Wipe out? How to stay safe during a wipe out (Part two of two)

Wipe out? How to stay safe during a wipe out (Part two of two)

In part one, we looked at the dangers that lurk when we fall off our surfboards. In summary, the article covered the risks that you face when the unprecedented happens. Today, we will cover what you are actually supposed to do. When you wipe out, do it like you were expecting it...


Wipe Out like a Pro

Abandon ship

This might sound like a stupid idea, but when you feel like you’re going to fall, use the balance left to jump off your board. When you jump, you will want to do it towards the wave; behind your board. Jumping in front on the board means you risk having it pushed towards you by the wave.

During a wipe out, you should not dive into the sea

During a wipe out, you should not dive into the sea


Something else you should remember before jumping is that the sea is not always deep. It might feel deep but it is shallow. Always jump like you are diving into a shallow pool. Always aim for the white waters, they will be kinder to you. Use your arms to keep the board safely in front of you.

Canon ball

When you fall off or jump, let your butt hit the water first. Fold your legs since it will minimize the chances of spraining you ankle at the bottom of the ocean. If you are going to hit anything at the bottom, why not use the extra padding on your butt to absorb the shock. NEVER go head first!

Protect your head

I bet you will not be surfing with a helmet and thus you must have other plans to protect your head in case of a wipe out. When you fall into the water, use your arms to protect your head. Cover your head until when the wave passes. Mark Kaplan insists that covering your head should be priority. He says that in his experience, he covers his head until he resurfaces.

Control your breath

When you are under water, you should stay calm and relaxed. Do not panic since it will make things more difficult for you. Fighting the waves uses too much oxygen and thus you should relax and wait for the wave to pass. All the same, it is sometimes advisable to fight the wave. This should be your call.

For you to survive a wipe out, you must be ready to really hold your breath

For you to survive a wipe out, you must be ready to really hold your breath


One technique I used is to get as low as possible. The white water part of the wave is very agile but the lower bit is calm. The lower you go, the calmer the wave gets. Allowing yourself to sink may give you a wind to pass under the wave.

Regain control

After the wave passes, you want to come out of the wipe out in a professional manner (just in case one of your friends was filming). Come out slowly and be on the lookout for your board else it will bruise you. After you have gasped enough air, look for your board and regain control. This is where the leash comes into play.

Lesson well learnt.

Once you have secured your board, survey your surroundings to ensure that you are not endangering any other surfer. Paddle out of the way of any break waves and catch a breath. You made it!

Parting shot

There are so many things that endanger any surfer. You have to be vigilant. Falling off your board is normal. Even the pros do wipe out. There is this day I had a wipe out in low tide. I was not paying attention to the tide and so when I wiped out, I dropped butt first to the water. And as fate would have it, there was only five inches of water. You can imagine how my butt felt for the rest of the week.

For some reasons, i think you should read this article by James Nester that explains the changes that happens to our heart when we get under water. I have always considered sitting on the board as a safer option than wiping out. You don’t know what is lurking below the white waters.

The beautiful corals have sharp edges and rocky shallows. It safer to sit on your board than wipe out and struggle to avoid hitting the rocky shallow depths. Wiping out the right way while surfing can be the difference between a thrilling experience and a major headache. I always tell new surfers to always stay calm and familiarize with their surroundings. The sea is beautiful and fun. But you must respect it because if you don’t, it can really punish you. Have you ever had a nasty wipe out?

If you have ever had one, tell your story in the comment section below. Be sure to tell us what you learned from your experience. Share this post with your friends and keep the conversation going on.

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