By Corinne Evans

Stay Safe in The water

Whether you’re a competent surfer or a complete beginner it’s important to know how to stay safe in the water. Take heed of our top 10 tips on how to stay safe in the crowded summer surf.

1. Get to know your beaches.
Ask yourselves these questions: Is the beach lifeguarded? Are there hazards such as rocks, rips, rivers and big sand banks? Knowing these factors can help you determine where to surf for your ability.

2. Look for the lifeguards and know what the flags mean
If you’re a surfer, or learning to surf, in the UK you need to stay between the black and white flags. If you’re a swimmer then stay between to the red and yellow flags. If you see a red flag it is deemed unsafe to surf or swim. Respect the lifeguards, they are there to keep you safe.

3. Check the tides before you surf.
Knowing the state of tide before you surf is really important. If you know the waves at your local beach can become very dumpy at low tide, or there is a steep bank at high tide, you can avoid these times. Buy a tide book for your local beaches or check surf-forecasting websites.

4. Know your limits.
If the surf is too big for you, don’t go in. If you feel you may put yourself in danger then find a beach with smaller waves or just sit this one out. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

5. Surf with a friend.
If you’re not a confident surfer it is always better to surf with a friend rather than by yourself, especially if the beach you’re on isn’t lifeguarded. This way if you get into difficulty you will be with someone who can help you or go for help.

6. Be vigilant.
In the summer months the water can get extremely busy so try and keep a watchful eye on those around you. Most surf related injuries are caused by other people; watch out for flying surfboards or people who can’t control their boards, and always keep control of your own board.

7. Don’t ditch your board when duck diving.
If you can’t get under the waves, as a general rule you shouldn’t be heading out back. Mishaps happen when trying to duck dive or roll your board under the waves, but if you have to ditch your board every time you try and get through a wave you pose a hazard to people around you, so just stick to the white water.

8. Don’t drink and surf.
This may sound like a simple one but you’d be surprised how many people do it. Don’t drink and ride people!

9. Stay hydrated.
It’s really important to drink lots of water in between surfs to stay hydrated, especially on those hot summer days.

10. Wear sun cream
Even if it’s cloudy you can get sunburn, especially when you’re in the sea. Pop some Zinc or sunblock on your face to prevent burning and always re-apply before and after surfs, whatever the weather. Check out our range of surf suitable sun protection here.

For lots more surfing tips and advice, get a copy of The Surf Girl Handbook here.

Go here to improve your surfing and book up with a surf school or surf camp.