The Dangers of Surfing – What You Need to Know


Surfing, as fun and enjoyable as it is, still involves several risks and dangers that can be life-threatening. While the entertaining factor brought by surfing only covers a portion of the danger it entails, every surfer should still be mindful about the risks that he or she may possibly face. The waters are very unpredictable and one wrong move on your end might lead to something fatal, not only to yourself but to the different life forms in the ocean.

If you are curious about the dangers of surfing, then you are on the right track. In this post, we will be talking about all the risks and dangers surfing entails. Surfing is such a fun water activity to do on a weekend. With this, we must all do our part by educating ourselves with what should be done in the event we are faced with these troubles. Keep on reading this article if you want to know more.

The Dangers of Surfing

When someone asks you whether surfing is dangerous or not, you probably might not get a clear and definite answer. As you may already know, surfing mostly involves you sliding down the wave’s face at high speed. It is such an extreme water sport generally executed in the middle of the ocean. By default, there surely are several dangers that are involved.

You should know, however, that surfing is not as dangerous as it seems. All you need to do is research to be able to identify the risks and dangers of surfing before you actually jump into the water. That way, you get to make your surfing session as fun and enjoyable as possible. Here are some of the common dangers associated with surfing, along with some tips to keep you safe while you are in the water:

1. You

When dealing with extreme sports such as surfing, you should always come prepared for whatever danger that may come your way. Essentially, you need to be aware of what you are up against, as well as how to avoid risky and dangerous situations while you are surfing. In addition, you must know how the ocean behaves on certain weather conditions, as well as how to identify the wave lineup. Lastly, you must be able to know how to make it out back when you having trouble while surfing.

It is also very important to note that you should never underestimate the power and strength of the ocean. Therefore, you need to try your best to have your body prepared before you set foot at the beach. Here is a tip. Eating right would be able to help you in avoiding the risks of surfing. So does doing yoga.

2. Wave

A wave breaking could be seen as an explosion of pure water energy. So, you need to play it as safe as possible or you might get yourself complete and quickly overpowered. In case you did not know, big waves may break your bones, knock you out unconscious, and may puncture your eardrums. Even though it looks perfect from afar, a breaking wave could still be fatal.

What you can do is assess what you can and cannot do. Simply put, you must be well aware of your limitations. In addition, you must never succumb to peer pressure, in which your friends may urge you to do something crazy and out of the ordinary. If you know yourself to not be a big wave surfer, then do not try to be one. If you are at the beach and start to feel doubtful about the whole thing, then trust your instinct and not go out to the waters. Most importantly, respect the ocean and do not take any chances. This not only benefits yourself but others, as well.

3. Drowning

Probably the most dangerous aspect of surfing is drowning, caused by being held down by strong and big waves. It might surprise you but even experienced and the most advanced surfers have trouble when it comes to being held down. What you can do is to remain calm. If you panic, the oxygen in your body is likely to get used up, which may potentially lead you to need more air than ever.

Additionally, the more time you spend on the water, the more you will get the hang of the hold-downs. However, you need to try to relax, especially if you are just starting out. It may help you if you focus on thinking about the things that help you relax – like watching TV at the comfort of your own home or being in your most favorite places in the world.

4. Marine life

The great white shark is regarded as the king of the ocean, preying on everything it sets its eye on. As such, sharks are among the most feared marine creatures to date by surfers. In fact, there have been several instances in the past, in which sharks have attacked surfers. While shark attacks may be extremely rare, you do not need to take any chances. If you see a shark in the lineup, you most definitely need to get out of the water instantly.

5. Localism

This may sound entirely new to you but the term refers to the way local surfers treat visitors, where they all act high and mighty. In other times, the local surfers tend to act unfriendly and hostile even. This happens a lot and we can all agree that this is not the most exciting part of surfing. However, a workaround would be to give respect where it is due and being polite, as if you are introducing yourself to a new group of people.

6. Other surfers

Colliding with surfers could also pose a significant risk when surfing. While nothing major really happens, it is still noteworthy that these collisions also account for accidents. There are certain rules when you are out surfing and one of them is to be always aware of your surroundings and keeping your distance from other surfers. As a rule of thumb, never take a wave that is being ridden by another surfer. When paddling, you might also want to take a longer route. That way, you can make sure that other surfers will not be able to hit you.

7. The leash

Certain risks can result from getting your leash broken while surfing, especially when you do not have enough energy to swim back to the shore. What will save you every time this happens is to always have enough power to swim back to the shore, even without your surfboard.

8. The bottom of the ocean

If you are surfing a shallow reef, be careful not to hit the jagged and sharp edges, which may potentially cause serious injuries or worse, death. It is also noteworthy that if the reef is coral, it could also present more harm, especially if you fall on a wave.

9. Riptides

In case you have not seen one, a riptide is a very strong current that sends water away from the shore. It is strong enough to send surfers out to the ocean in a couple of seconds. In addition, riptides would make it impossible, if not very challenging, for you to swim back to the shore. What you can do is to swim on the side, or any place where the current is not strong.

10. Pollution

Getting sick due to polluted water, while being a very rare occasion, is something that is also very real. In fact, surfers in the past have died because of surfing in polluted water. To make things simple, dirty water could be a health concern for surfers. Here is another tip for you. Do not attempt to surf right after a rainstorm, as it is the time when the ocean is in its most polluted state.

11. The sun

Even though being tan looks great, it also comes with a price. When you are out surfing, your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful radiation, making you a lot more vulnerable to skin cancer. It is vital that you know what to apply on your skin before you go out in the water. In addition, it would not hurt to read up on what to do to treat sunburn.

12. Unpredictable weather

We all know that the weather can be a bit unpredictable and it can be quite scary to be trapped in a lineup, not being able to swim back to the shore due to the waves constantly breaking in front of your eyes. Additionally, lightning can also pose some concern, as surfers are a lot more vulnerable, especially if they are sitting in the middle of the ocean. If you see lightning, it would be best to just get out of the water as soon as possible.


With all the things discussed above, you should not worry about them too much, just as long as you know what and what not to do when complicated risks and dangers arise. Surfing truly is good for your body, mind, and soul. All you need to have is some knowledge about the factors that may cause potential harm to you and others.

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