Surfing is undoubtedly fun and even addictive. However, like any other sport, it comes with some hazards. ?It may seem unlike as surfers barely ever get hurt, right? However, it is nevertheless important to acknowledge the danger lurking in the ocean as it may strike without warning.
Here are ten ways in which surfing may be dangerous.
- Sharks lurking below
Sharks just have to take the first place on the list. Menacing creatures with teeth like daggers, muscles on every inch, and the perfect hunting instinct, sharks are never shy to “investigate” surfers. The fish-shaped surfing boards draw their attention, and they at times decide to bite to see what comes out of it.
Some surfers have been victims of shark attacks, and sometimes the results have been life-changing or fatal.
- Drowning in a watery grave
The vast ocean water may feel serene, but just beneath your surfboard lays a real risk of drowning. If you lose your balance and wipe-off, then you must swim to get back on the board and get back to the beach. However, you may experience various challenges when doing so. There are numerous scenarios how you can drown: you can be separated from your board, be trapped in a hold-down, or get your foot or hand stuck in a reef. You can also hit your head on the reef and become unconscious.
As such, you have to be a good swimmer to be a good surfer. It also pays to go with a friend who can watch your back.
- Body-slamming waves
The ocean is powerful. It is always making its power known through its waves, some of which tower tens of stories in the air. To this end, surfers are always looking for the best wave to conquer and etch their name among legends. However, these waves are a challenge.
Some are so powerful that they can break bones when they slam on you or knock the air out of you. As such, be careful which waves you choose and make the best of your skills.
It is easier to swim against crashing waves than it is to swim away from strong riptides. Riptides have been the cause of death for swimmers and surfers in beaches all around the world. When they trap you, they drag you back with them into the sea. In case you cannot swim back to land, then you become stranded at sea (if you still have your surfboard) or you drown.
- Nasty sunburns
A long day at the beach surfing can leave you either with a great tan or nasty sunburns. The ocean is simply irresistible—it is sunny and breathtaking, and the water beneath is cool. However, it tends to get too sunny especially in the afternoons, and total exposure to the sun may damage your skin and ruin your good looks.
As such, always take a break when necessary and remember to carry sunscreen and an umbrella for cooling off at the beach.
- Injuries from your surfboard
Your surfboard may have given you excellent service for a long time, but it can also turn against you. Surfboards are designed to pierce through the water for maximum speed and stability. However, their sharp noses and fins can easily pierce or cut you ifyou wipe out and get in the way of the surfboard.
- Contaminated water
The ocean has faced the brunt of pollution as people discard all their trash in the sea. Eventually, these toxins accumulate and support the growth of bacteria and other microbial that are potentially harmful to surfers. To this end, surfers who swim in contaminated water often complain of skin rashes and gastrointestinal illnesses from the toxic water they swallow by accident.
As such, always check with the coast guard to see whether there are closures in effect or warnings if you are unsure of the quality of water.
- Exposure to harmful algal blooms
Harmful algal blooms have been spreading to too many beaches around the world. They are difficult to remove, and some of them can be toxic to marine life as well as surfers. For instance, if you get injured and swim in waters with these algae, then they will get into the wound and infect it. They can also get into your body when you accidentally swallow the water.
- Surfing with unfriendly locals
If you are new to a certain beach, then you need to know the surfing community before losing yourself in the water. Surfers are good people, but some tight-knit communities may be over-protective of their beach and feel entitled to the best waves. As such, stay out of the way of any hostile surfers and work towards bonding with the general community.
- Those sneaky jellyfish
These may look gracious, but they are lethal. Some of the most toxic poisons in the world are from jellyfish. Unfortunately, they often make their way to the beach and can become easily entangled on you thanks to their long, slender tentacles.