Almost every summer, there are news stories about sharks preying upon surfers. In fact, surfing involves risk, but sharks are not usually the problem.
According to Dr. Andrew Nathanson, emergency medicine doctor who specializes in surf related injuries, “collisions are by far the greatest risk to surfers.” Over 55% of all surf accidents involve being struck by your own board and 11% by someone else’s board. An additional 18% are due to impact with the ocean floor.
What can surfers do to limit risk? Develop good wipeout technique!
That’s right, since you are going to fall off your board allot, you need to learn how to do it safely.
There are three things you don’t want to collide with.
- Your own board.
- A rocky bottom.
- Another surfer.
When you fall off your board, you need to be aware of who is around you, where your board is and the texture of ocean floor.
New surfers are sometimes called kooks, sometimes for good reasons. In order to lose this moniker, you need to respect those who are around you in the water and make sure you are staying out of the path of someone else who has already caught a wave. Sounds simple, right? In practice, surf breaks can be crowded and avoiding collisions requires skill, diplomacy, constant awareness of where you are in the surf line up and your place in the meritocracy. Never try to catch a wave that someone else already has already caught.