If you are thinking about surfing, know that you’ll discover a fun and addictive sport. As soon as you stand on your board for the first time you feel a joy that is hard to explain.
Surfing is considered a safe sport, but as in all sports involving the ocean, you should follow some rules to not put yourself at risk.
1. If you are just starting out in surfing, never enter the water alone.
This point is very important and, for this reason, is one of the first points that we teach in our surf lessons.
Try to surf with someone who has a higher surfing level than you, who knows the spot well, and who will help you evolve.
At this stage, when you start surfing with a friend or relative, you should already know how to be safely in the water with your board.
2. Know the spot where you are going to surf.
Try to know where the rocks, channels and currents are. Ask your surf buddy, lifeguard, or staff from a surf shop near the spot.
There may be a swimming area that you can’t enter with your board, as you could hurt someone swimming or playing there.
This “homework” is very important to keep you safe and get the most out of your surf session.
Know the conditions of the spot before you travel. Check the tide, wind or swell at beachcam.meo.pt/livecams/ or magicseaweed.com. Here you have this information and you can also see the conditions live from the spot webcam.
3. If you are tired, get out of the water.
As soon as you feel tired or insure, choose to get out of the water.
When this happens, it becomes increasingly difficult for you to respond in a more demanding situation. Go back to the beach, rest, drink water and recharge your energy.
Once you feel better, get back in the water.
4. The current.
If the current catches up with you, don’t waste your energy fighting your way towards the beach, try to calmly get out on the easier side. Usually within a few meters you can get out of the current and back to a place where you can get back to the beach.
You can take advantage of the help of the white wash to get back to the beach.
5. Leash, always!
The leash, the rope attached to your foot that connects you to your board, is your best friend: you are in the ocean, with just your board and you cannot lose it.
Don’t forget that this equipment is what prevents your board from being thrown against other surfers or away from you, to the point of literally leaving you swimming in the middle of the ocean.
6. Jumping off the board.
You’ve done your homework and you already know if there are rocks or other obstacles at the bottom of the spot you have chosen to surf, however, when you finish to surf a wave you may be in a shallow spot, so never jump head first or directly with your feet, these movements are some of the reasons for most surfing injuries.
Try to jump off the board horizontally, so that your body absorbs the impact while still above the water without letting you hit bottom.
7. Caught in the wave.
When you are caught in the middle of a wave, your board will be thrown in any direction, so protect your head with your arms from the moment you fall in until you come back up to the surface.
8. Respect priority.
When you first start surfing it’s hard to see who is in the best position to catch the wave. To begin with, don’t get on the wave if someone else has already got on. It could be dangerous to get in the way of another surfer and could be seen as disrespectful.
If it happens, and it is normal that it happens without you wanting it to, apologize or make some sign so that whoever was on the wave understands that it was not on purpose.
In the water, we should always maintain a good vibe with the others!
9. Choose the most suitable conditions for your level.
In sport we always try to exceed our limits, to do more and better than last time.
However, you must always keep those limits in mind. Don’t go into the ocean without feeling safe or without things under control.
Choosing days with very big waves, for which you are not yet prepared, can lead you to a bad experience or put you in danger.
10. Storms, stay home.
Surfing in the rain is OK, it is true. The same cannot be said of surfing on days with lightning and thunder, that’s a very different story.
Lightning can kill, and being in the water in the middle of a storm is not safe at all.
Get out of the water and go home, or if you haven’t left home yet, forget about surfing that day. Don’t put yourself in danger.
These are just 10 tips to keep you safe when surfing.
At Arrifana Surf School we advise you to take at least a couple of lessons until you feel safe, aware of the dangers and rules in the water, so that you can have fun and be part of this incredible world that is surfing.