SURF SURGERY

Here’s your chance to ask the wise surfing owl about all your surf-re­lated co­nun­drums - from how to stop nose­div­ing to where to plan your next surf trip. No topic is too big, small or em­bar­rass­ing, so ask away.

Surf Girl - - Technique -

What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween surfing beach breaks and reefs?

- An­drea, Manch­ester

Gen­er­ally, reef breaks are for more ad­vanced surfers as they break onto shal­low ledges of rock. How­ever if you’re a com­pe­tent surfer the ben­e­fits are enor­mous be­cause you can usu­ally pad­dle out to the line-up in a chan­nel with­out hav­ing to duck-dive. Plus, the waves break me­chan­i­cally in the same spot and are longer, so you know ex­actly where to catch them and can prac­tice your moves over and over again.

With beach breaks, the waves don’t usu­ally peel for as long and don’t break in a con­sis­tent place or pat­tern. Beach breaks are great for be­gin­ners, as you can get to grips with all the skills in the gen­tle white wa­ter. How­ever, as you get bet­ter at surfing, to get out back you have to pad­dle and duck dive much more. Beach breaks are also more af­fected by cur­rents and wind. I’ve got a new board, how do I go about wax­ing it?

- Clau­dia, USA

Start by mark­ing out your wax­ing area with a base-coat wax in a cross-hatch­ing pat­tern. Use a slightly harder wax for this first coat, to cre­ate a good bump pat­tern. Be­gin by the tail and move up to­wards the nose. Cross-hatch­ing pre­pares the sur­face of the board, cre­at­ing a base tex­ture for the next layer of wax to grip onto. You want to make sure you wax over the com­plete area that your feet will be on. (There is noth­ing worse than slip­ping off your board be­cause you put the wax in the wrong places!)

Then add a top coat of softer wax, cre­at­ing a much stick­ier sur­face for your feet to grip to. Be sure to check the la­bel and buy the right top coat for where you are surfing, as this layer is af­fected by the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture (you don’t want it melt­ing off in trop­i­cal wa­ters). Ap­ply this wax with the same cross-hatch tech­nique as you did with the basecoat.

What are rip cur­rents and what should I do if I get in trou­ble in the sea?

- Caro­line, Aus­tralia

Rip cur­rents are caused by a body of wa­ter find­ing a chan­nel to flow back out to sea. Rips can usu­ally be iden­ti­fied from the shore as channels of deeper wa­ter (of­ten be­tween sand­bars) where the waves aren’t break­ing: the sur­face of the wa­ter is usu­ally rip­pled or choppy, and may be dis­coloured by sand. A strong rip cur­rent can quickly drag you out to sea. If you get caught in a rip, don’t try to pad­dle back to shore against the cur­rent, pad­dle across it to wher­ever the waves are break­ing.

Rip cur­rents are of­ten only 10 or 20 yards wide, so you can usu­ally es­cape their clutches quite eas­ily. Never panic and abort your board, as it’s your life raft.

I get painful ears af­ter I’ve been in the sea, why is this and how can I fix it?

- Amélie, France

Ear in­fec­tions are com­mon amongst surfers, es­pe­cially if you surf in cold wa­ter. The chilly con­di­tions can cause the bones in the nar­row canal to grow and wa­ter can get trapped, fur­ther­ing the risk of in­fec­tion. This is known as ‘Surfer’s Ear’ and if you ig­nore it for too long it can get very painful and may need surgery to be cured. To avoid this, all surfers should wear ear plugs in cold wa­ter, as they pro­tect ears from the wa­ter, cold air and con­tam­i­nants.You can buy a pair of Sur­fEars from The SurfGirl

Beach Bou­tique.

Do you have any tips on stay­ing fit for surfing over win­ter?

- Amanda, Corn­wall

As it be­comes harder to surf over the win­ter months, it’s im­por­tant to make sure your fit­ness doesn’t suf­fer – so join a gym or work­out at home. Our Surf Girl

Guide to Surf Fit­ness is packed full of surf­spe­cific work­outs that tar­get the ar­eas of your body that you need to keep strong and toned for surfing. If you’re work­ing out at home then in­vest in some kit like an ex­er­cise ball for core strength or an Indo Board to im­prove your co­or­di­na­tion and bal­ance while strength­en­ing your legs. Also make sure you stay ac­tive by swim­ming reg­u­larly, join an ex­er­cise or yoga class and plan a route around your lo­cal area for a bi-weekly run.

To send in a ques­tion, and be in with a chance to win a copy of e Surf Girl Hand­book, email the­wis­esur­[email protected] or­ca­surf.co.uk. Each is­sue we will give away a copy. e Surf Girl Hand­book is avail­able at the SurfGirl Beach Bou­tique.

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