How to Survive a Wipeout

Posted by on Dec 6, 2013 in Surfing Blog, surfing tips and tricks | Comments Off on How to Survive a Wipeout

How to Survive a Wipeout


Wipeout Survival Instincts Are in you

So a wipeout during surfing is inevitable.  It is just part of surfing, like eskimo headaches and ice cream.  In fact multiple wipeouts will happen most surf sessions.  Very few times in my over twenty years surfing have I thought to myself; “I just had a wipeout free surf session.”  As the waves get bigger, so do the wipeouts.  But of course there are things you do to avoid a wipeout completely, better prepare for a wipeout and things you can do during a wipeout to make it less severe.

Can You Avoid a Wipeout?

I would say that half of all wipeouts result from staying on a wave too long.  It is natural feeling to want to ride a wave till it’s limit.  This unfortunately like gambling in Las Vegas, you are going to loose most of the time.  It is really not necessary to ride a wave all the in , wipeout, get churned up in the cement mixer, and then battle the paddle out again.

Learn to read waves better.  Late take offs will usually result in a wipeout.  This means don’t try to take off a waves that are breaking faster than you have time to react to.  If a wave that you are trying to catch suddenly gets steep and starts to crest in the direction you want to go, it is probably too late for a take off.   Learn to read the waves and find a nice shoulder to take off on.  You will enjoy more time on the unbroken face of the wave.

Can You Make Wipeouts Easier?

Most of the time a wipeout should not end you surf session.  Of course there are times, usually in big surf that a wipeout ends your surf session.  There are things that you can do to make a wipeout easier.

First off training out of the surf will prepare your body for the violence and physical abuse your body will endure during wipeouts.  Practice holding your breath.  I like trying to see how far I can go swimming underwater.  I swim a few times a week in the pool or the ocean.  I also join a few Crossfit classes a week to keep my body in peak physical condition.  

Secondly, don’t panic!  Keeping a clear head will make to aware of what is going on around you.  It help you know in general where your board is, which is up and down, and other surfers in the water.  If you panic you also use more of the precious oxygen that is in your lungs.  Your natural reaction in a panic state is to fight to control the situation.  You are not in control.  Most of the time if you stay loose and go with the flow the wave will release you and you be back at the surface before you would if try to fight the wave. 

Know your limits.  If you get to the beach and the waves are beyond your ability, spend time watching better surfers.  This will help you become a better surfer faster.  This is also help keep you from taking some really big wipeouts.  We have all been there.  Surfing is not about rushing, but about enjoying each step of the process.  

If you feel like a wipeout is about to happen, try to get away from your surfboard.  Of course do not put it in harms way of other surfers.  Most injuries in surf result in being hit by a surfboard.  There are also some other defensive maneuvers that a surfer can do to help you avoid wipeouts, but for now keep surfing and remember surf lessons and coaching are the best way of getting better.  Surf Cabarete as the best surfing vacation packages for beginner and intermediate surfers.