How to Survive a Surfing Wipeout like a Pro
No matter if you are a new surfer or a seasoned veteran, preparing for a surfing wipeout is one of the most important steps for staying safe and having a good time in the water. Preparing for a wipeout means having the right gear, knowledge, and skills.
Knowing the right way to fall off the board, the right way to get back on the board, and even which safety devices to have on hand are all essential elements of successful wipeout preparation.
Learn proper surfing techniques
Learning the proper techniques for surfing can help keep you safe before and during a wipeout. You should learn to anticipate potential wipeouts before they occur, which will help you prepare for the situation. To avoid panic when caught in a wave, take a few precautions:
- Keep your footing on the board – try to stay above the lip of the wave while it’s breaking
- Bend your knees – this will help you keep contact with your board and reduce drag in the water
- Hold onto your board – if you can grab onto your board as soon as you sense trouble, it may help keep it with you through the wipeout
- Go with the flow – it’s important to remember that waves move forward, so try swimming in that direction
- Don’t panic – while being held underwater by a wave can be daunting, remember to remain calm and conserve energy until the surf retreats
By learning good techniques, reading surf reports and watching for signs that indicate rough surf, novice surfers can avoid getting caught off guard in a potentially dangerous situation.
Wear the right protective gear
When preparing coffee and using grinder machines and thermoses, it’s important to ensure safety by wearing protective wear such as aprons, face masks and eye protection. The dust emitted while grinding can be dangerous in enclosed spaces, so make sure to wear all safety gear. This will also help prevent any accidental spillages or scalding from the thermoses.
In addition to protective clothing, it’s helpful to learn the basics of using each machine or tool you’ll come across at a cafe or even at home. Grinders require a specific number of turns for each cup of grounds required and thermoses should be securely closed after each use to avoid potential dangers or injuries. With the right knowledge and precautionary tools in place, you can start making expertly crafted coffee drinks in no time.
Practice falling off your board
One of the best ways to prepare for a wipeout is to practice falling off your board. Get used to the feeling of being in the water and learn how to properly fall off the board. This helps you avoid further injury and become comfortable while performing this sometimes intimidating act.
Practicing falling off your board starts with bobbling around in shallow water, or knee deep in a whitewater beach break. As you progress, move into waist deep water until you can fall off your surfboard no matter what kind of wave is breaking. There are several techniques that come in handy when trying this maneuver:
- Push away from your board – When hit by an unexpected wave, try pushing away from your board instead of resisting it or trying to hold onto it as it dives downwards. Release your bindings before pushing away so you don’t try and lift too much weight when push-offing.
- Turn toward the oncoming wave – Instead of panicking when the wave hits, try turning towards it so you can better read incoming waves and prepare for a clean fall. This will help minimize any physical impact from hard falls as well as ensure quick reflexive action every time a wave appears on your horizon.
- Tuck in tight – Before lifting out from underneath and pushing against the current, do your best to curl up tight into an armchair shaped pose and activate all core muscles before bracing for impact with the ocean’s surface or whatever lies beneath it! Keep arms close to chest during a wipeout allows one to stay afloat longer and reduces any potential scrapes on coral or rocky beaches should they exist beneath where you are wiping out!
By understanding these basics, splashdowns can become much less intimidating whether they are caused by blown turns or rolling barrels that unexpectedly shelf themselves out over shallow reef bottoms which don’t allow enough room for easy escape!
Spotting a Wipeout
As a beginning surfer, the most important skill to have is the ability to spot a wipeout before it happens. Knowing when to duck and when to get ready for a plunge is essential to surviving a wipeout like a pro. Learning the signs of a wipeout can help you prepare to either get ready for a big wave or to duck and hold your breath when necessary.
Let’s look at some of the cues that can help you spot a wipeout before it happens:
Identify the signs of an upcoming wipeout
If you’re a surfer, then you know that wipeouts can happen at any time. Serious injuries can occur if you are not familiar with the process of recognizing a wipeout before it occurs. It’s important to remain vigilant and act on the signs of an impending wipeout before they become full-blown failures. Here are a few of the key signs to watch out for when trying to recognize whether a wipeout is coming:
- Unusual Wave Size: When you spot unusual wave sizes or shapes, there’s a good chance that soon after the wave will become too big, overwhelming your board and causing a wipeout. Pay attention to any rapid changes in wave size or shape as this often indicates an upcoming unstoppable force of nature.
- Increase In Speed: An increase in speed usually results from stronger swells coming closer together, indicating an unusual pattern ahead which will likely cause your board to fail in no time as it cannot keep up with the power of nature anymore.
- Too Many Rides: If you’ve managed too many rides without falling off then it might indicate that the waves have tamed down and will eventually force your board into submission by wiping you out sooner or later if not leaving quickly enough! So be seasoned enough to know when it’s time for a break until more challenging waves arrive!
- Poor Navigation: Poor navigation is another reason why many surfers suffer from wipeouts. Make sure you always know where exactly ocean currents, reefs and sandbars are situated as these can all result in unseaworthy paths for your board leading up to inevitable consequences.
Being able to recognize these signs may save you from suffering an unwanted crash and help prepare for safer surfing days ahead!
Prepare yourself for the fall
Before you take off on your surfboard, it is important to prepare yourself and assess the situation. Recognize any hazards in the area, and make sure to give other surfers plenty of space. Scout out spots where it would be safe to prepare yourself for an emergency. If you fall off your board, look for a shallow area with no reef or jagged rocks – this will help reduce the chances of injury.
When you’re ready, dive into the water and get used to swimming in bigger waves before catching a wave. Practice somersaults and back flips underwater to become comfortable with being upside down underwater – these things can help you get used to being thrown around. Next, find an area that gives less impact from sharp objects like rocks if a wipeout does happen as it’s common for a surfer’s legs and hands to be scraped while they try to re-position themselves in big waves.
Finally, pay attention when attempting maneuvers that may push you past your comfort zone – stay calm and focused so that you can best react if something unexpected happens during a wipeout. Mentally preparedness is key, so don’t beat yourself up after a failed attempt – focus on safely getting back in control before moving onto another wave!
During the Wipeout
When you are caught in a wipeout, there are a few steps you can take to make sure that you get out of it safe and sound:
- First and foremost, it is important to remain calm and to not panic.
- Let the energy of the wave pass you by and stay relaxed as you go through the motion.
- Being aware of your surroundings also helps, so that you can keep an eye out for your leash and board, in case you become separated from them.
Remain calm and try to relax
When you are thrown off your board, the most important thing is to remain level-headed. Anxiety can creep in quickly in such a panicked situation, but if you stay calm you can focus on rescue and getting back to shore safely.
One technique that can help is focusing on your breathing: take long, deep breaths until you gain composure and a clearer idea of what needs to be done. The flotation properties of wetsuits support the body while also providing insulation, so they are beneficial when finding your way back to safety.
While waiting for help from a lifeguard or trained rescuer, keep the arms at shoulder level in front of the body with palms down and focus on not exerting too much energy by making sure all movements are slow and controlled – do not thrash about!
Keep your head above water
Surfing wipeouts can be intimidating, especially for inexperienced surfers. When you find yourself suddenly being tumbled underwater by the force of a wave, it’s easy to panic and lose your sense of direction. But with some preparation and knowledge of the basics, you can greatly reduce your chances of ending up injured or worse. Here are some tips to help you stay safe when you’re caught in a wipeout:
- Keep your head above water: Consciously focus on keeping your head out of the water as much as possible so that you can take a few deep breaths and keep clear headed during the wave’s turbulence.
- Guard yourself against impact: When it seems like you’re about to land on something underwater like coral or rocks, quickly tuck your chin into your chest, arch your back and cross both arms in front of yourself with hands outstretched towards the force of the land or reef surface. This will help protect major organs from impact as much as possible.
- Grab onto something: If an object is within reach while being swept away by an ocean current (a buoy line, rock etc.), hold onto it so that you don’t get pulled out too far or flipped around by an unexpected surge.
- Stay relaxed: Without panicking, do everything possible to stay near the surface until waves quiet down and you have room to safely paddle yourself back towards shore.
Swim away from the impact zone
Once you have taken a wipeout, it is important to stay above the surface in order to make sure you have enough breath. After that, it is time to swim away from the impact zone. The impact zone is the area of water where waves are most likely to break, typically near a break. It can be dangerous as it can cause dangerous rips and strong currents that could take you further out into the ocean.
So, it is important to determine which way is towards shore and paddle away as you would ride a wave in with your hands and arms. It is important not to stand up as this may cause another wave to hit you or attract a board or body boarder or another surfer’s attention who could potentially hit you with their board.
- Remain calm,
- stay safe, and
- try swimming further in towards shore before attempting to stand up again.
After the Wipeout
Once you find yourself tumbling underwater after a wake and feeling the power of the ocean, it’s important to remember a few things that will help you survive the wipeout like a pro. By understanding the steps you should take after the wipeout, you can help yourself survive and answer the question of how to survive a surfing wipeout.
Let’s review the steps you should take after a wipeout:
Take a few moments to catch your breath
It can be tempting to just jump right back in the water after you experience a wipeout. It’s important, however, that you take a few moments first to catch your breath and assess the situation. A wipeout often leaves surfers feeling frazzled and it can also leave them with scrapes or bruises from being pulled underwater.
Before attempting another wave, take time to ensure that you are not physically injured and that your mental state is still in tact.
Once you have checked that everything is okay physically and mentally, you can slowly work your way back into the lineup. Start slowly by something easy like a whitewater wave or smaller unbroken ones until your confidence returns. Taking slow breaths will help reduce feelings of anxiety, while staying positive and focusing on the present moment will help keep fears at bay as well. If possible, give yourself a few extra minutes of rest between waves to build up your stamina as well as help relax further any lingering tensions remaining within your body. When ready, get back out there!
Don’t panic and stay focused
After a wipeout, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and panicked. It’s important to take a deep breath and focus on assessing the situation at hand. First and foremost, check yourself for any immediate injuries; if you feel any pain, it is important to get medical attention right away.
Don’t react right away—it’s best in these situations for you to assess what has happened first. Take some breaths and mentally run through the incident before moving on—this can help you process your emotions and better understand what has happened. If there were other people with you during the fall, check on them to make sure everyone is okay. Don’t feel pressured to continue surfing if you don’t want to; prioritizing safety is more important than trying to defy your fear.
It is also helpful when coming back from a wipeout or fall of any kind (not just in surfing) is talking about it with someone afterwards—whether that be friends, family or another surfer who understands what could have gone wrong or better yet, what could have gone right. It can be surprising how much insight others can have into a situation—everyone has different experiences and techniques when dealing with unexpected events such as wipeouts!
Swim back to shore safely
If you find yourself wiped out in the surf, don’t panic. Remain calm and take the following steps to make it back to safety:
- Get your bearings and orient yourself. Look around and find out where the shoreline is, or where other surfers are going. Take note of any rip currents or other dangers in the water before you start swimming.
- Once you have identified a safe route back to shore, begin swimming with a strong but sustainable freestyle stroke. Keep your legs slightly bent and propel yourself through the water with strong clean kicks. Your arms should sweep out wide, pull through the water past your hip line, then exit cleanly at your side after each stroke cycle has been completed.
- Take frequent breaks if necessary by floating lightly on your back with your head up and mouth above water level for supported breathing (remember to exhale completely for maximum oxygen intake). If you feel fatigued, focus on floating with deeply relaxed breath instead of struggling to keep afloat as this will help conserve energy levels until you reach pick-up again from friends or lifeguard surveillance team members on duty further down the beach front area if required.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are some tips on how to survive a surfing wipeout?
A. Surfing wipeouts can be intimidating and even dangerous. Here are some tips on how to survive a wipeout:
- Stay calm. Panicking can make it harder to recover from the fall.
- Hold onto your board, as it can help you get back to the surface.
- Keep your feet up and swim with your head facing up, so you don’t get caught in the wave.
- If you get caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of it.
Q. What should I do if I get caught in a big wave?
A. If you get caught in a big wave, it’s important to stay calm and stay near your board. Try to angle your body so that the wave passes over you, rather than pushing you deeper underwater. If you feel yourself being pulled underwater, make sure you keep your feet up and swim with your head facing up. This will help you stay afloat and keep you from getting pulled into the wave.
Q. What equipment do I need for surfing?
A. The basic equipment you need for surfing includes a surfboard, a leash to attach you to the board, and a wetsuit. You may also want to consider a surf helmet, booties, and other protective gear. If you are a beginner, you may want to invest in a soft-top board, which is more stable and easier to balance on.