Last Sunday we had a nice clean small swell with offshore winds, Caswell beach was very busy and ultimately a young surfer was hit by someones board and was knocked out, he was found floating by Brett Gillett (SurfGSD instructor) and Greg Healey of www.gowerlive.co.uk (an ex beach lifeguard) backed up by members of the Mumbles lifeguard club and beach rescue a spinal injury management procedure was implemented.
Ultimately, a bad situation was turned around due to the fact that there was trained surfers and lifeguards on the beach and in the surfing zone. This enabled the young lad after a brief stay in hospital to pop down to Caswell beach yesterday and thank everyone that helped in a well executed rescue.
It could have been worse, it could have happened out on the gower reefs or at another remote spot. Perhaps without anyone else around or only a few surf buddies with you.
Are you confident that you would know what to do? (If you are a swanseasurfer or based close to our gower beaches and use them, please see at the bottom of this blog to get info on surf incident training for surfers)
Prevention rather than cure
1) surf with a buddy
2) The surfer on the wave has priority, so get out of their way
3) If paddling out and a surfer is heading towards you, simply head into the impact zone (or soup), thereby not ruining the surfers ride
4) If surfing a wave like the 'reef' or Crab Island, never cut corners like the idiots last sunday, paddle all the way around so as to stay clear of the surfing zone
5) Do not sit in front of a take off spot (yet again like the idiots at crab on sunday) as if someone takes off on the outside they have a really good chance of running you over) back to rule number 2 the surfer has priority not you sitting on the inside catching the small waves
6) Ensure that the equipment you are using is 'fit for the purpose' and that you have a leg rope as it is irresponsible to surf a longboard/shortboard/piece of cheese in busy surf breaks without a leg rope and more importantly at busy beaches with swimmers, as if you lose the love of your life it will bounce with speed towards the shore and do a good imitation of a bowling ball taking all the skittles out on its lone trip to the beach
7) If you are hiring a surfboard ensure that you have had a surf lesson from an official British surfing Assoc' school and then only hire softboards which are good enough for 90percent of the surfing population on any given British day anyway, (try a swell board on a big day you will have so much fun I am addicted to the soft boards)
8) Know the beach/coastline you are going to surf before you jump in, speak to locals, check info on websites such as beachwizard, magicseaweed, surfs up etc and if there is a beach rescue service have a chat with them about potential dangers
9) The list goes on and on for more info check out the BSA website or RNLI
10) Do not stick your head in the sand or in the way of another surfer, get trained and know before you go
Surfers incident training this September on Gower, 2007
SurfGSD is offering you the chance to improve your knowledge for free, thats right free.... Well not exactly because you are going to have to get to the beach and dedicate 45 mins of your life, surf or no surf.
The session will encompass basic ABC of resuscitation and what if scenarios, for example your friend is hit by a surfboard, what are you going to do?
To book on these evening classes simply email simon on the following email and please put surf abc for subject firstname.lastname@example.org we will try to train as many surfers as we can in the four weeks of September, places will be limited.