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Surfing - Surfing Safety Tips

Sep 13, 2008
It's very rare to break a leg surfing. But surfing carries its own inherent dangers. Forewarned is forearmed.

Drowning is the most obvious risk from surfing and there are a dozen ways to unintentionally raise the odds.

Not being prepared to surf is the first way. Surfing requires being fit, being able to swim well and then getting some training. Even the most advanced surfers fall of their boards.

When that happens you'll have to locate your board if it isn't attached to you by a safety leash to your ankle, then paddle back. If you lose your board or it washes ashore, you have to swim back. Either requires a lot of stamina, especially when there are strong currents, which is often the case. Get fit for surfing and ensure that you are a strong swimmer before going out into the water.

Not being alert is the second most common cause of problems while surfing.

For a sport that looks simple, there's a surprising number of things to be aware of at all times. Winds near the shore can shift rapidly, pushing you off your board. Current eddies and riptides can keep you from swimming ashore easily.

Other surfers, especially inexperienced ones, can fail to look out for you. That means you have to look out for them. Crossing boards in the water is never a happy experience for anyone. Give priority to the surfer closest to the break. Even if someone else is being rude and not following the surfer's etiquette, don't lose your cool. That leads to accidents, or worse.

Underwater rocks, coral reefs and other unseen formations can damage you and your board. Even visible jetties can be a problem, since most of the formation is unseen. Jellyfish and other creatures can deliver a nasty sting. Watch out for all these by getting familiar with the common water movements that signal their presence.

Failure to exercise common sense and good judgment is another leading cause of injury for too many surfers. When you're beginning, it's easy to get carried away with the excitement and challenge. It's great to be enthusiastic, but don't take on waves bigger than your skills can handle. Don't be too eager to shoot a curl or surf among the pier pilings because it looks cool.

Always surf with at least one buddy. If you run into trouble, he or she can help you out. One of you can make for shore and get help, if needed. Sometimes two surfers can be put in trouble by the same event, but the odds are more in your favor if you pair up.

It should be obvious by now that these are all common sense reminders. That's a signal that it doesn't require advanced surfing experience to recognize the dangers and avoid them. Just keep it together and you'll have that much more time for surfing. Injuries take you out of the game.

Another important safety tip, relates to skin protection. Wear UV protective swimsuits is the best type of skin protection, along with sunglasses, and applying sunscreens on exposed skin. So make sure you have your UV protection gear each time you go out surfing.
About the Author
J Edmond have been working in the sun protection clothing industry for several years. The main aim is to raise awareness of the sun' UV radiation and it's effect on human skin. Click here for more info about sun protection swimwear and UV protective clothing.
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