Beginner Safety

Surfing safely is important.  As a beginner, safety rules will help you prevent serious injuries to yourself and others.  Below is a list of safety tips – again as with the rules of etiquette, read these, then read them again. Maybe then read them 5 more times

  • Always ask lifeguards what the water conditions are like before you go into the water.  It is important for you to do this until you are experienced enough to spot rip currents and learn how the weather affects your beach.  A rip current is a small, stream or current that pulls one out to the lineup.
  • Always surf with a buddy – You never know when you will need their help
  • Make sure that you are a good swimmer.  The ocean is very dangerous and much different than a swimming pool. You should be able to swim a few hundred yards at least.
  • Have good cardio fitness. In addition to swimming, you should have good cardio. You should be able to easily run for 15 minutes without taking a break.
  • If you are caught in a rip current make sure you relax.  These will only take you out to the line up (just beyond where the waves break).  If you need to swim out of it and you are not on your surfboard, try to swim parallel towards breaking waves and try to ride a wave in to shore.  If you are in trouble, call for help and wave your hand but remember to stay relaxed and let the rip take you to the breaking waves.  Rips are not under toe and there is no such thing as undertow that pulls you under the water, the current will not drag you under. Experienced surfers use rip currents to their advantage to get out to the line up quicker. 
  • Avoid swimming right next to a jetty or pier in rougher surf as you can get seriously injured if the current drags you into a rock or other object.
  • Only surf in areas that match your ability. Do not try to surf in 4 foot waves if cannot surf them.  Waves appear bigger in the water than they look from the shore. Wave height is measured by the buoy reading or back of the waves, not the face.  A one foot wave may have a 2 foot face or greater.
  • If there is a storm and the waves are big, this is probably a good time for you to go to the beach to WATCH and learn. Do not paddle out into big surf if you are new to surfing.