7 Safety Tips That Will Keep Your Surfing Vacation Fun And Relaxing

You go on vacation to get away from problems, not to create more, so it's important to keep yourself safe. Surfing vacations are a thrilling way to get rid of your tensions as long as you observe a few basic safety tips.

1) Know How To Swim - This may seem obvious, but some people can't seem to understand that surfboards are not boats. You will end up in the water. If you don't know how to swim, then you are going to be in trouble.

2) Don't Be A Hero - Some of the surfing crowd -- *cough* young men *cough* -- like to show off while out on the water. Avoid the temptation to surf in conditions you aren't ready for. At best you will end up looking stupid; at worst you will risk your life. You are going to look better surfing well in conditions you are comfortable with.

3) Use A Leash - Again, we remind you that you will fall into the water. Without a leash you can lose your board. Not only that but your loose board becomes a hazard to the surfers around you. Leashes keep you and other surfers safe. Note that a leash is not a life saving device. In heavy surf, the leash can break, leaving you stranded unless you are a good swimmer.

4) Watch For Other Surfers - You aren't the only one out on the water. Surfers, especially ones actively riding a wave, have limited control over their boards. If you suddenly pop up in their path they may not be able to avoid you.

5) Beware Rip Currents - Surfing is fairly safe, but there are hazards. As waves break against the beach, gravity pulls the water back. Sometimes water follows a narrow path, creating a powerful current moving away from shore, called a rip current or, more commonly but less accurately, a rip tide. If you know a rip is there you can ride one out to the waves, but if you are caught in one unexpectedly it can be frightening. Relax. A rip will not pull you under. Swim or paddle across the current -- not against the current -- until you feel it relax and then head back to shore.

6) Watch Your Head - No you won't have to wear a helmet. However, when you fall off your board, be careful swimming back up to the surface since you can be hit by your board. Use your arms to protect your head until you locate your board.

7) Make A Friend - Never go surfing alone. It's best to have a buddy so you can keep an eye on each other. If you are on vacation alone or with people who don't enjoy the surf, make friends with other surfers. Most of them are friendly and will be glad to keep an eye on you. Return the favour. If you see a surfer in trouble, move in to help.

You want to spend your surf vacation on the beach, not in the emergency room. Follow these basic safety tips for the best vacation you've ever had.

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