Advice by Sport
Let's just clear one thing up to start with: Avoiding "wipeouts" when surfing is almost impossible! So you might as well do what you can to make them less painful and, most importantly, always surf as safely as possible. This surfing guide gives you some tips on how to prepare for your wipeouts!
In addition to giving you a good scare, a wipeout when surfing can be dangerous not only for you but also for other surfers.
Being able to identify the risks will help you to react well if you find yourself in a critical situation. Here are some of the main risks to try to avoid during a wipeout:
Wipe out onto your equipment
The tail, fins and rails are the most dangerous parts of your surfboard in the event of a collision. Wear a helmet!
Colliding with another surfer
If there are lots of people in the water, watch out for your surfboard and particularly for other people's. There is a high risk of collision. Keep your distance!
The washing machine
Depending on the size and power of the wave, you could get thrown towards the seabed and shaken around in all directions in the ""washing machine"". Stay calm...
Wipeouts are often due to a lack of concentration during take-off.
When paddling, you may find that when you stand up on the board, you are already at the top of the lip, ready to fall off. The wave may have quickly hollowed out and suddenly become very steep.
Maybe you started too late! In this case, it is better to go back to square one to avoid any damage.
You will quickly realise how important it is to analyse the waves at a spot before you go for it. Don't feel stressed: making mistakes is how you learn and improve!
Was the fall unavoidable? Here are some good habits to get into, so that your time underwater goes without a hitch.
— When you fall, protect your head with your hands;
— If you are not too sure of yourself, and to prevent your board from hitting other surfers (hoping that they will do the same!), try to find an open area to throw yourself in!
— Dive, then swim underwater until the wave has passed;
— Do not panic underwater, even if you are disoriented from being in a spin cycle! Stay calm and think of something nice (your last holiday, your favourite cake, etc.) to help you hold your breath;
— Keep your eyes open so that you can see what is going on. In this way, you will be able to see the bottom, the surface or your board;
- Pull on your leash and/or look for light in order to return to the surface in peace of mind.
There are, however, some "preventive" actions that can reduce the risk of wiping out. Here are five tips to keep in mind once in the water:
1 — Get off the wave when you see that it is closing out. Lie on the back of the board while keeping the front out of the water. You will then be able to ride the foam and glide out of the impact zone;
2 — Carefully observe the spot and the wave formation before entering the water;
3 — Do not surf waves that are too big for your level of proficiency;
4 — Get out of the water when you feel tired;
5 — Stay focused and hydrate yourself to avoid injury.