When you’re learning to surf, there are a ton of fun moves and tricks you want to learn how to do. But it’s easy to get caught up in the tricks that require more technical skill and ignore one of the most basic moves out there: how to wipe out.
While it might seem like the sort of thing you know how to do instinctively, wiping out on a surfboard is a little more involved than that. And it’s important that you learn how to take a fall the right way so that you don’t wind up injuring yourself or, even worse, drowning.
If you’re not sure how to wipe out on a surfboard, keep reading. We’ll tell you what to do as well as what to avoid so that you stay safe even when you’re going down.
TAKE A TRUST FALL
If at all possible, you need to try to fall back into the wave. Think of it like you’re about to take a wet trust fall. Lie back and let yourself go down.
Try to bend at the waist a little so your bottom sticks out and can take the brunt of whatever might be sitting at the bottom of the ocean.
When you fall back, you protect your vital organs from damage from the surfboard and sharp shells that could cause you harm.
As soon as you feel yourself start to go down, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of covering your head with your arms. You protect yourself from the ocean floor, sure, but you’re also preventing any major head injury that could happen if your surfboard uses your head as a landing pad when it makes its way back to the ocean.
TAKE IT EASY
No matter how confident you are on the water, when you go down it can be a big deal. No one likes to feel out of control. But no matter how hard you want to fight the wave, don’t.
There’s no way you’ll be able to force yourself out of a wave that has you in its grasp. Instead, get a full breath in before you hit the water and just relax.
The wave will stop giving you a workover in a short while. When it does, then you can resurface.
Don’t fight against the wave. You’re just going to exhaust yourself.
THE DON’TS OF FALLING OFF OF A SURFBOARD
Now that you know the steps you need to take to make sure that you’re safe when you’re taking a dive off of a surfboard, let’s take a look at the things you should avoid doing at all costs.
DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR SURFBOARD
In an ideal world, you won’t have to worry about losing your surfboard thanks to the surfboard leash. But it’s still important that you don’t take your eye off of the board until it stops moving.
It takes almost no effort for the wave to whip your board into the air and send it crashing back down. You risk serious injury if your board nails you in a wipeout.
DON’T JUMP OR DIVE IN
Unless you are 100% sure that you aren’t in shallow water, don’t try to jump or dive in. If you jump in and you’re closer than you think to the ocean floor, you could break your legs or ankles. If you dive in, you risk breaking your neck.
THERE’S WONDER IN THE WIPE OUT
Wiping out on a surfboard is inevitable. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned vet or a whelp on the waves, you’re going to go down at some point or another. It’s possible to learn to love the fall as much as you love the rise as long as you stay safe while you do it.
If you’re new to surfing and you’d like to learn how to fall (and not fall) from the experts, contact us today to sign up for our classes.