Staying safe in the sea is SUPER important and when you have a surf lesson with Beach Shack Surf School our Instructors will always go through the safety elements of surfing.
We thought it would be useful to write a blog so that after your lesson you feel confident to venture out without us and still stay safe.
So there are some key points to remember when going surfing to help you stay safe and also to not be a risk to other water users.
1. Location and time: If you do decide to go surfing alone, which we would not recommend, but if you are going to a life guarded beach that’s ok, but if you are going alone, tell someone where you are going and what time you will be returning (roughly). Text them just before you go in and when you get out.
2. Wetsuit: Make sure you have a good fitting suit and it is going to keep you warm enough, you don’t want to be getting so cold you start losing concentration and making poor decisions. These are signs of hypothermia, so if you feel really cold and a bit away with the fairies, get out and get warm!
3. Lifeguards: Surf at a Life guarded beach: the RNLI patrol hundreds of beaches across the country between 10am and 6pm, usually from Easter time or May if it is a less popular beach. Surf between the black and white flags and never go out if you see a red flag flying as this means it is dangerous.
Speak to the lifeguards, they are really helpful, especially if you have never been there before. They will give you advice on the conditions and where is best to go.
There will also be a board with information about tide times, temperature and conditions which is always really useful to know.
4. Warm up: Even if it is a bit of a jog, rolling your shoulders and stretching your neck DO IT!! It will help you prepare yourself for surfing physically and mentally and help to prevent injury. Just jog down to the beach, circle your arms both directions and stretch out your neck. If you have time and the patience do a full warm up like you do with us at Beach Shack Surf School, but we totally understand you just want to get in there!!
5. Leash: Always wear a leash when learning to surf, check it before going out by pulling it at the board end and ankle end. Put it on before going in and keep it on until you are back on the beach. Your leash is connected to a float basically, so worse case you have something to hold on to.
6. Hold onto your board: When walking out into the waves remember to point the nose (the front) of the board into the waves, hold it either side in the middle and really push it through the white water.
7. Turning your board: So you have got to the perfect place to catch some waves. Turn your board towards the beach in the direction so that it is between you and the beach and you have ‘out to sea’ behind you. If a wave hits you when you are side on to the board, the board will be in front of you and is much less likely to hit you.
8. Position: Know your limits, don’t go out further than you feel comfortable, waist depth is the ideal place to learn to surf as you can turn your board easily and get on it when you see a wave coming.
9. Hold your board: Again KNOW YOUR LIMITS.... if you can’t hold onto your board when waiting for a wave or walking/paddling out, then it is too big for you. NEVER let go of your board (sometimes impossible) but don't abandon it and dive under waves, it is at much more risk to you and others if it is flying around on its own!
10. Cover your head: When you fall off your board cover your head, even if you are using a soft board. It is a good habit to get into for when you start using a hard board and even foam boards can hurt a bit. Protect that noggin of yours!!
11. Fall flat: When you come off your board, try and fall flat, DO NOT DIVE OFF! You will probably be falling off in shallow water so falling flat will reduce the risk of hurting yourself.
12. Space: Give yourself and others space. There are lots of rules and surf etiquette to surfing which we highly recommend you look into, but simply don’t catch a wave if someone else is already on it, or if there is someone in front of you and try to position yourself in a bit of space to start.
Surfing is an awesome activity and you will have loads of fun, so just keep yourself and others safe by using these pointers and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch, we are happy to help!!
ENJOY THE WAVES AND STAY SAFE!!!!!!!!