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Surfing-related injuries and surf safety

Date Added: April 05, 2011 05:48:27 AM
Author: Devendra
Category: Travel & Tourism

Surfing is a non-contact sport that is relatively injury-safe comparing to team sports like rugby or football or extreme individual sports like rock-climbing. However, it does have its own specifics and there are certain risks associated with it.

You are often in deep water with various marine organisms surrounding you, the paddling moves are repetitive and put strain on specific body parts and the sun’s UV-light exposure is often intense. Also, there is a danger of hitting yourself in the ocean floor or cliffs on some cliff breaks. Last but not the least, one of the most common surfing-related injuries sources are from contact with another surfer/surfboard, mainly the sharp fins of someone’s board as you duck-dive a wave. Hence, one needs to be careful when surfing in a relatively crowded area with many surfers around.

Before you head in the water and start surfing, it is always the best idea to warm up well, use a good water-resistant sunscreen and familiarize yourself with the conditions. Especially when you are on surf boat charter, ask the on-board Surfing Guide about the local conditions so you minimize the paddling time to wrong spots. Good warm-up will also decrease the risk of injuring yourself when performing various moves during take-offs, sharp turns and tube-riding maneuvers. Quality 30+ or stronger sunscreen is a must as you are exposed to stronger levels of sunlight than you are on the ground! Make sure that the sunscreen is water-resistant for the duration of the surf session, not only at the beginning.

Having an idea about the ocean floor topography also helps to decrease the injury risk. The areas with sand bottoms, like parts of Brazil, report much lower injury rates than areas with terrain of reef/coral. Therefore, when surfing any kind of a reef brake, a surfer has to be particularly cautious and not surf breaks that are above his/her ability. If someone gets pulled into the face of the wave and consequently pushed up and around the wave, one might get dumped into the breakers above the reef, potentially hitting it. The reef cuts can often be severe and wounds need to be treated/disinfected urgently as potential for infections is large.

Surfing with crowds is another potentially hazardous situation as surfboards have developed into sharper tools, mainly the nose, fins and rail. With many people in the water, a surfer often needs to duck-dive a wave to give way to a surfer that was the first on it. They both need to be extra cautious not to collide as the scenarios can be pretty bad, with severe cuts, concussions or fractures waiting to happen.

While shark attacks are more famous than they are frequent, there are other marine creatures that one needs to be aware of, mainly jellyfish, stingrays and fish. Especially when one surfs in boardies only, the body is exposed to marine life and stings or collisions can occur.

Protection Always have insurance organized for your trip! It is absolutely essential, as at a relatively small cost, you eliminate nasty surprises and expensive consequences. Do not forget to include good quality water-resistant sunscreen and sunglasses in your luggage to protect your eyes and skin. Make sure you have a first-aid kit organized, or check whether the resort/boat has it ready. When surfing, stick to the etiquette and respect the rights of other surfers and you will avoid most collisions. Consume lots of water during your holiday. Do not let beginners and children surf alone. Use quality and correct equipment. For more information related to Perfect wave, Surf Travel, Surfing injury; Surf holiday, Surf Vacation. Please visit:- http://www.theperfectwave.com.au/