When surfing, wiping out is the ocean’s way of reminding you who the force of nature is here. You go face-first into the reed, unable to move for several seconds because the force of the waves are holding you down. You may even completely lose your sense of direction. While rarely ever dangerous, there’s still the chance for injury, which is enough to keep most surfer dudes away. However, fear not, for there is a way for you to survive a gnarly wipeout, no matter how bad it may be (short of actually dying, of course). If you are about to go surfing in Charleston SC, here are some tips on how to survive bad wipeouts.
#1. Jump AWAY from the surfboard
When you realize you’re about to fall, jump directly away from the surfboard. Do not jump in front of the surfboard, as that will run the risk of the front of the boar hitting you in the head, causing unconsciousness, which in turn may cause you to drown. So, when you’re certain that you’re about to wipeout, jump backwards, or to the side of the board.
#2. Butt first, not head first
Never dive off of your board when in a wipeout. It’s the same reason behind why you do not dive into the shallow end of a pool: you don’t know what’s down there, so for all you know, there’s a very large stone waiting to splatter your brains across the Atlantic. The best way to enter the water during a wipeout is in a cannonball position. Bending your legs makes you more buoyant, minimizing your chances of hitting the bottom and hurting yourself. Remember: butt first, not head first.
#3. Cover your head
Just because you jump in butt first as you should, doesn’t mean your head is safe. There are still loads of things in the water that your head could collide with. Cover up your head when you hit the water, wait until you’ve reoriented yourself, then swim back to the surface.
#4. Stay calm, get low
Whatever you do, remain calm. Panicking will only make things worse for yourself. Train your mind to remain calm in this situation and get as low as possible. Water is calmer the closer you get to the ocean floor, so wait down below until the waves pass you by, then swim to the surface.
Once you wash back on shore, take a minute to chill on the beach, because you’re probably incredibly shaken after coming face to face with the reef. Lounge on the beach for about half an hour, then if you’re feeling up to it, get back on the water.