The most important aspect of surfing is being safe! The ocean is one of the most powerful and unpredictable forces on the planet. To have an enjoyable time while surfing, it’s essential that you follow a few simple guidelines to keep yourself and those around you as safe from harm as possible.
- Know the weather.
The ocean can be very unpredictable, but that’s not to say that it can’t be predicted ever. Studying the weather and weather patterns at your local break or at your travel destination are necessary to assess when and where you should get into the water, or whether you should at all. You need to understand how and why the ocean acts the way it does. Knowing the currents, typical marine life, and daily weather can make your surfing experience that much better. It’s no fun to get caught in a strong current and dragged under a pier, or get caught out in the lineup when the waves suddenly get five feet bigger. Knowing when winds and tides will change can tell you when to be out in the water to get clean, safe waves versus getting trapped in a windy, white-capping disaster.
- Learn how to swim well and stay fit.
This is pretty obvious but nevertheless, very important, and it is something that I have seen beginning surfers ignore. Knowing how to swim is ESSENTIAL to surfing. You will inevitably fall off of our board at some point, and you need to be able to keep your head above water and get back to your board when it does happen. Being able to tread water is not the same as being able to swim. If you get caught in a rip current or in breaking waves, you need to have the strength and skill get out of it. Some good recommendations for ways to stay fit for surfing in addition to swimming are long-distance cycling and jumping rope.
- Accept your actual skill level and abilities.
The more you surf, the more you are probably going to want to test your limits. That is typical and awesome with any sport or skill. The longer you’re on your board, the more you are going to want to surf bigger and better waves. But you need to know when the current ocean and wave conditions are too big and too powerful for your current skill and fitness level. No matter what damage it does to your ego, that means that to keep yourself and those around you safe, you may have to keep your board in your truck and just sit and watch if the waves are too big. If you go out into conditions that are too much for you, you put other people in danger, and that’s not fair to them. If you follow your intuition and the knowledge you have about the area, you’ll be able to make the right decision!
These three basic principles are things we consider first and foremost at Sunset Surf Camp. Your safety and enjoyment are our top priority! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Happy Surfing!