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5 ways to prevent a wipe out

How to prevent a wipe out

Every surfer experienced that – a wipe out. It’s a part of surfing like a fin is part of a surfboard and it even happens to the best surfers. In small waves, wipe outs can be a funny thing (especially for the spectators), but the bigger and stronger the wave, the higher is the risk of getting injured. But there are some ways to prevent wipe outs which we want to show you today.

But fist you should be aware that a wipe out can have some different reasons:

1. “Getting over the falls”
This type of wipe out mostly happens in big and / or steep waves. There are two ways for a surfer for getting over the falls.
– The surfer tries to dive trough a big wave or paddling over the lip of the wave, his attempt fails and he gets soaked up and swept along by the wave.
– Especially at rather steep waves, sometimes the drop fails and the surfer falls from the lip right into the wave trough and gets buried by the wave.

2.Pearling / nosediving
The nose of the surfboard plunges into the water and the surfer falls off his board.

3. Slipping / sliding
The surface of the surfboard doesn’t have enough grip and therefore the surfer is slipping or sliding off the board.

4. Close our waves
Close out waves are waves which are breaking over their whole length at the same time, so that it’s not possible to surf the wave to the left or the right.

5. Crashes with other surfers, surfboards or other things
This type of wipe out is very likely if one surfer drops into the wave of another surfer and the two surfers are getting into each others way.

In this clip you can see the different types of wipe outs:

Some wipe outs are inevitable, but to prevent your health and equipment from damage, here are some ways how to avoid at least some wipe outs:

1. Wax your board!
Wax your board before you go to the water or at least roughen the wax which already sticks on your board with a wax comb. With this, you can avoid slipping off the board.

2. Don’t surf close out waves!
If you already can see by the shape of the wave that it is about to close out, better don’t go for it and wait for another wave.

3. Don’t drop in!
Normally the common sense and the surf etiquette demands this. But of course it can happen that someone drops in on you. Especially if you go to surf spots with surf beginners in the water this will happen rather often. In this case try to give way as much as you can. Of course this sucks, but it’s better than risking an injury or damaged board.

4. Powerful paddling, chest out, quick take-off!
The last strokes before the take-off are the most important ones. When you feel that your nose is going down, (depending on the wave) do 1-2 more fast and powerful strokes, put your chest high (just the lower ribs should touch the board now) and stand up as fast as possible. You can avoid a nosedive like this, because you put your weight to the back, away from the nose. Furthermore, you have a better control over the board while standing as while still lying.

5. Bend your knees, put your front foot to the center of the board!
Thereby you have a better balance on the board when the wave is a bit bumpy. Also your center of gravity is lower and you have a better and more stable stance on the board.

We hope these tips will help you in your next surf session. Our surf instructors gladly will tell you everything you have to know about wipe outs, security rules in the water and the right surf technique in one of our surf courses. We’re looking forward to you.

How to avoid a wipe out

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