As winter approaches for surfers of the Northern Hemisphere, some safety procedures should be taken into consideration. It's cold, windy, rainy and snowy so you should protect your body for the physical exercise in extreme conditions.
The Irish Surfing Association has published a very clear and useful guide for the winter surfing sessions. Wave fans should have in mind that their health is first and that doesn't mean they cannot enjoy the quality ocean moments.
Here are the main guidelines for winter time surfing:
a) Do not surf alone or enter the water as dusk is approaching or if you have been drinking alcohol.
b) Warm your body before and after surfing. A good hot chocolate or a tea is perfect.
c) Eat foods that are high in carbohydrates. Fruits, breads and energy bars are a good choice.
d) Always let somebody on land know where you have gone and when you will return. Avoid surfing alone.
e) Check the weather and tides before you paddle out. Learn to observe the ocean so you can identify rips, wind changes and other hazards.
f) If you are unfamiliar with a break check with local surfers or other water users before paddling out.
g) Ensure the waves you are surfing are of a size and power suitable to your ability. Do not get too confident. Stick to beaches until you become experienced.
g) Make sure your equipment, especially your leash is in good order. Remember it is much easier to spot a brightly coloured surfboard or wetsuit at sea in the event of you requiring rescuing. Consider other safety equipment_ nose guard and helmet.
i) When you “wipeout” do not come to the surface too soon and when you do come to the surface protect your head with your arms.
j) If you get caught in a rip do not try to paddle against it, paddle across it.
k) If you find yourself in difficulty stay calm, do not discard your board, wave one are in the air and shout to attract attention. Do not panic, help will come.