Surfing’s a sport that provides sensations no other sport can match so it’s hardly surprising that more and more people are trying their hand at it. If you’re not a “surfing giant slalom” expert, this article is just what you need. However, even if you are an expert this article is also for you as safety concerns us all. Here are the 10 key rules for safe surfing…for everybody’s benefit.
DON’T FIGHT AGAINST THE CURRENT
Don’t think you’re stronger than the current; paddling against it would be a pointless waste of energy. The best thing to do if you get carried away is not to resist but to wait until the current has passed and then you’ll be able to reach the open sea as you’ll still have enough strength in your arms.
PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THE SUN
You can often see surfers with a blob of cream on their nose and cheeks. No, it’s not the latest fashion but simply a way of avoiding sunburn (blisters, nose peeling…). Protect yourself from the sun thanks to waterproof sun cream, UV tops or otherwise a wetsuit. If you relax on the beach, make sure you do so under a parasol as the heat could result in sunstroke.
GET OUT OF THE WATER STRAIGHT AWAY IF YOU START FEELING TIRED
If you’re feeling very tired and weary you need to react. When you’re in the water, in the waves, you must be 100% focused. If you begin to get tired, it’s best to leave the water and take a breather on the more or less fine sand. This will enable you to recharge your batteries and top up with liquids.
ONE WAVE, ONE SURFER
Between resin boards, sharp noses and fins that are not always that blunt, there’s no shortage of injuries. Consequently, it’s necessary to try to avoid collisions. That’s why it’s important not to drop in on a wave a surfer’s already surfing. It’s the most important rule in terms of surfing priority rules
DON’T GET IN THE WAY OF A SURFER ON A WAVE
While always paying attention to avoid collisions, a surfer on his wave has priority with regard to another who’s working his way up to the peak. If you’re in this situation, you must paddle round the area where the wave breaks to ensure you’re well clear of the surfer in action. It goes without saying that even though he has priority, the surfer on the wave must still do everything possible to avoid any type of collision. This is yet another part of surfing priority rules.
TAKING ON LIQUIDS
Have you ever experienced feeling like you’ve got a bar tightening right round your head? This headache is a sign you’ve spent too much time in the sun without drinking any water. Just because you’re in the sea doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink water… your body loses water when it works and when you throw in the heat of the sun, you must get used to drinking (water rather than fizzy drinks) regularly when you go surfing.
CHECKING OUT CONDITIONS: WAVES, WIND AND SPOTS
In order to avoid ending up in conditions that are too difficult for your level, keep an eye on weather forecast sites such as windguru or for beginners, surf-report or yadusurf. Find out about the protected spots (spots protected by the swell) close to the area where you live. Armed with this information you’ll be able to choose a spot where the waves will suit your level.
Surf report : Yadusurf :
IN CASE OF THUNDERSTORMS: GET OUT OF THE WATER
Ah! What a pleasure it is to surf in the rain! But when the rain comes with thunder and lightning, get out of the water as quickly as possible. Don’t play with fire – storms can kill especially in water…Lightning that hits the surface of the water covers a range of a 500 metres, so if you’re within this distance, you run the risk of being hit by the lightning especially as seawater conducts electricity to a great extent. So, when you see the first flash paddle to the shore. Better still, if you feel the weather is stormy, forget about going into the water.
DON’T SURF IN A SWIMMING AREA
In France this area is marked by two blue flags and is restricted to people wanting to swim and who don’t have any “beach equipment” (including surfboards). In recent years, “transition” areas have become increasingly used. They are indicated by green flags with a red circle in the middle (theoretically on both sides of the swimming area). Surfers and bodyboarders with fins must also stay outside this area. Bodyboarders without fins must stay between the flags and the green flag with a red circle.
SURFING IN SUITABLE CONDITIONS
Trying to go beyond your own limits is what adventure sports are all about and surfing is consequently one of them. But awareness of your limits is also one of the main qualities. 3m50 thick that break 20 metres from the shore on protruding rocks – great, jump into water. It’s not perhaps the best idea you’ve ever had… If you find yourself in conditions where you’re not fully in control you’ll have a bad experience and put yourself in a dangerous situation. If you have any doubts, don’t go there.
Don’t hesitate to contribute to these tips by leaving comments about your own surfing safety advice.