What to Do When You Wipe Out While Surfing

Wipeouts are an inevitable part of the surfing experience. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned surfer, knowing how to handle a wipeout is crucial for your safety and enjoyment. These are some tips we give our students at the San Diego Surf School during their time riding the waves in San Diego.

Stay Calm:

The moment you realize you’re about to wipe out, it’s crucial to stay calm. Panic can lead to disorientation and increase the risk of injury. Take a deep breath, relax, and maintain your composure.

Protect Your Head:

As you fall off your surfboard, prioritize protecting your head. Put your arms around your head to shield it from the impact of the water and the board. Avoid diving headfirst into shallow waters, as this can lead to serious injuries.

Control Your Board:

Experiment with different techniques, such as the “turtle roll” or “duck dive,” to navigate through oncoming waves efficiently. These techniques are particularly useful in San Diego, where the waves can vary in size and intensity. If you have to jump off, make sure you go away from your board and towards the wave

Gauge Your Surroundings:

After a wipeout, take a moment to assess your surroundings. Check for other surfers, the location of your board, and any potential hazards in the water. This quick evaluation will help you make informed decisions about your next move.


Wipeouts are an integral part of the surfing experience, and how you handle them can significantly impact your safety and enjoyment in the water. By staying calm, protecting your head, and practicing essential techniques, you can navigate wipeouts with confidence. Embrace the learning process, stay mindful of your surroundings, and remember that every wipeout brings you one step closer to becoming a more skilled and resilient surfer. We cannot wait to see you out there!