Wiping Out

Lesson 18 Chapter 2

Bailing is when the wave in front of you shuts down and you have to jump or dive off your board (in deeper water).

To avoid any serious injury try to bail or jump off underneath the lip.

If the lip catches you, the full force of the wave known as the impact zone is going to drill you hard into the sand or reef.

By diving under the lip, you will come out the back of the wave. The wave will continue to try and suck you and your board towards the impact zone, so be careful of the leg rope as it may recoil itself with the pressure.

If you're surfing the wave all the way in, step back off the board and fall backward into the water. Be seriously careful if there is shallow water.

Bailing is also used when you are confronted by a wall of white water and you make a last minute decision to bail (ditch your surfboard and dive under the wave) to avoid turtle rolling and getting nailed by the wave.

There aren't too many differences between bailing and wiping out but its worth mentioning in case you pick up on a few new points.

How to bail safely on a wave

√ Kick the board out in front of you, away from you and anybody else

√ Make sure there is no one in front of you. Remeber your board and your legrope can extend to double the size so make sure you are aware of the distance your board will cover when you kick it out in front of you

√ Protect your head. You really want to be entering the water with your hands up in front of your head ready for impact

√ Roll up into a ball. Helps protect your major organs

Common mistakes

X Timing the kick out wrong and getting caught by the lip. This can often lead to serious injury

X Getting hit by the board. Rolling into a ball and protecting your head will help avoid any serious injury

Wrong choice. Only ever bail if you are 100% certain there is nobody in front or behind you

Part of learning is making mistakes and when you make progress you are likely to fall and wipeout on a number of different occasions.

When you're challenging yourself to reach new heights in your surfing you are going to be taking steeper drops, surfing bigger waves and be presented more and more in uncomfortable situations. Mistakes are going to happen.

The worst type of wiping out is getting lip launched. This is when the lip catches you and throws you over the falls into the flats of the wave. The wave crashes and you tumble around with the force of the broken wave. You may or may not experience boards snapping, getting winded and all round carnage.

Try to predict such events unfolding by not getting caught as the lip peels over. Try to either straighten out in front of the wave or turn off the back of the wave before it closes out.

How to wipe out safely

 Land softly on the water. The more experience you have with predicting when you're going to fall, the better you are going to execute how you will fall

√ Fall flat. The best way to enter the water is to spread your body like a starfish and ideally have all your parts of your body entering the water at the same time

√ Jump away from your board. If you know you're going to fall, use your last bit of balance to jump away from your board. The best place to jump is towards or over the wave

 Allow your body to be nimble. Whether you jump or fall off your board, always do so like you are jumping into a shallow pool and not the deep end

 Resurfacing after a wipeout come up with your hand first. Why? Because your fins could be above you on the surface and your leg rope could re-coil sending the surfboard towards your head

 Stay calm. Easier said than done but conserving energy and remaining calm will help you retain your air supply for longer

Common mistakes

Do not dive head first off your surfboard

Avoid wiping out in dumping waves and shallow waters as this could be bad

Panicking. The feeling of total helplessness is usually accompanied by panic. This is the worst thing you can do when you feel the wave sucking you in. Train your mind to stay calm

Not getting low enough under water. The ocean is usually calmer on the floor. So if you don't allow yourself to sink a little, you will stay in the impact zone of the wave and get washed around and tossed and turned

Losing your sense of direction. This can be a very frightening experience. Open your eyes to stay focused, to know which way is up