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Whether you are an avid surfer with a top-of-the-line branded board or someone who’s looking to get into surfing, there are certain dangers regarding the sport that you must be aware of. Although considered a relatively safe activity, going out to the waves always entails a certain amount of peril. Having an in-depth knowledge of several factors such as water conditions, your gear, and unforeseen events can ensure your safety while catching the waves. Here is a list of the top 11 dangers of surfing that we have divided into three broad categories.
Going to the Beach
Surfing means going to the beach.
Surfing is synonymous with going to the beach. As such, you will encounter nearly the same circumstances as any other beachgoer going about to enjoy their day in the sun, sand, and shore. These are some of the things that you should look out for when heading out to your favorite surf spot.
11) Sunburn – Sunlight is especially intense in the shore, as both the water and the sand reflects rays on their surfaces. Prolonged periods of exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause sunburn, a painful condition that may carry damaging long-term effects on your skin. To avoid this, bring sunblock that’s best suited for your skin type.
10) Heatstroke – Another effect of high levels heat and sunlight levels is heatstroke, which is a more immediate emergency that requires prompt medical assistance. Getting heatstroke is a result of your core body temperature rising to unsafe and unhealthy conditions. The major signs of a heatstroke include fainting, seizures, and irregular heartbeat. Remember to always stay hydrated and to cool off with a quick dip in the water to prevent heatstroke.
Always be Aware of Your Surroundings
Be mindful of the things around you.
As you will be entering an environment that is not natural to humans, you are susceptible to a certain number of influences that may or may not be beyond your control. Being watchful and alert of elements concerning your immediate surroundings can prevent accidents, hazards, and more.
Always keep an eye out for:
9) Other people – Getting into a collision with another surfer is a common occurrence that accounts for most surfing-related accidents. Even though surfing is considered to be an individual sport, there are certain rules and guidelines set in place that prevent the unnecessary person-to-person wreckage. Know the proper surf etiquette before paddling out to avoid endangering others as well as yourself.
8) Local marine life – Although a relatively rare occurrence in surfing, the ocean’s inhabitants can also pose a threat when it comes to surfing. Sea creatures such as jellyfish and sharks can prove to be a lethal encounter at the most extreme. Be well informed of the dangers from the local wildlife whenever you go into the water.
7) Riptides or rip currents – A riptide, or rip current, is caused by wind and waves pushing water towards the shore. This results to an elevated water level, which flows back swiftly and powerfully in narrow channels back to the sea. Getting caught in a rip current can cause you to drift for several miles. In worst cases, you might end up in the open sea and in need of special rescue.
6) Reef - Although reefs cause the most powerful and exciting form of waves, the jagged bottom can be a source of gruesome injuries. Do not attempt to surf a reef break unless you are confident that your skill level is up to par. An advanced surfer should consider a design your own board approach to finding the perfect board for the most extreme kind of waves.
5) Waves – Caused by energy traveling across the water, waves can sometimes be unpredictable in size, shape, and form. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the type of wave in the surf spot before paddling out. Failure to do so will increase the risk of getting overpowered by a wave. Take note of the wave’s shape in relation to closeouts and sections. You can also spot the size of a wave from a distance in most cases. Be prepared to paddle out of harm’s way to prevent getting “caught inside”. Having various custom surfboards for different types of waves can also lower the instances of getting caught unprepared.
4) Contaminated Water – Coastlines can draw a lot of people leading to a densely populated area near the water. Developing structures along the shore entail a certain degree of waste management that can be disregarded in many areas due to the rapid pace of overdevelopment. Raw sewage, industrial chemicals, and bacteria make the water a hazardous place for humans to venture in. Take note of the state of the water before plunging in it.
3) Trash – Unfortunately, the ocean continues to become more and more filled with man-made waste every year. As well as being dangerous to wildlife and the Plastic, metal, rubber, and many more, can cause collisions and entanglement.
Lastly, be very wary of your own equipment
Your gear and sometimes go against you.
Getting into an accident involving your own equipment is an unobvious and overlooked danger when it comes to surfing. Nowadays you can design your own surfboard to custom specifications. This helps prevents danger with regard to unfamiliar equipment.
2) Leash – A leash prevents your board from getting away from you via a cord attached to the surfboard as well as on your ankle or knee. This is for you to have an easy to access flotation device if you somehow find yourself in a situation that you are unable to swim. However, you can get caught up in your own leash if you’re not careful, leading to a possibility of drowning.
1) Board – Perhaps the most dangerous item when it comes to surfing. Due to their relative proximity to surfboards, be it their own or others, surfers are in danger of being impaled, knocked out, or worse when hit by a board. Some manufacturers allow you to design your own board to customize size, shape, length, and weight. By knowing the specifications of your custom board, you are able to make adjustments even in dangerous situations.
Looking for a custom surfboard where you pick the design? With the online product designer at DisruptSports you can upload images or choose from artwork made by local artisans. Start designing!