Surfing is a very popular activity with an estimated 18 million surfers globally, with both males and females of all ages enjoying the sport.

Surfing is regarded as a safe sport and the overall risk of injury is low. Injuries that do occur are usually minor, such as lacerations and sprains.

The main cause of injury is contact with a surfer’s own board or that of another surfer. ‘Wiping out’ and striking the seabed can also cause injury to surfers.

There are many ways a surfer can prevent injury, and much of staying safe in the surf involves common sense, so before you grab that surfboard keep these safety tips in mind:

Man surfing on a wave

Good preparation

Warm up before surfing. This may include a general body warm up followed by suitable stretches.

30+ sunscreen should be worn at all times.

Good technique

New or novice surfers should participate in a Surfing Australia accredited surf school to learn appropriate skills and technique and water safety.

Surfing Etiquette

  • Respect the rights of other surfers in the water.
  • Allow everyone to catch their share of waves.
  • Only one surfer on a wave at a time. This will prevent collisions, injury and conflict in the water.

Appropriate Practises

  • Don’t surf alone.
  • Make sure children are supervised at all times.
  • Check weather and beach conditions before entering the surf.
  • Consume water before, during and after surfing.

Correct Equipment

  • Seek professional advice when purchasing a surfboard.
  • Consider a board with flexible fins and a blunt nose or protective nose guard.
  • Wear a wetsuit for buoyancy, sun protection and to prevent seabed abrasions.
  • Wear a leg rope, especially in large surf.

If you’d like to see how easy an experienced surfer makes catching a wave look, please see here.

If an injury occurs:

  • Stop surfing immediately and seek prompt medical treatment.
  • If you have a previous injury consult a sports medicine professional to ensure you are fit to surf.
  • Have a mobile phone close by in case of emergency.

Smartplay has a Preventing Surfing Injuries Fact Sheet available to download from the Resources/Sport Fact Sheets section of this website. To obtain a hardcopy of the brochure please contact Smartplay on 9674 8777, or email

And if you would like some information of other ways in which you can get back to nature, please see here.