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Safety in surf

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Surfing naturally involves some risks, but as in every adventure sport real risk is minimized if the level and form of the surfer is suitable to the sea conditions. That requires knowing how to properly assess both the level and conditions. It is true that you can learn the necessary theory and safety rules through reading but what you can not do through reading books is to acquire the ability to correctly assess the situation in the water. That is exactly why it is not advisable to abandon the support of an experienced surf teacher.


What you could do before your surf holiday . . .

Physically prepare yourself before your holiday, eg swimming (even better: paddling a surfboard in prone position into a lake, river or a pool), snorkeling and practice skateboarding. Like this you will enjoy surfing more from the beginning of your holiday, being in a better physical condition will ultimately provide more security in practice.

New beaches are exciting but . . .

the follow you will not know until you go into the waterr

  • Characteristics of the shoreline and seabed, rocks or coral
  • Sandbanks and places of risk with possible currents
  • Direction and intensity of possible currents
  • Effects of the oceans
  • Other hazards
  • Location of your emergency responders and emergency telephone number

Never place yourself in waves if you can not swim back to the shore from that position without a surfboard, because the leash can tear !!!

Before you start . . .

At the beach you already know, always before you go in, you should look at the waves and check the status and your equipment::

  • Are there currents?
  • The height of the waves and how they break?
  • How many waves are there in one set? How much time passes between two sets?
  • What do other surfers do?
  • Is there a dumping shorebreak (hollow waves that break right on the shore)?
  • The leash is flawless?
  • The fins are well established?
  • The board has enough wax?
  • You are wearing a suit that gives you enough insolation?
  • Are you protected from the sun?
  • You're in good physical and mental shape?
  • Your level and your form are sufficient for sea conditions?

At last the water . . .

  • Never go in alone when there are dangerous conditions!
  • Under non-hazardous conditions, at least one person would watch you from the beach!
  • Never carry your board between your body and the wave, if you're not on the board always carry it to your side!

At the peak . . . waiting for the waves . . .

  • Always look at the waves!
  • Often look at the shore to see if the current is taking you.
  • Always when you're not catching waves or paddling, you should sit on your board so you'll see the waves in advance, others will be able to see you better and you can turn faster.

YAY! I've caught one ...

  • Before taking the wave and while you're surfing must look to both sides and forward!
  • If you have a surfer or swimmer to your side, do not take the wave or if you've already taken the wave, stop immediately!
  • Always respect the rules of priority!
  • If you are in danger by a wave or a surfer who can not control his board, try to dive as deep as possible, but always grabbing the nose very tight and keeping close to it. Never let the board fly because it could hurt others!

Falling wisely . . .

  • If you fall paddling or catching a wave hold on to the edges of the board, for this is the surest way to avoid colliding with your board.
  • If you have not managed to catch it immediately you have to protect your head with your arms and sink down as deep as possible, until you feel a pull of the leash. Then emerge slowly back up. Once at the surface look first at the oncoming waves, in case your board is in the next wave and you have to dive back down. Otherwise take your board as soon as possible to regain control of it.
  • If you're surfing and you fall, jump to the side farthest from the board immediately to protect your head with your arms, immersing as deep as possible until you feel a pull of the leash. Then emerge slowly back up. Once at the surface look first at the oncoming waves, in case your board is in the next wave and you have to dive back down. Otherwise take your board as soon as possible to regain control of it.

Back to the shore . . .

  • Get off you board before reaching the shore gripping the edge of the board.
  • If there is a dumping shorebreak (hollow waves that break right on the shore) get off your board well in advance and continue swimming next to your board gripping it well and continually observing the waves behind you. Get carried by the small waves to the shore, and if a big wave is approaching, pressing heavily on the tail of your board going into the water. Once the water depth allows you, search for the bottom with your feet, separating them well apart, to resist the whirlpool that will lose strength as it approaches. Shortly before the next wave reaches you, run without losing sight of the waves. Before reaching a safe distance from the waves, don't grap your leash or rub your eyes or even place your hair!

If ever you get into an emergency situation . . .

  • Never abandon your board - try to stay calm - save your strength!
  • If you have problems with streams and currents coming at right angles from it, try to reach the center of an area where waves break, because there you can surf back to the shore with the broken waves (the foam) lying on your board. Never try to paddle against the current! If you are unsure where the current takes you sit a while on your board and look at a point on the shore, so you can find out.
  • If you need help give the emergency signal by stretching your arms upwards.

 

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Contact person

Martin Zawilla

MASTER'S DEGREE IN SCIENCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND SPORT
LICENSED SURF INSTRUCTOR LEVEL II by the German Surf Federation

+34 699 924 009

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