How to Get Through a Surfing Wipeout


September 14, 2021

How to Get Through a Surfing Wipeout

A surfing wipeout is the last thing you want to encounter when surfing, but the truth is that there is no way to avoid one. Since you cannot avoid a wipeout, your better option is to learn how to respond to them appropriately. 

Tips for Handling a Surfing Wipeout

The first step is to hold your breath. Next up: Don’t panic. Panicking never solves anything, and it takes away your feelings of being in control, so no matter what—you should do your best to stay calm. When you are stressed, your body will use up more oxygen, which is not where you want to be if you are trapped under waves in the water. 

Next, you should get away from your board when you think you are about to fall. And get as far away as possible. Avoid jumping in front of your board, or you risk hitting your head. If this does happen, you can use your hands to help protect yourself. Helmets are rarely seen among the surfing crowd.

When you do jump, don’t jump as if you are in deep water, or you risk hitting the seabed or anything else under the water hard, leading to injury. Instead, jump as if you would be jumping into shallow water that is just a couple of feet deep. You should also jump butt first as if you are doing a cannonball jump. This will protect your legs, minimizing your chances of spraining an ankle or worse if you hit the seabed too hard. Whatever you do, don’t jump headfirst.

Let yourself sink down to calmer waters beneath the waves, letting them pass by above you. Make sure you assess the bottom before you go in the water in the first place, so you know what to expect below the surface. Use caution when coming back up; your board or another surfer could be above you.

Once you safely break the surface, grab your board and paddle away as soon as you can.

Decreasing Your Chances of Injury

“Safety first” is a good mantra for the surfer. The best way to do this is to avoid paddling out in places that are out of your comfort zone. Be realistic about your abilities.

Next, you should always assess the conditions around you before you get into the water. You should know if there are rocks or reefs below the surface that you can get injured on. You should also know where the rip currents are located.

Be patient. Take as much time as needed to observe the waves and figure out the best timing for your ride. One final rule: Don’t surf in one wave with other surfers who are going in the same direction and that same time.

Plan Your Upcoming Costa Rica Surf Vacation

Contact Surf Synergy to plan your surfing vacation. We have everything you need to enjoy the Costa Rica experience, from surfing and stand-up paddleboarding, to the best accommodations and meals. Take part in our Full Immersion Surf Academy so you can learn how to surf safely. Reach out to us today!

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