Surf injuries: Raimana Van Bastolaer about to suffer a headache | Photo: Bielmann

Surfing is a safe sport, but injuries can happen, as with any other sport or physical activity. 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 surf of any size, 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 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.

Blame the Surfboard

The most severe surf injuries are caused by the surfboard (67 percent).

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 it 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 on 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 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 jellyfish.

Learn a few tips on how to reduce the probability of having severe injuries while surfing.

Top Stories

The most successful competitive surfer of all time, Kelly Slater, rode what may have been the last heat of his 24-year professional career.

We can't choose our height, and 80 percent of it is genetic. But if you're into surfing, taller and shorter surfers feel noticeable differences in getting acquainted with boards, paddling for, and riding a wave.

Ryan Crosby is the new chief executive officer (CEO) of the World Surf League (WSL).

Classified as "Critically Endangered" by UNESCO, the native Hawaiian language has approximately 2,000 speakers. Here's what makes it so special.