Forever in Pursuit of the Salty Shreds Lifestyle!
5 Surf Safety Tips for Groms!
Hey there, Salty Shreds fam!
If you've been following our Instagram, you've seen that we've been surfing A TON. And it's been an absolute blast. Ziggy is seriously getting the hang of things and totally charging. Bryx is becoming such a stylish, graceful ripper. And Ocean (as always!) is trailing close behind.
Watching my kids ride the waves fills my heart with pure stoke, knowing they're embracing a sport that has brought me so much happiness and purity.
But as a parent, I also understand the importance of keeping our little surfers safe in the water. With all this recent surfing and thoughts, today, I want to share five essential surf safety tips that every parent should know to ensure their kids can have a blast while staying safe enjoying the seven seas.
1. Gear Up for Safety
Before your kids hit the waves, ensure they're equipped with the right surfing equipment and gear. A good-fitting wetsuit will keep them warm and comfortable during those chillier surf sessions. When it's a bit warmer, a rash guard will protect against sunburn and skin irritation/ a rash from surfing. If they aren't wearing either, then please, lather up that sunscreen!
When it comes to choosing a surfboard, opt for a soft-top board designed for beginners, as these are generally safer and easier to handle (made out of foam and super soft!). The groms don't have to worry about a bonk in the noggin' or hitting another surfer with the same consequence as a hard poly/epoxy board.
Oh, always remember your leg rope! A sturdy leash will keep the board close and prevent it from becoming a hazard to other surfers when the kid's bail. It's like a lifeline in the water, saving surfers from a long, draining swim to shore. So leash it up, eh?
Finally, for the ultra-cautious or young rippers chasing more advanced surf spots (such as a shallow reef break), consider investing in a helmet, especially for young or inexperienced surfers, to protect against head injuries.
We personally don't helmet up before a session, but it's out there if that's what you need to feel the epitome of safety.
2. Master the Art of Rip Currents
Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of water that can quickly carry swimmers and surfers away from the shore. Understanding them and how to spot and navigate these currents is crucial for surf safety.
Teach your kids to look for telltale signs of a rip current, such as discolored or choppy water and gaps in the breaking waves. Take time on the beach to look for them and point them out whenever you're not surfing.
If they find themselves caught in one, remind them to stay calm, conserve energy, and swim parallel to the shore until they're free of the current. Once they feel like the pull has subsided, they can swim back to the beach at an angle. Remind them about rips before every session. Its serious stuff.
3. Buddy Up for Safer Surfing
Encourage your kids to surf with a buddy or join a local surf school to learn and practice with other children under the watchful eye of experienced instructors. Not only does this foster a sense of camaraderie, but it also ensures someone is nearby to lend a helping hand if needed. Plus, surfing with friends is always more fun!
Worst case, as long as the spot allows for surfing, tell the groms to surf where the guards can see them. If they're going out on their own, make it a rule that you are ALWAYS updated on where they choose to surf.
Community is what it's all about; there's safety in numbers, and the same goes for surfing.
4. Know Their Limits and Respect the Ocean
A critical lesson we can teach our kids is to know their limits and respect the immense, changing power of the ocean.
Encourage them to start with smaller waves and gradually build their skills and confidence before tackling bigger challenges. Remind them to pay attention to their surroundings, including weather conditions, tides, and local wildlife.
Make them go over a mental checklist every time before they surf, going over all those things mentioned.
Instilling a healthy respect for the ocean will help them make better decisions and stay safer in the water.
5. Create an Emergency Action Plan
While I hope it's never needed, having an emergency action plan can provide peace of mind for parents and kids and might save a life if the worst case comes true.
Make sure your little surfers know how to signal for help, whether by waving their arms, blowing a whistle, or using another form of visual or auditory communication. Teach them basic first aid skills, such as how to treat minor cuts and jellyfish stings. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your beach bag, and make sure your kids know where to find it.
Discuss what to do in case of more severe emergencies, like a rip current or a collision with another surfer, so they're prepared to respond effectively. When it comes to communication, they should always have a way to reach you or emergency services quickly.
Let's Wrap It Up!
As parents, it's our priority to keep our kids safe while they enjoy the exhilarating sport of surfing. By teaching them these essential surf safety tips and fostering respect for the ocean, we give our little groms the confidence and knowledge they need to have a stoked-out time in the water.
Remember, the key is to strike a balance between fun and safety, so our kids can make the most of their surfing adventures while staying safe. Have open conversations with your kids about surf safety and encourage them to ask questions or voice their concerns. As they grow more experienced and comfortable in the water, keep reinforcing these safety tips and guiding them in their journey as they begin to push the limits.
After all, we want our children to develop a lifelong love for surfing, and that means ensuring they feel secure and empowered every time they paddle out. And it also means knowing that one day, they might want to charge! But for now, we can do all we can do until they age into their full-grown surfer selves.
Stay safe and keep shredding. We'll catch you in the water!
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Live rad, stay salty.
- Ash, Dev & The Salty Shreds Fam.