Health & Safety and Understanding the Risks of Surfing and Bodyboarding

Beginner, Intermediate, Waikiki, Advanced, Advanced Plus and Expert Waves – Understanding the Risks

Surfing and bodyboarding are physically challenging and carry risks that we cannot entirely eliminate, including damage to property, personal injury and in extremely rare circumstances, even death. You should only participate in surf and bodyboarding sessions at The Wave with a full understanding of the risks and the steps you can take to minimise them. The minimum age to participate in these sessions is 6 years old and all participants must be able to swim 25m unaided.

Choosing the right session

Our surfing and bodyboarding sessions are graded by ability. It is your responsibility to read the session descriptions and to ensure that you are competent to take part safely in your chosen session. If, during a session, we feel that you are not competent and may put yourself or others at risk, we reserve the right to remove you from the session without refund or compensation.

We strongly advise that you begin with the easier sessions and work your way up. If you have any questions at all about the level of skill required for a session, please ask a member of The Wave Staff or contact our Customer Service Team.

Types of Injuries

Most surfing injuries are not serious. The main cause of injury is contact with a surfer’s own board or someone else’s board. Injuries can also result from contact with the lake floor, which is made of concrete. It is important to follow all instructions on how to safely dismount your surfboard to avoid contact with the lake floor.

The most common types of surfing injuries are:

  • Cuts and scrapes, sprains and bruises to the head, face, shoulder and arm.
  • Injuries to feet and ankles as a result of jumping from surfboards in shallow water.
  • Overuse injuries such as repetitive strain of the neck and rotator cuff tendonitis.
  • Cramp.
  • Fatigue and exhaustion. Tiredness can diminish your reaction time and increase the risk of accident.
  • Sun Burn.

Although most injuries are not serious, surfing also carries the risk of fractures, dislocations, severe injuries to the head, neck or back or other injuries that may result in permanent disability and death. A previous injury, for example to your knee or shoulder, can increase your chance of sustaining a subsequent injury.

Preventing Surf Injuries

There are steps you can take to minimise the chances of sustaining an injury whilst surfing or bodyboarding at The Wave.

  • Watch our Health and Safety briefing and follow all the instructions of the instructors and lifeguards.
  • Warm up thoroughly before your surf or bodyboard session.
  • If you cramp up, stay calm and signal for help from one of our lifeguards.
  • Wear good quality waterproof sunscreen.
  • Before surfing or bodyboarding check all your equipment for damage.
  • Be aware of your environment and other people in the lake.
  • Be honest with yourself about your ability and chose the right session for your fitness level.
  • Listen to your body. If you are tired, take a break.
  • Dismount your surfboard safely. Never jump off your board feet first. Follow all the instructions of the surf coaches on how to safely fall, including falling backwards like a starfish into deeper water where possible.
  • If you fall off your board, always cover your head and face with your arms.
  • We recommend wearing a helmet. Helmets are compulsory for all under 18s and all surfers in the Beginner Bay. Whilst no helmet can protect the wearer against all potential injuries, the use of a helmet will provide extra protection to your head and face.
  • Follow the Surfing Etiquette set out below.
  • If you have any questions – ask!

Surfing Etiquette

  • Respect the rights of other surfers and bodyboarders in the water.
  • Be aware that other surfers and bodyboarders in your session may have varying skill levels.
  • Be patient. Wait for your wave. Don’t drop in on someone else.
  • Don’t ditch your board. Always wear your leash and try to maintain control of your board to avoid it hitting you or someone else.
  • If you fall, cover your face and head until your board is under control. Once you have control of your board, safely move out of the way of other surfers.
  • Don’t get in the way. Paddle back out through the channel and not in front of other people riding the waves.
  • Choose the right surf session for your ability level.
  • Help and support other people in the water.

Beginner Bay Health and Safety Video

This video is for surfers in our Beginner Lesson or Beginner Session No Lesson experiences.

Important: All surfers must watch our Health & Safety video as part of signing their waiver, even if they have watched it before. You will receive an email with a link to watch the Health & Safety video and sign your waiver, you must watch the Health & Safety video as part of the waiver signing process, even if you watch the video now.

All surfers must watch the Health & Safety video and sign their waiver before arriving on-site.

Reef Health and Safety Video

This video is for surfers on our Waikiki, Intermediate, Advanced, Advanced Plus and Expert sessions.

Important: All surfers must watch our Health & Safety video as part of signing their waiver, even if they have watched it before. You will receive an email with a link to watch the Health & Safety video and sign your waiver, you must watch the Health & Safety video as part of the waiver signing process, even if you watch the video now.

All surfers must watch the Health & Safety video and sign their waiver before arriving on-site.