Surfing injuries can persist for a long time if not properly treated. Most occur due to incorrect technique or poor physical conditioning, but many can be resolved or prevented with the right exercises and treatment. These are the five most common surfing related injuries.
Surf watches are an increasingly useful piece of gear for serious surfers and surf sports participants.
Over the last decade, the quality and performance of surfing watches for men and women has improved dramatically, with the latest models now featuring lunar phases, sunrise and sunset times, and tide levels for hundreds of popular surf spots around the world.
Durability is a vital characteristic for a piece of equipment that will spend much of its time immersed in salty water. Besides being waterproof, surf sports watches must be corrosion-resistant, shockproof, and they must be able to withstand the pressure of large waves, deep wipe-outs, and long hold-downs.
And a secure strap is essential. There's nothing worse than scrambling to paddle over a bomb set, just as your expensive timepiece begins to slip off. A resin or polyurethane strap will generally be more resistant to corrosion and oxidisation than leather or metal.
Top-of-the-line surfing watches also feature GPS trackers, gyroscopes and accelerometers that log your session, wave count, speed, distance travelled, and total time in the water. These details can later be uploaded to an app on your PC or smartphone and used to track your progress, or to share your top sessions with your mates. This also lets you review your best sessions, along with the swell, tide and wind conditions logged for that day, so you’ll be better able to judge those days when it might be worth pulling a sickie to repeat your past success.
Most good surfing watches are digital rather than analogue. That’s because you can pack a lot more information into a digital display, and the absence of moving parts makes a digital watch better able to withstand pressure and impact. And when it comes to recharging your watch, plugging in a standard USB charger simply isn’t an option if you want a waterproof device. This means surf watches are either solar powered, or charged via external waterproof electrodes on the outer casing.
A great surf watch can revolutionise the way you approach surfing and other ocean-based activities, by helping you to select the optimum surf breaks, log your progress, remember your best sessions, and hone your surfing technique by making sure you hit the water on the best days. Ultimately, this should encourage you to spend more quality time in the ocean. And that’s always a good thing.
This guide presents the top five surf watches for 2016. These models are sure to enhance your surfing sessions for many years to come, and they’re all available through Amazon.com, with free shipping in many cases.
As any surf ironman, ironwoman, triathlete, or regular ocean swimmer will tell you, swimming in the sea is very different to swimming in a pool.
For one thing, viewing and sighting in open water is significantly more difficult. As an ocean swimmer, you must regularly lift your head to ‘sight’ marker buoys or landmarks, in order to correctly orientate yourself and stay on course during a triathlon or ocean swim event.
But glare can be a major issue when swimming in open water on a bright day, especially when you’re swimming directly towards the sun. And the clear lenses on normal goggles are designed for indoor use, offering no protection from the sun’s harsh rays.
So for ocean swimmers, a darker tint is preferable. Dark blues, reds, greens, or smoke colors excel in bright environments, reducing the amount of light absorbed by your eyes (similar to a pair of sunglasses). UV protection and metalised (mirrored) lenses are also a great idea if you’ll be swimming in strong sunlight.
And since the ocean is deeper, darker and murkier than a well-lit pool, you’ll want top quality lenses, with an anti-fog coating to reduce condensation during your swim.
Many brands produce goggles designed specifically to address the challenges faced by open water swimmers. These goggles boast superior peripheral vision, with high-quality anti-glare, polarised or mirrored wide-angle lenses, and comfortable gaskets and straps.
Ocean swimmers frequently practice or race for extended periods of time — often going for several hours without a break, so comfort is a vital consideration. It’s not easy to stop and adjust your straps in the open sea, especially when surface conditions are windy or choppy, so it's best to choose goggles constructed using soft silicone, with cushioned rubber seals and dual or split straps. These will remain in place and distribute pressure more evenly over a wide area for a gentle yet secure fit.
Some brands employ a design that resembles a snorkel mask, without the closed nose, offering a larger, more secure and more comfortable seal than traditional swimming goggles. This helps ensure your goggles stay firmly in place as you dolphin-dive through breakers, bodysurf waves back to shore, or jostle with other swimmers around the cans (because ocean swimming can be a contact sport at times!).
Ultimately, the best pair of goggles is the one that works for you, and it’s inevitable that you’ll need to try several models before you find a perfect fit. Clarity and comfort, rather than appearance, should always be your priority when selecting ocean swimming goggles. Fortunately, goggles aren’t an overly expensive item of equipment, and if (like most serious ocean swimmers) it takes you a while to find your ideal pair, then at least you’ll have plenty of spares to lend to fellow swimmers.
The guide below presents the top five ocean swimming goggles for 2016. These goggles are all designed to minimise glare, enhance visibility in turbid waters, remain securely and comfortably in place, and hopefully help you on your way to a new personal best.
All selected models may be purchased through Amazon and can be delivered to the USA, Australia and most other countries (with free shipping in many cases). And of course, these goggles are also perfectly suitable for river, lake, and even pool swimming, as well as ocean use.
This remarkable image was snapped by environmental photojournalist Thomas P. Peschak.
And no, it's not fake, photoshopped, or digitally manipulated in any way. In fact, Peschak’s most famous photograph was simply shot on slide film using a Nikon F5 camera and 17-35 mm lens.
It was originally published in the September 2005 issue of Africa Geographic. That article presented a study of Great Whites in South Africa by Peschak and fellow biologist Michael Scholl. Since sharks can be either repelled or attracted by the electrical fields emitted by a boat's engine, Peschak and Scholl had chosen to use kayaks to study the sharks' behaviour. Unlike motorised vessels, kayaks are easily manoeuvred in shallow waters, and they have no noisy engines that might disturb the sharks in their natural habitat.
The scientists hoped to discover why large groups of Great Whites regularly swim so close to beaches during the summer months (it was determined that they venture inshore to interact socially with others of their species, and use the opportunity to mate and give birth).
The kayaker was marine biologist Trey Snow, who had hoped to stealthily track the local sharks, but found the tables turned when he looked around to find himself stalked by one of the ocean’s most feared predators.
Snow described sitting in a three-metre yellow sea kayak, watching the approach of a five-metre shark, as a tense and nerve-wracking experience. While the scientists had previously tested the sharks' reactions to empty kayaks, and noted no signs of aggression, this was the first time they had come face-to-face with one of the creatures.
Nothing kills your surfing enthusiasm quicker than the thought of silent toothy predators lurking below. The glimpse of a fin, or a dark shadow in the water, can strike panic into the heart of even the most experienced surfer or ocean swimmer.
The majority of shark attacks occur in shallow water close to the coast, where large numbers of surfers, swimmers, and sharks occupy the same space. And while the odds of an encounter are remote, the gruesome and unpredictable nature of a shark attack affects us at a primal level.
Humans, like all mammals, possess an innate terror of being eaten alive. And when we’re floating unprotected in the ocean, we’re no longer at the top of the food chain.
Sharks see only in black and white, but they also boast the most sensitive electro-magnetic receptors of all known animals, which they use to evaluate shape, proximity, and even the heart rate of nearby creatures. These electrical receptors are small, gel-filled sacs called Ampullae of Lorenzini. On most occasions, the sharks get it right and leave humans alone – we’re generally not on the menu. But sometimes a curious shark might take a nibble, just to figure out what we are. These unprovoked hit-and-run encounters are the most common form of attack.
Some common-sense precautions can mitigate the already low risk. Avoid cloudy, turbid, or murky waters, and leave the water quickly if baitfish are present, especially when they're breaking the surface, as this normally means something is pursuing them from below (look out for seabirds diving at the baitfish). Dusk and dawn are also more dangerous, since these are typically feeding times for sharks, and reduced visibility increases the probability that a shark might mistake you for breakfast.
In the unlikely event that a shark does approach, you should be prepared to defend yourself. Striking the shark on the nose, or gouging at its eyes, may make it reconsider the attack and move away. In August 2015, surfing star Mick Fanning successfully used this approach to deter an inquisitive shark at the J-Bay Open Surf Event in South Africa, as shown in the terrifying clip below.
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