Regardless of the sport (or just life in general, really), knowing how to fall properly and recover is key to preventing injuries and staying safe.
Knowing how to wipe out the right way will keep you safe, keep others around you safe, and prevent your surfboard from needing repairs.
Here are some of the common dangers of an improper wipe out:
- Dings and broken boards.
- Cuts and broken bones.
- Collisions with others.
How to Wipe Out
Before you get the chance to wipe out, there are some things you can do to keep you safe:
- Be aware of what’s on the bottom (sand, rock, reef, stingrays, etc.) and how shallow the water is.
- Keep track and control of your surfboard at all times.
- Be aware of the other surfers and people in the water.
If you can help it, you should try to maintain control of your surfboard. It’s situations where you can’t do so where you’ll need to know how to fall.
- Stay clear of your surfboard as you fall. You can protect your head and neck with your arms. Be ready to push it away if necessary.
- Wear a surfing helmet if you need to.
- Fall as if the water is extremely shallow.
- Fall feet/butt first. Avoid falling head-first.
- Keep calm and stay loose. Freaking out and tensing up can lead to problems.
- If a collision is likely, aim yourself and your board away from the other person as best as you can.
- Resurface slowly and protect your head to avoid knocking it on your board.
- Get back on your board and out of the impact zone.
- Take some time to catch your breath once you get back out.
The more comfortable and relaxed you are wiping out, the safer you’ll be and the faster you’ll progress.