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Catching Waves and Caution: The Unseen Risks of Surfing

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Surfing, a leisurely sport that many people enjoy every summer at the beach to catch waves, may not always be safe. With the growing popularity of surfing, especially in sports like Yangyang in Gangwon Province, it’s essential to understand the potential risks before hitting the beach.

Mastering Precise Paddling Skills is a Must

Paddling, an essential surfing move, involves lying on your board and paddling to your destination. If you put too much strength into your arms or dip your hands too deep into the water, the water resistance increases, straining your shoulder joints. Shoulder pain after surfing is common among beginners who have been surfing for less than a year. It’s crucial to master the proper paddling technique before surfing.

Enjoyable For All Four Seasons

Surfing is a sport that is not limited to the summer months. Despite the cold, many people enjoy winter surfing for the quality of the waves. When surfing in the cold winter, equipping yourself with a hat and shoes will help ensure safety in the water. Due to its popularity, the first artificial surfing spot is being planned for Yangyang Beach. Upon completion, it will have a retractable dome and artificial wave facilities, allowing year-round surfing.

Ever Heard of Surfer’s Myelopathy?

Surfer’s Myelopathy is a rare neurological disorder that can occur while surfing, especially when the hyperextension posture of overly bending the back is repeated. The action of standing upright and bending your back is repeated while surfing. If the spinal blood vessels are shocked during this time, vascular swelling and ischemic damage can occur due to reduced blood supply. If blood doesn’t flow to the vessels, nerve damage can occur, leading to urinary and fecal disorders and weakening of the lower body muscles.

Be extra careful on the first day!

Surfer’s Myelopathy often occurs on the first day of learning to surf. You can easily strain your back when you’re performing unfamiliar bodily movements. At the same time, surfing and the risk is even higher when the body isn’t properly warmed up before heading to surf.

Adequate Exercise Before Surfing is a Must

Adequate warm-up exercises before surfing are essential. Surfing is a challenging and attractive activity among marine sports, but safety is always a top priority due to the potential high risks. If you’re a beginner, you should warm up thoroughly. Immediately stop surfing and take a break when you feel a sudden loss of strength in your legs or severe back pain while riding the waves.

Prepare Your Muscles

Strengthen and activate muscles that aren’t commonly used to take full advantage of the range of motion gained from stretching. It is not just about developing specific body parts but about keeping a balance in overall muscle development. It’s also good to combine aerobic exercises, such as walking or running on the beach, which can be very helpful.

Be Aware of Shoulder Dislocation

Be cautious about shoulder dislocation, which refers to the shoulder joint coming out of its normal position. This can be accompanied by tendon rupture or cartilage damage. If you force the bone back into place, the damage can worsen, so you must seek treatment from a specialist at a hospital. It would be best if you also were careful not to rotate your shoulder excessively to avoid a rotator cuff tear. Once a joint is damaged, it doesn’t naturally recover and can lead to arthritis, so accurate diagnosis and treatment are paramount.

Develop the Ability to Handle Dangerous Situations

During surfing, you may inevitably face dangerous situations. It’s essential to exercise the ability to handle the situation calmly. For this, you need to familiarize yourself in advance with self-rescue methods in the water and signal transmission methods in emergencies. Based on the knowledge learned during the training course, you should be able to respond appropriately in actual situations. It’s also important to minimize injuries by wearing life jackets, ankle straps, etc. Don’t forget to check the weather and wave conditions before surfing.

A method of marine healing

Surfing is a sport enjoyed on the waves and a method of ‘marine healing.’ Marine healing refers to therapy using marine resources such as seawater, marine climate, sand, and seafood. The strong sea breeze enhances body temperature regulation and metabolism, boosting immunity, and the intense ultraviolet rays can also help alleviate depression. Moreover, the sound of the waves, a type of white noise, can also increase a sense of psychological stability.

Be careful with all exercises that strain the back

Experts warn that the same symptoms of Surfer’s Myelopathy can appear when doing other exercises that strain the back, such as Pilates, yoga, and acrobatics, not just surfing. While it used to occur mainly in resort areas, the number of cases in Korea has gradually increased with the growing surfer population.

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