It's really important to have a basic understanding of all the safety elements associated with surfing before getting in the water.

It's an all too common occurrence to have inexperienced surfers pulled from the water by lifeguards. The ocean can be a dangerous place even for the most experienced of people and it's a sad fact but every year we hear of surfers losing their lives to the sea.

Thankfully this remains rare and learning to surf and enjoying time in the ocean can be a life changing experience which can be time spent safely if common sense and a few basic rules are followed.

Doug Surf Safety

Dougs Top Surf Safety Tips

The type of person who might benefit from Surf coaching from Doug could be:

  1. Someone who would love be able to catch a wave, with their body or with a board!
  2. Anyone who would like to give surfing a go but is reluctant to join a surf school for any reason and wants one on one tuition.
  3. Anyone who is already surfing but feels they can do it better.
  4. The surfer wants to be their best.

1. Be Fit to Surf

It may sound obvious, but you need to be reasonably fit and be able to surf! Regular exercise and stretching before and after surfing will help. If you are going for a fitness training regime for your surfing try and design an all-round workout with cardiovascular work, daily stretching, weights, balance/core training and of course the best training of all is to get out there and do it!

2. Avoiding Cramping Up

To avoid cramps while in the water, stay hydrated at all times and try to keep food consumption to a minimum within an hour of going surfing etc.

3. Avoid Rips 

Rips are strong water currents formed by retreating waves. A rip can be recognised as it flows back it will disturb the approaching waves and make them uneven and/or flatten the water's surface.

Unless you are an experienced surfer, rips need to be avoided, check with locals or a lifeguard regarding the safest places to surf. Try not to fight against a rip if you manage to get caught in one, go with the flow making your way to side until the rip weakens then return to shore, if exhausted raise and wave your arm and yell out to gain attention and help.

4. Tides 

If you are surfing in an area with a tidal range, try and get hold of a tide timetable. Not only are most breaks affected the tides but some areas can become dangerous and are cut off from land. If in doubt ask. 

5. Equipment

Make sure you have the right equipment, especially the correct wetsuit when water temps are cold....hypothermia is no fun! When surfing during summer make sure you wear sunblock as it's easy to burn in the water.

6. Beach flags

Warning flags are displayed at many beaches to assist you. You will need to avoid the beach sectioned off with red/yellow flags which is designated for swimmers and if there are no flags, beware of entering the water as conditions could be dangerous.

7. Surf buddy

Always go surfing with a friend, having each other is a big bonus if something goes wrong.