If you’re planning on surfing over the reef for your first time, you can often feel a mixture of nerves and excitement all rolled into one. Waves that break over reefs are a beautiful thing and often most surfers preferred waves to surf but as amazing as these waves are the perfection can come at a cost. The reefs can be sharp, jagged with hidden holes and caves which leashes like to get stuck in. Now we don’t want to put you off surfing these waves because they are too amazing to miss out on but it’s always better to have some knowledge before heading out. Here are our tips for safe surfing when on a reef break.
1. Surf with someone who knows the wave
It’s always better to head out to the waves with someone who knows the lineup. They can tell you the best places to paddle in and out and can also be quite comforting when out in the surf.
2. Don’t drop in on anyone
It’s far too dangerous for that so just wait your turn and go for the next wave. If you see someone is on it then pull off. Tropical reef breaks can be very unforgiving and it’s best to avoid dropping in whereever possible.
3. Surf in some extra lycra/neoprene
It may be warm but it might be worth wearing a mini surf suit or rash top to help protect some parts of your body in case you do fall.
4. Try Reef Boots.
Another bit of kit that might be worth invest in is a pair of reef boots. Now, these aren’t like the boots you wear in Winter, they are boots that are specially designed for warmer water and reef breaks. You may not wear them but it’s always good to have them just in case.
4. Don’t give off a wave head first.
It may around pretty obvious but when falling off a wave it’s easier to forget your common sense. If you don’t know how deep the reef is don’t dive in.
5. Fall as flat as you can.
We like to think of this as falling like a starfish. Spread your weight as you call and try and stay as flat as possible. When you’re ready to come up, just gradually move your hands and feet to try and feel where you are and swim to the top.
6. Never fall feet first
Avoid going feet first and just jumping off your board. Don’t kick around because it will hurt a lot and you’re likely to get a reef cut.
7. Don’t panic.
It may be easier said than done but when underwater try not to panic. Reserve your energy and gradually try to counteract the motion underwater with your arms, pull yourself the other way.
8. Cover your head.
If you’re falling and you fear you may hit your head then cover it. Take one hand and grab the base of your neck and then with the other arm cover your face. Protect as much of your face as you can. When under water, curl up in the featal position and stay calm.
Surfing over the reef is loads of fun, the waves are perfect and if the water is clear enough you can see all the wildlife swimming around underneath you. Yes it can be scary and people do get hurt but it shouldn’t be enough to stop you from giving it ago. Just take it easy, try to remember our tips and enjoy surfing reefs!