Staying safe in open water

21 April, 2023

beach safety

Water safety when surfing is paramount. Before entering the water, surfers should assess the conditions, such as the size and power of the waves, the temperature of the water, the current, and any potential hazards.

The best water temperature for surfing typically varies depending on the comfort level of the individual surfer. Generally, South Australian water temperatures range between 13 degrees in winter and up to 20 degrees in summer.

Surfing in poor water conditions can be dangerous and should be avoided. Poor water conditions can include strong currents, large waves, debris and pollution, and marine life. To ensure safety, surfers should always check the local conditions before entering the water. Additionally, they should have the proper safety equipment and knowledge of the local area. Finally, it’s important to never surf alone, especially in poor water conditions.

Generally, the best surfing conditions occur when there is a large swell, with medium-sized waves breaking evenly and consistently. Under these conditions, the waves will have a large face, allowing for more manoeuvring and speed. Offshore winds can also create ideal surfing conditions, as they help to shape and hold up the face of the wave.

Current conditions for surfing can vary depending on the location, but in general you will want to check for the following:
• Wave height and swell direction
• Water temperature
• Wind speed and direction
• Weather forecast
• Beach/water safety and hazards
• Tide times and currents

When in the water, surfers in South Australia generally always wear a wetsuit. They should use caution when paddling out and avoid paddling into big sets of waves. If a surfer gets into trouble, they should raise their hand to signal for help and remain calm.

Surfers should also stay away from rocks, reefs, and other hazards, and never surf alone. They should keep a close eye on their fellow surfers and provide assistance if necessary. It is important to be aware of other water traffic, such as boats and jet skis, and to be respectful of their space.

Finally, surfers should never underestimate the power of the ocean and always stay within their skill level.

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