I have grown up in the water.
I’ve been swimming training for as long as I can remember and swum more km’s than I care to forget.
I have bodysurfed, surfed, body boarded, board paddled, SUPed and Jetski’ed too. I have 10,000+ hours as a lifeguard and have 1000+ rescues under my belt.
Just relax and go with the flow
Today I thought we should talk about panic.
Below is a photo of me and I’m pretty sure I get a serious beating after it, but after years of practice, I’m able to relax and let the wave take me.
This means I maintain a lower heart rate, think more clearly and give myself every chance of survival.
If I was to panic in that situation and try and fight against the wave holding me under, my heart rate would increase, I would use up my stored oxygen in my bloodstream and I would get exhausted quicker.
This is similar to a non-swimmer who panics in a rip.
They throw their arms around and fight against the current or rip.
These are the people that will go under due to exhaustion but the non-swimmer in a rip who does not panic and does not fight against the rip and can manage to stay calm will probably be ok and get washed in or rescued.
Try it next time you get dumped by a wave (if you’re ready for that step of course!).
See if you can relax and let the wave take you where it wants to.
Relax if you can! If you can’t, don’t worry, keep working at it. Like anything, it takes a bit of practice.
One last safety note: When a big or small wave does take you I would recommend you roll to protect your head and neck so that if you are slammed onto the bottom, you should roll onto your shoulder to protect yourself from a possible spinal injury.