If you are reading this, then you must be one of the few strong and fearless female surfers in the world. As a lady surfer in a male-dominated sport, however, you have probably realized that there are some extra things us girls need to be aware of, every time we paddle out.
This is a quick list of some tips, tricks, and surf hacks that I’ve learned the hard way, to make surfing safer and easier on my body.
1. Get a good swimsuit
That itsy bitsy bikini might look great on your Instagram feed, but it’s more than likely not going to stay in place. Instead, it will be constantly slipping, sliding, chafing, and revealing much more than you had bargained for.
Furthermore, this tip goes beyond avoiding wardrobe malfunctions. Consider the environment you are going to be surfing in. Do you need a wetsuit? Would a one-piece be ideal? Take your time and don’t be afraid of investing a pretty penny in your sports equipment.
Trust me, you’re going to want to chase waves, and not bikini bottoms.
2. Try not to surf alone
Surfing is a dangerous sport. Many beaches with excellent waves also have riptides, strong undercurrents, sharp coral reefs underneath, or large crowds trying to catch the same waves. These conditions increase the risk of injury, especially for new surfers.
Always make sure you go surfing with a buddy. Even having someone on the beach watching you can help prevent all kinds of emergencies and ultimately make your surfing experience more fun and safer.
If you’re a beginner surfer, or you have some experience but you aren’t familiar with the area you’re surfing in, take a surf class. It’s a great way to meet some of the locals, familiarize yourself with the area you’re surfing and have someone in the water with you watching your back.
3. Tie your hair back
This may seem like a silly tip, but it’s possible to drown from drenched hair getting caught in your mouth. If your hair is long enough to tie back, do it.
Incidents of hair causing people to drown, have been reported. Whether from inhalation, or getting caught on something that prevented the person from reaching the surface, excessive hair can be deadly in the water.
Truthfully, when it comes to any kind of high-performance athleticism, it’s always better to have your hair up. Not to mention, keeping your hair in a ponytail will help prevent damage from saltwater and keep those locks luscious.
4. Don’t be afraid to wipe-out
Surfing is a rough sport, and if you spend your whole time in the water afraid to wipe-out, you aren’t going to learn. It’s an essential part of surfing and it can’t be avoided. So stretch, warm-up, relax and get out there.
When wiping-out, make sure you hold your breath, relax, tuck into a ball, cover your head with your hands, and when the water has calmed down, follow the leash of your board back up surface.
Ultimately, don’t be afraid to wipe-out. It can definitely be gnarly, and you might get some water in your nose, but it’s all part of the fun.
5. Stand up for yourself
As you have probably noticed, female surfers are pretty rare.
Therefore, a lot of the dudes out at the break-point don’t quite know how to interact with a female surfer. Surfing can be quite dangerous and intense, and it is pretty normal for collisions to happen, waves to be stolen, or tempers to get hot out in the water.
If this happens, stand up for yourself.
You have every right to surf these same waves. You don’t need advice on how to surf (unless you ask for it), and you don’t need to be afraid of going after waves.
Don’t be intimidated, stand your ground, be safe, and have fun.
6. Shower ASAP after surfing
It is proven that ocean water and saltwater can be therapeutic for the skin. Long-term exposure to salt on the skin, however, can cause a rash, irritation, dryness, redness.
Remember, the skin is the largest organ in our bodies. Long-term exposure to salt is detrimental to any kind of living tissue, and will eventually cause dehydration and cell breakdown.
In addition, saltwater on the skin can be extremely difficult to remove with traditional soaps, according to The Dermal Institute. After the water has dried, it’s even more difficult to remove these salt deposits. Showering after surfing helps to remove the salt on your skin, keep skin hydrated, avoid rashes, and stay stronger, for longer.
7. Put on dry bikini bottoms ASAP after surfing
This is something I wish someone had told me. Following this tip will help prevent unwanted yeast, bacterial, or urinary tract infections that can be caused by long-term ocean water exposure.
Sitting in wet bikini bottoms allows bacteria, yeasts, and fungi to flourish within the damp, dark environment. If you are prone to these kinds of infections or plan on sunbathing for a few hours after the surf session, changing into fresh, be sure to bring a change of bikini bottoms.
Dry bottoms will allow air to flow and will help to keep our bodily pH normal when out of the water.
8. Moisturize yourself
After hours of salt, sun, and sweat, rehydrate yourself as well as your skin.
Residual salt deposits can still remain on the skin and continue to dry you out, even after showering. Therefore, moisturizing your skin will rehydrate, and lock in all the water and nutrients your skin needs, post-surf session.
Unfortunately, a lot of lotion companies contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that actually damage the skin and the environment. The best options are natural based lotions, or oils like shea, aloe, or coconut to moisturize your hydrate your skin post-surf session.
I always have sunscreen and natural lotion in my beach bag, so I always have it on hand. If you need some inspiration, check out our post 5 Best Eco-Friendly Sunscreens to find the one that’s right for you.
9. Have fun!
At the end of the day, it’s all about having a good time. Get out there, be safe, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
I hope these tips, tricks, and words of advice will help you to not be intimidated, stay safe, keep your swimsuit in place, and stay fresh after the session.
Good luck, and have fun.