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Surf injuries are never welcome nor pretty. Learn how to keep yourself safe to avoid a trip to the medic.

Surf injuries are never welcome nor pretty. Learn how to keep yourself safe to avoid a trip to the medic. Photo: Mike Harrelson


The Inertia

The Surf Survival Camp was founded to enlighten surfers about the risks that come with surfing such as fin cuts, stingray barbs to the shin, and the big wave beat downs that come with surfing. It is hosted at the Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. During the week-long session, everything will be covered from basic preparedness to more complicated safety techniques. An hour and a half lecture will be offered each day followed by a hands-on component. Afternoons will be free for campers to enjoy the surf and explore the town. Here are seven ways you can protect yourself next time you’re in the water:

1. Wipeout with your hands crossed overhead. Maintain this defensive position when getting thrashed, and as you surface, to protect your head and face from your surfboard and the sea floor.

2. When surfing over a shallow bottom, always fall flat and allow the water to cushion your fall. Never dive in head-first as serious neck injures can occur if you hit bottom.

3. Dull trailing edges of fins with sandpaper so your fins can’t filet you open.

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4. Apply a nose guard on your board or, better yet, have your next board shaped with a slightly blunted tip. This way, if your board recoils on its leash, you won’t lose an eye.

5. Talk to locals before surfing a new spot and watch at least one set roll through before paddling out so you can assess potential hazards as well as the best entry and exit spots.

6. Learn how to undo your leash with eyes closed underwater (a quick-release leash helps) if surfing over coral or near kelp or crab pots. Underwater leash snags can be fatal.

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7. Warm up before surfing and stretch after surfing. This will help avoid overuse injuries to neck, shoulders and back.

For a chance to win a free spot at the camp and a seven night stay at the Harmony Hotel, tell them about your best beat down story here.

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