Why Is Surfing Dangerous?

By in Ask A Shaper


You may have asked yourself at some point, “Why is surfing dangerous?” Surfing has a number of hidden dangers. The ocean can be a dangerous place by nature. Drowning is a possibility, even for professionals. Always pay attention to powerful ocean currents. Waves are powerful enough to slam you into the ocean floor. A surfboard can become a projectile very quickly, as you can become tangled in your leash. When watching experienced surfers cutting through the water, it’s easy to see surfing as a sport greatly lacking in danger. So, why is surfing dangerous?

Surf Danger

Well, the reasons may surprise you. Surfing should be treated with a great amount of respect and your safety should be a high priority. Perhaps the most obvious danger in surfing is the possibility of drowning.The ocean is a deceptively powerful force and humans are land creatures by nature. We obviously need oxygen to live. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled into thinking that just because you’re a good swimmer that you’re exempt from this danger. Take for example the shocking death of pro big wave surfer Mark Foo who drowned while surfing Mavericks in California when his leash became tangled on the rocks. Riptides and rip currents are another very serious danger in the surfing world. Caused by the shape of the land under and around the water, as well as the rising and falling tides, these powerful currents can sweep a surfer far from the shore very quickly. While waiting for the next break to come in, it’s easy to lose track of where you are and become swept out into the deep ocean. At this point it’s easy to become exhausted, which can result in drowning quite quickly.

Reef/shore breaks

One common danger of surfing relates to the way the waves form. A lot of times, the wave breaks the way it does because the water is shallow and is colliding with rocks and reef formations under the water. If you were to fall off your board while riding a wave, the powerful force of the wave could potentially drive you far below the surface of the water and into the ground below. It is common for this situation to result in major gashes from reefs and rocks. Even soft sand becomes dangerously hard when combined with the weight and speed of a wave. Broken bones are not unheard of. Perhaps the most overlooked danger in surfing is the surfboard itself.

Wipe Out on Danger Surf

Surfboards typically have pointed noses and multiple sharp fins. When a person loses control of their surfboard on a wave, it can quickly become a sharp missile that can cause major damage to anyone in its path. This is a common problem with people first getting into the sport. New surfers typically surf areas overly crowded with other new surfers. With so many people and so little experience, it is often difficult to navigate the chaos. And it’s not just others that you need to worry about. Even when you have the break all to yourself, your own surfboard can quickly become your worst enemy. However, these dangers should in no way discourage you from jumping on your board and paddling out into the waves. Just be aware of the dangers and be prepared to deal with them.


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