Surf injuries: Raimana Van Bastolaer almost near a headache

Surfing is a safe sport, but as in any other sport or physical activity, injuries can happen. Surfers are constantly in contact with water and with their boards, near sandy or rocky obstacles.

Waves are the nature of surfing, and run the gamut from small lappers to big walls of water. Accidents can happen in any size surf, so how do you minimize your risk of getting hurt?

First of all, if possible, pre-surf workouts go a long way to getting the body in shape for knocks and sudden muscle and joint movement. This can help you avoid things like lumbar sprains, cervical damage, dislocated shoulders, knee and ankle injuries. Fractures can also occur if the body comes into contact with hard surfaces with too much force.

The most severe surf injuries are caused by the surfboard (67%). The fins, the nose, the tail and the rail can hit you in your head, eyes, lips or ears and that means pain and blood. So, whether you're paddling out or kicking out of a wave, think of a surfboard as a gun, and handle with care.

Lacerations can be avoided with the protection of a good wetsuit, and also by practicing risk-avoidance, especially when near a jetty or in a reef break. Risk is manageable. Stepping into red zones doesn't make you a hero.

Cramps are also very common and can put you in danger, particularly if you're surfing big waves. If you cramp up, stay calm and ask for help. Skin is always to be considered, and must be protected against UV rays with a quality sun cream.

Surfer's ear and the pink eye can also cause damage if left unchecked. Wildlife in the sea can also cause misery. Some of the more familiar ones to beware of are sharks, seals and jelly fish. Learn a few tips on how to reduce the probability of having severe injuries while surfing. Also, start your surf training program.

Kelly Slater: the exit is that way...

Kelly Slater has a busy surfing agenda. Before hitting the waves of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, the ten-time world champion has been training his skills in several different breaks.

In Australia, Slater decided to take the crazy train of "Ours", an almost impossible slab very much appreciated by the Bra Boys. The wave is fast, powerful, heavy and irregular. If you're not experienced, avoid a long stay in the nearest hospital.

Taj Burrow and Mark Mathews shared the "Ours" waves with Kelly Slater and nobody got hurt. Watch the video, here.

Fiji is near. So, the fully booked agenda ordered a few meals in "Restaurants" and Cloudbreak. Slater even tests a strange 3D equipment around his chest in the six-foot Fiji waves.

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Matt Mohagen: jetty alert

Matt Mohagan has conquered the inaugural South Bay Boardriders Club Big Wave Challenge. The Los Angeles surfer caught a 15-foot wave at the El Porto jetty, in Manhattan Beach, and got away with a $1000 check and a custom-made 10-foot big wave gun shaped by Pat Readon.

Derek Levy, Chris Rodriguez, Marcelo Malinco and Tyler Hatzikian were also nominated for the prize, but Mohagen's wave captured by surf photographer Jeff Farsai was hailed as the best in the final decision. Watch Matt Mohagen taking Hammerland.

"I'm so psyched. It's been a long winter," Mohagen told the Manhattan Beach Patch. "I got that wave in January and actually have been really nervous hoping another big swell wouldn't come in."

To capture the Hammerland wave, Farsai positioned in the surfer's riding line and directioned his Canon digital SLR camera towards Mohagen. The wave breaks near the jetty.

The contest for the region’s biggest wave rider kicked off last year on December 1st and ended March 31st.

The original board members of the include South Bay Boardriders Club Mike Balzer, Derek Levy, Tom Horton, Kim Komick, George Loren, Matt Walls, Tim Ritter, Kevin Campbell, Dickie O’Reilly and Kelly Zaun.