As winter approaches for surfers of the Northern Hemisphere, some safety procedures should be taken into consideration. It's cold, windy, rainy, and snowy, so you should protect your body from physical exercise in extreme conditions.
The Irish Surfing Association has published a very clear and useful guide for winter surfing sessions.
Wave fans should keep in mind that their health is always first, and that doesn't mean they cannot enjoy quality surf moments in the ocean.
Wintertime Surfing Tips
Here are the main guidelines for wintertime surfing:
- Do not surf alone or enter the water as dusk is approaching or if you have been drinking alcohol;
- Warm your body before and after surfing. Good hot chocolate or tea is perfect;
- Eat foods that are high in carbohydrates. Fruits, bread, and energy bars are good choices;
- Always let somebody on land know where you have gone and when you will return. Avoid surfing alone;
- Check the weather and tides before you paddle out. Learn to observe the ocean so you can identify rips, wind changes, and other hazards;
- If you are unfamiliar with a break, check with local surfers or other water users before paddling out;
- Ensure the waves you are surfing are of a size and power suitable to your ability. Do not get too confident. Stick to beaches until you become experienced;
- Make sure your equipment, especially your leash, is in good order. Remember, it is much easier to spot a brightly colored surfboard or wetsuit at sea if you require rescuing. Consider other safety equipment - nose guard and helmet;
- When you wipe out, do not come to the surface too soon, and when you do come to the surface, protect your head with your arms;
- If you get caught in a rip, do not try to paddle against it. Paddle across it;
- If you find yourself in difficulty, stay calm, do not discard your board, wave your arm in the air, and shout to attract attention. Do not panic. Help will come;
Learn more about the danger behind cold water surfing.