Surfing isn’t for everyone. Those who live to take on the ocean are a breed apart.
And every year, 10 million people all over the world ride the wild waves. Amazingly, only 10 of their number dies in surf-related accidents.
Not bad, considering how many people brave the waves but injuries are much more common. So, let’s talk about reducing gnarly surf injuries with proper preparation. You can surf to your heart’s content without hurting yourself by taking the right precautions.
So Many Muscles!
Surfing is a demanding sport, so before paddling out there on your board, you’ll need to minister to the muscle groups implicated in the sport. Even the paddling part asks a lot of your body! You’re engaging your entire upper body, from the trapezius to your abdominal muscles.
And once you’re out there in the Big Blue, you need to stand up on your board, using your biceps, deltoids and triceps, as well as your pecs.
The first curl comes and you’re ready. That means you’ll be engaging the lower body, implicating quadricep and gluteal muscles.
Because your torso rotates continually as you balance on the board and ride the curl, your hips play a huge role.
Don’t even think about heading out on the waves before you’ve prepared your body with a targeted stretching routine. It’s not just about the muscle groups you’re using, it’s about the additional demands made on them by the resistance of water.
A thorough stretch, encompassing all the muscle groups of the upper and lower body is totally necessary to protect your body from injury. You’ll need to stretch it out once you’re done for the day, too, to maintain flexibility and head soreness off.
And flexibility is one of the most important physical properties required for this sport. So, adding off-season activities which you continue to pursue during the season is a great support to surfing. Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent formats for maintaining and improving flexibility, as well as stretch and strength classes at your local community center.
Nature Is Powerful
The ocean is one of nature’s most powerful forces. Unpredictable and home to rocks, reefs and other surfers, it can be treacherous.
Good surf etiquette and a knowledge about what’s on the ocean floor in the area you’re surfing are two good ways to avoid injury.
But not everything is under your control, especially when you (an insignificant human) are flirting with the power of nature.
Injuries resulting from contact with your board and with objects under the surface of the water, like rocks and reefs can send you home hurting – or even to the emergency ward. While not all injuries are avoidable, getting the lay of the land from other surfers and experts online is a good way to prepare for all the eventualities which may present themselves.
Forewarned is forearmed against gnarly surf injuries!
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