techniques and moves.

9 RESPECT YOUR ABILITY

Always be realistic about your ability and never enter conditions you can not handle. You will be putting yourself and others at risk.

10 LOOK OUT FOR OBJECTS

Before entering the water look out for submerged rocks and boulders. Also jetties, piers, sharp reefs and coral can ruin a perfect surf session. If you are unsure about where to surf ask advice from other surfers. If in doubt, stay out ! Surf safety should be your top priority.

Featured image by T.Davis