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Is Surfing Dangerous? Tips To Avoid Danger| June 2024

By: Dave Samuel
Updated On: October 10, 2023

Is Surfing Dangerous? This question is often asked by those considering taking up the sport. Like with most things in life, the answer is that it depends. While some inherent risks are involved with surfing, these can be mitigated with proper instruction and safety measures.

For starters, waves can be powerful and unpredictable. This means that beginner surfer may get tossed around a bit and possibly even take a few tumbles. However, with proper instruction on reading wave patterns and taking proper positioning, surfing can be relatively safe.

Additionally, wearing a leash attached to your surfboard can help prevent you from getting separated from your board and pulled under by the waves.

Surfing is a dangerous sport. Every year, hundreds of people are injured while surfing. Some of these injuries are minor, but others can be life-threatening.

Several factors make surfing dangerous. First, the waves can be very powerful and unpredictable. A wave can suddenly become much larger than it was a moment before, which can lead to surfing accidents.

Second, the surfboard itself can be dangerous. A surfboard can easily hit someone in the head or body, causing serious injury. Finally, the ocean is home to many dangerous creatures, such as sharks, which can pose a threat to surfers.

Once popular surfer was attacked by a great white shark just off the California coastline. The victim was killed after the shark bit him on both legs and pulled him underwater.

Despite the dangers of surfing, it is still a popular sport. Many people enjoy the challenge of riding waves and the feeling of exhilaration that comes with it. Surfing can be enjoyed safely with proper safety precautions, such as wearing a life jacket and avoiding dangerous areas.

Types Of Accidents While Surfing

There are two types of accidents while surfing. The first one would be a shark attack or a fatal accident. Surfing is not an extremely dangerous sport, but you should always exercise caution. Though it may seem like a relaxing and fun activity that anyone can do, there are many health risks involved in this sport.

Is Surfing Dangerous

Most accidents happen to beginners who aren’t familiar with balancing themselves on their boards. These people fall off their boards and hit the water at odd angles, break bones, and sometimes even sustain concussions if they hit their heads against the sand or rocks underneath them.

Other hazards include sun exposure and riptides, both of which can cause serious long-term health issues such as skin cancer and permanent damage to the back muscles.

Although it can be fun, you should never surf alone; always look out for your fellow surfers, and if you’re ever in doubt about a place where you feel unsafe surfing (i.e., places with territorial sea life), don’t go in the water!

You can stay safe by always wearing sunscreen, taking breaks from time to time, and avoiding areas with territorial sea life. I’m sure we all want to continue enjoying this sport we love so much; however, we must make sure that we are aware of what precautions to take when surfing.

Factors That Lead Towards Surf Accidents

There are many factors that can lead to surf accidents; some of them are discussed below,

Your Surf Board

Make sure your surfboard is the correct size for your height, weight, and experience. If you fall off of your board and hit your head at all, it can cause a concussion or even death if the injury is serious enough. Since most injuries happen to beginners, make sure you choose a lightweight board that doesn’t weigh much, so it’s easier to stay on top of as you’re learning how to balance yourself.

Also, be sure that your hands can comfortably fit around the grip; if they don’t, then you need a bigger surfboard!

Is Surfing Dangerous

Hot Sun Exposure

The hot summer sun will bake your skin until it is crisp like toast. It’s important to spend time in the shade and always apply sunscreen to your face, neck, chest, hands, and ears before going out into the sun.

If you have long hair that covers most of your ears, then be sure to put sunscreen on the sides of your face as well.

It’s also smart to pack a beach umbrella so you can find a nice patch of shade in which to relax between sets.

Is Surfing Dangerous

Sun exposure is very dangerous, and it can lead to serious cases of sunburn. Sun exposure leads to weakened immune systems, which means more time spent sick at home from surfing rather than going out there and having fun!

You should always wear sunglasses as well because they will protect your eyes by reducing glare, but they’ll shield them from harmful UV rays.

If you get sunburnt, be sure to coat yourself in Aloe vera gel. It soothes the irritated skin and allows it to heal faster than if you didn’t apply anything at all. Avoid going into the water if you get sunburnt because the salt water will sting your burnt skin and dramatically slow down the healing process!

Rip Tides

Eventually, all surfers encounter riptides, but not everyone knows how dangerous they are! Rip Tides occur when large waves push swimmers out further than they can handle or out through channels where the waves are crashing back towards shore.

Is Surfing Dangerous

The waves carry swimmers until they slam them against rocks or sand; this can cause serious injury or sometimes even death! If you find yourself in a riptide, stay calm and begin to swim parallel to shore until you can feel the tide start to weaken.

Make sure that your board is not between your legs because it will only weigh you down and cause even more problems! Once out of the riptide, paddle hard towards shore and try not to panic if another one comes along.


Although most sharks don’t actively hunt humans, they can still be dangerous, especially when territorial sea life begins to attack and defend their surrounding ocean territory. There hasn’t been a single shark attack on the Jersey Shore yet, but I am here to tell you all that it could happen on any given day, so please stay alert!

Is Surfing Dangerous

Never surf alone because if something does happen, then there is no one else to help you. Sharks are extremely sensitive to vibrations in the water so if you are paddling into a wave, be sure to do it quietly and efficiently.

If another surfer falls off their board or does something that causes vibrations, sharks can mistake him/her for prey, so always surf with someone! Take every precaution possible before going surfing. It can be extremely dangerous but also extremely rewarding.

The Level of Experience

Surfing can seem like a very easy sport to do; however, there is more that goes into this than you might think. People fall off of their boards and hit the water at odd angles several times until they’re finally able to stand up and ride down the wave. Practice makes perfect! Don’t push yourself too hard, and always take breaks if needed.

Also Read: 24 Best Surf Accessories You Should Buy

The Weather

Always pay attention to the weather before you go out into the water. If it is during a storm or hurricane, then you should not leave your house! Mother nature can be very dangerous and unpredictable, so make sure she isn’t angry with you before surfing.

Other Surfers

Surfing can be a very social sport so there is a good chance that you’ll be surfing with friends or even strangers! Make sure to communicate with your fellow surfers about where they are going and what wave they plan on catching. This will prevent any unnecessary accidents from occurring and ensure the safety of all of those involved.

Sharp Rocks

Even the smoothest pebbles can be extremely sharp and dangerous. If the area you’re surfing in has rocks, then it is best to stay away from them! Many surfers have gotten cut due to hitting these sharp rocks with their bare feet, which could lead to tetanus or, worse, blood poisoning.

Is Surfing Dangerous

People Riding Boats On The Waves

Boats go extremely fast, especially if you are near the back of one. If you’re surfing in an area that is known to have boats, then be very aware of your surroundings at all times! Surfers can easily become disoriented because they are so focused on catching waves and watching out for riptides or sharks that they forget to keep track of their location.

Boats will not be able to see you on the water, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times!


Jettys can be extremely dangerous because they are usually sticking out of the water and do not have railings on the sides. If you attempt to ride up onto one side of the jetty, there is a good chance that you will fall off your board and get stuck somewhere in between it. This can be very dangerous if no one sees you go overboard, so always stay away from them!

Is Surfing Dangerous

Deep Areas

It’s probably best to avoid deep water while surfing because not only can it feel odd when paddling, but some sea life may reside in these deeper regions. Sea urchins, stingrays, jellyfish, and crabs live in these deeper parts of the ocean so keep that in mind before going into the water.

Also Read: 7 Best Surf Backpacks | Top Budget Pick

Leash Tangles

It is best to unbuckle your leash before you hit the water. This way, if you do get tangled up in some coral or driftwood while surfing, it won’t cause any damage to your board. Sharks are attracted to movements on the water’s surface, so if you are paddling into a wave, be sure to do it quietly and efficiently.

Is Surfing Dangerous

Marine Life

Many types of marine life can be found in the ocean. Take note if you see any fish, turtles, jellyfish, or sharks before entering the water to ensure your safety and awareness!

Finally, don’t go into the water if you’re bleeding because this will bring sharks closer to where you are paddling around.

The Sea Bed

It is best to try and touch the sea bed before you paddle out into the water. Not only can it be uncomfortable to jump into water that is higher than your waist, but there could be rocks or coral just beneath the surface of the water, which will damage your board!

Is Surfing Dangerous


Some species of spiders live in the ocean, and they can inflict a lot of pain if they bite you. It is best to not go into any body of water where there have been reports of deadly spiders just to be safe! Make sure to enter the water with caution and awareness so that your surfing experience is both fun and safe.

Beach Hazards

Keep an eye on what’s going on around you while surfing because it’s easy for debris or even people to fall from the shore onto someone in between waves! Drowning accidents usually happen when surfers get distracted by their surroundings, so be careful!

Never let your guard down when entering a new area, especially after a shark attack has been reported nearby. Anyone can become a potential threat if they are not paying attention to their surroundings.

Is Surfing Dangerous

Crowds and Newbies

Sharks and crowds generally do not mix, so it is best to avoid areas where many people are surfing. If you don’t know how to catch waves yet, then hang back and wait until you gain some experience before paddling into the ocean! Taking your time is key if you don’t want any close encounters with dangerous marine life.

Is Surfing Dangerous

Conflicting Directions

If someone is trying to tell you which direction to paddle in, they probably don’t know what they’re talking about! Surfers who have been around for a while will often give conflicting directions because they want to keep their spot or try and help new surfers feel as lost as possible. Try not to follow anyone else’s directions when entering a new area.

Is Surfing Dangerous

Leash Grabbing

Never touch anybody’s board while it is attached to them with a leash because you could get seriously injured! Surfers take their leashes very seriously, and they will lash out if provoked. Make sure that the area you’re surfing in doesn’t have any sharp reefs or rocks just beneath the water’s surface before entering.

Enjoy surfing! Remember that it is dangerous, so stay away from deep areas and sharp rocks! This sport is very rewarding but always keep sight of your surroundings, so nothing happens to you out there on the waves!

Is Surfing Dangerous

Note: If something does happen while surfing, please stay calm and try not to panic. Try using your arms or legs to push yourself towards shore so people can help you there instead of on the water where the situation could get worse before improving! Be smart and be safe out there.

Also Read: 10 Best Skimboards in March: Durable & Robust

Few Safest Surfboards For Beginners

  • Verve 8ft Freestyle Surfboard
  • Rip curl 8ft
  • Verve 9ft Hybrid Freestyle Surfboard
  • Ruccus 7’11” Hybrid Longboard Surfboard

Types of Waves For Surfing

Waves are classified into 3 categories – left, right, and close-out waves. Depending on where they break or come ashore, you can tell which category they belong to. Lefts are considered the easiest to surf, but that doesn’t mean rights aren’t also easy! It all depends on how comfortable you are with surfing.

Is Surfing Dangerous

Left Side Waves

These waves break closer to the shoreline, more towards the left-hand side of the beach. They usually have a longer wave interval, so beginners will find them easier to catch because less effort is required to get up on the board.

Right Side Waves

As I said above, these waves break closer to the right-hand side of the beach. Again, the interval is usually longer, so beginners will have an easier time learning how to catch them.


These waves are considered dangerous because they break before the wave line & curl over without any warning whatsoever. It is extremely difficult to get up on these unless you’re a very experienced surfer and catch it just as it begins breaking.

Usually, professionals only ride close-out waves because they can be deadly if not taken seriously! The best advice I can give beginners who want to try surfing is that you should always watch another person catching a wave first and observe their technique.

This way, you’ll know what mechanics to do in order for you to successfully ride one yourself! Just remember, practice makes perfect, and don’t push yourself too hard. You’ll be surfing like a pro in no time!

Tips To Reduce Risk While Surfing

  • Before you hit the water, make sure to get all of your supplies together. Your surfboard, leash, leg ropes, wax, and sunscreen should be ready to go before you even set foot into the ocean. This reduces your risk of injury & helps you focus on attaining that perfect wave!
  • If there are other people riding waves in the area, then it’s best not to paddle out too far since incoming waves can easily knock you off balance. However, when catching a nice wave is part of your goal for the day, then definitely try paddling out as far as possible so when it does come rolling in, you’ll have enough speed to catch it!
  • Don’t forget to wear protective gear such as sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes. Also, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before & after surfing. This will help prevent any possible sunburns throughout the day.
  • Before you can even consider trying to catch a wave on your board, you must be able to paddle fast enough to get up to speed. To do this, focus on paddling harder rather than faster because it’ll give you more power when paddling against the flow of the incoming waves than if you were just going with them.
  • It may sound obvious but always check the weather conditions first! If they aren’t suitable for surfing, you don’t want to be caught in heavy rain or windy conditions, so make sure everything is okay before getting into the water! There is no point in surfing if you’re going to end up with hypothermia or get blown off the board by a gust of wind!
  • If you’ve done any research at all into surfing, then chances are you’ll have heard about sharks. Yes, they do inhabit the waters that we surfers play in, so it’s best to keep an eye out for fins and be on high alert when you see one! It’s also important not to splash around too much or take your eyes off what’s beneath you. You don’t want to attract any unwanted attention!


What is the best board for a beginner?

When it comes to choosing your first board, there are many things to consider. If you’re going with a soft-top, then make sure that its width is at least 5’11” or 180cm so you’ll have enough buoyancy to hold on tight! Paddleboards are great, but they usually only range from 6 feet in length, so unless you’re under 150 lbs, I wouldn’t recommend using one for surfing.

What accessories do I need?

You will definitely want to invest in some protective gear if surf conditions aren’t ideal. Definitely have a leash attached to your ankle and some high-quality surf wax & board sunscreen to reduce the risk of getting burned!

How do I get started?

I strongly recommend renting or buying yourself a cheap foam board before investing in an actual surfboard. Always remember, practice makes perfect, and relax if things don’t go right the first time.


Surfing might be relatively dangerous, but it is definitely worth the risk! Just make sure you’re equipped with everything you’ll need to stay safe and have fun while doing it. Good luck, take care, & enjoy your time out in the water!

If you found this article helpful, please share it with others interested in surfing or maybe looking for a new water sport to try out! I love all of the feedback coming in from people who have read my articles, so don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts, questions, & suggestions down below.

Also, if you think there’s any way I could improve my writing style, then definitely let me know! Thanks again for reading, and have a great rest of the day!

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