Tips for dealing with surfing hazards

standing man riding the waves on a surf boad

Surfing is great fun but like all activities in nature, there are a few hazards. Here are some things to be aware of and some tips to keep you out of trouble.

When you take surf lessons South Australia with Surf and Sun, we help you to be more aware of these hazards including how to get out of rips.

  • Have a plan before you enter the water
  • Surf at lifeguard patrolled beaches or with an experienced surfer (or where Surf & Sun do their surf lessons - all instructors hold surf rescue certificates)
  • Know how to spot and get out of a rip current
  • Display good surfing etiquette
  • A big surfboard and small spilling waves equals to a surf success, so avoid catching dumping (or plunging) waves in shallow water
  • Respect and avoid the impact zone
  • Be sun smart: be aware that in less than 20 minutes you can get seriously sun-burnt and continued sun exposure over decades has lead to the Australian population achieving the highest rates of skin cancer cases in the world.
  • Always put on sunscreen and/or zinc cream 20 minutes before you go out into the sun and remember it does wear off, so put more on every 2 hours.
  • If you are wearing board shorts or bikini bottoms remember to put sun cream on the back of your legs as they are fully exposed to the sun when you are lying on your surfboard and paddling around in the surf. Wear a hat and sunglasses.

Be mindful of safety - here are some dangers and surf etiquette tips etc.

  • Dangers: Rips, rocks, and other riders
  • Surf conditions: Wind, swell, and tide
  • Using Landmarks
  • Wipe Outs and Safe Dismounts
  • Surf Etiquette
  • Start out catching whitewater waves
  • Know your surfing limits
  • Find a spot to surf away from other surfers
  • Paddle out to the line up in the channels or away from other surfers
  • Don't bail your surfboard
  • Wait for your turn
  • Don't drop in
  • Don't snake other surfers
  • Try your best to catch your wave, or its back to the end of the queue
  • If you are riding a bigger board, don't take advantage of your increased paddle power
  • Try not to create an instant crowd by surfing in large groups

Beach Safety Hints: - Swim between the red and yellow flags. They will only be out on the weekends in summer at Chiton Rocks, Port Elliot, or Goolwa.

  • Read and obey all warning signs. We put them there for a reason!
  • If you are unsure of the conditions, ask a surf lifesaver.
  • If you can’t see a lifesaver, don’t go in the water if you are uncertain.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Always swim under supervision if inexperienced in surf conditions.
  • If you get into difficulty, stay calm, float and raise one arm to signal for help.
  • Never run and dive into the water, even if you checked conditions earlier
  • Wave and tide conditions can change quickly.
  • Learn how to spot a rip and keep clear of it. A rip can be recognized by sandy coloured or rippled water running out to sea, when the water on either side is generally cleaner. The waves may also be larger and breaking further out to sea on both sides of the rip.
  • Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For more tips and tricks, ask the friendly team at Surf & Sun.