Remember that the types of sea which are best suited for bodysurfing will also be some of the most dangerous!

At Bodysurfing, we recommend:-

  • Don’t go out of your depth whilst less experienced, only doing so after gaining expertise, and wearing flippers.
  • Always wear a good wet suit in colder seas, and utilise flippers and a leash whenever necessary: this is especially important when the sea is rough and the waves large.
  • We also recommend that where there is a significant undertow to stay at no deeper than around chest height.
  • Always keep one set of toes well anchored to the sand – this prevents you from being taken away offshore. If you should lose your footing, immediately try to regain it, then dig your toes back into the sand until the flow has reversed.
  • There are a number of areas around the world where sharks have been sighted. Although sharks tend to avoid humans in favour of other fish life, a few isolated attacks have occurred. Take extreme care if visiting one of these areas.

For the U.K., formal bodysurfing safety guidelines were proposed to the R.N.L.I. (which although not published, form a good basis for safe bodysurfing in this country).

Widemouth Bay

Widemouth Bay

Know your Beach

It is also  very important to know the beach you are using well. Have a good look at the beach at low tide, observing the positions of any sand banks, and the locations of any rocks. Whenever possible, always surf in areas that are patrolled by lifeguards, within their designated safe areas. These flags are sited to avoid any rip tides (a strong offshore flowing current). If you do get caught in a riptide never try to swim back in directly against the current, but swim parallel to the shore to find an area that is less affected. Strong swimmers may be able to swim at 45 degrees towards the shore. If you are caught out of your depth, do occasionally try standing up as sand banks can come to your rescue! Do remember that wet suits really are a must if staying out in the sea for any length of time, even in the summer. A steamer wet suit, along with a set of hood, gloves and wet suit socks/boots really are a must for those bodysurfing all year round. Wet suit socks can be combined with flippers if needed and offer less resistance in the water than wet suit boots would do.

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