A common surfer is more likely to suffer from a strain on the kneecap than a stone thrown by an irate local defending his favorite surf spot. These injuries however don’t prevent a passionate wave rider from coming back again and again to the waters.
Surfing injuries, ranging from slight (strains, chafing and gashes, dehydration) to chronic (broken bones, torn ligaments and lacerations) can occur any time in a surfer’s life.
Wondering how to prevent surf injuries in your busy ocean schedule? Below are vital tips on how to easily avoid bruises, cuts, and scrapes while on the board.
1. Forget The Grapevines and Surf At Your Limit
So many times, you want to use a shorter board because this is what the pros are grabbing from the rack. Stick to what you are comfortable with. If you can’t pull off tricks from the face of the wave, don’t despair, wait for the right time when you will have toned your muscles to it.
If you are going for a 3 to 5 hour surf nonstop, it is important that you drink plenty of water before heading to the ocean to keep your body hydrated. A balanced diet will also ensure that your body gets all the energy it requires to add that length to your muscle, for better pumping, as you ride the waves.
If you are a little under the weather and feel like you need assistance to catch the waves, ask a friend to accompany you to the sea. Responsible surfers find that a simple list of emergency numbers, mainly police hotline, ambulance, physiotherapist, or the local massage parlors can discard the panic that would otherwise develop in case of an injury in the wide waters.
Sometimes, it is also important to hire a guide especially if you are not quite familiar with the waterfront. Get someone who knows the area well and one who has some experience in surfing. Such an individual can show you the best spots to surf and those that should be avoided.
2. Warm Up Your Muscles To It
If you intend to crack how to prevent surf injuries in future, start now by being ready for each surf. Warm up to it by doing basic movements targeting the body parts most likely to go haywire through surfing, specifically the hips, shoulders, and knees. These parts are in constant use to keep a surfer on the surfboard.
Looking forward to an increase in your flexibility?
Combine squats and push-ups, weights and lunges, lifts and push press. Such combinations ensure that most beneficial muscles to surfing are well warmed to the task ahead. These key exercises done before and after each surf session can improve your flexibility and help you make quick turns with ease without straining your lower back, hips, or knees.
If you really don’t fell like having a workout, go for a more exotic massage, though you still got to find some way of improving the strength of your core and bum muscles.
3. Yearn For More With Yoga
Ever wondered how a surfer can pick from wave to wave, with barely any time to recover, and yet retain balance and flexibility on the board?
The secret is in harmonizing movement and deep breathing by trying out yoga excercises exercises. If you want to take those breathtaking moves with ease, all your muscles need to get the much needed oxygen in order to convert food into energy. You need this energy to fight those swells.
You also need to be more flexible on the board and there is no better way to increase flexibility of each of those muscles than taking yoga classes. Being stretchy will enable you to pull even the most dangerous stunts without straining your muscles.
4. Gear Up Properly
A key thing in learning how to prevent surf injuries is to use a surfboard with a nose guard to prevent laceration caused by knocks from own board and avoid injuring other surfers. Simply donning a rash guard can prevent those ugly slides from an unstable ride on the board.
A surf bikini or a board short can be fun when surfing on normal temperatures, but if you want to avoid chest problems related to cold after a good workout in the cold breeze, a wetsuit could be a better option.
Get a sunscreen too to avoid those UV rays from damaging your skin. A nice pair of sunglasses, especially those with polarized lenses will also keep your eyes protected from the direct UV light. Want to maintain a clear vision even in the middle of an accident like a wipeout? Bring some swim goggles.
Surfers about to face the large waves also get cozy with leashes on their ankles lest they lose their surfboard in the middle of a wipeout. Such barrages of water run a risk of messing with the ears. A good pair of earplugs will protect you against the surfer’s ear as well.
5. Don’t Be A Wake-Up Call For Sharks
Large and fearsome are the sharks, striking horror to every seaman.
You don’t want to be the one to call them for free lunch by going for a surf with an open wound. Furthermore, any wound becomes worse if subjected to more strains. Better to allow the natural healing by bed rests. You will not only focus better on your next surf, but will be more careful.
But if you are still dying to ride that wave, cover your wound properly before hitting the beach. Bring some shark repellents too. This is the only way to make sure that you are not sharks’ next meal.
6. Ride On Good Etiquette
Surfers believe in one surfer one wave. The idea of two surfers sharing a wave is not always an exciting affair for most wave riders.
Globo Surf Overview
Wave riders cannot avoid being on the harm way, because there are numerous hazards along the way. But going through the above guide can help them learn how to prevent surf injuries and have an enjoyable moment with the waters.
If you are new to surfing but still want to go back home uninjured, get proper training. Being surf fit and preparing properly for the surf will also reduce injuries associated with speed and carelessness. Additionally practicing yoga will improve your flexibility, balance, and coordination. That way, you are less likely to get injured and able to maintain calm when harmed.
- Surfing-Preventing Injury, betterhealth.vic.gov.au