Why Wouldn't You Wear a Legrope?

28 Jan 2019 11 Share

Nick Carroll

Senior Writer

CW SURF SAFETY SERIES
Presented by Coastalwatch & Surf Life Saving New South Wales

Number two in a six part series, hosted by Nick Carroll.

Surfing’s not that safe. That’s why we dreamed up this series. As surfers, occasionally we get ourselves into danger. Sometimes — not often, but sometimes — it’s mortal danger. We also see other people in danger. But how many of us know what to do when things go pear-shaped in the ocean?

EPISODE TWO: WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BECOME A SAFER SURFER

SIX THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY

Get over yourself with the no leggie thing, for a start.

We’re not all gonna turn into Brian Keaulana overnight. What can you do first up, like immediately, to be a safer surfing citizen?

Wear a legrope. You want to know the most common way that extremely good surfers die? They hit the bottom at somewhere like the Pipeline and are knocked unconscious, then drown. The big difference between them and guys who hit the bottom and are knocked unconscious and don’t drown is the legrope. The attached surfboard “tombstoning” on the surface instantly tells everyone else that someone’s in too deep, and instantly tells them where to find the person. If you don’t wear a legrope, the board just drifts away, and you’re underwater with no way for anyone to find you till it’s too late. Same goes for you because it doesn’t have to be Pipeline. At any time, the legrope may turn into a lifeline. Oh and if you are longboarding and feel that leash-free surfing is a style call or a declaration of your personal freedom, congratulations and all, but get over it. The person you injure may not be you.

Health check. If you are over 40 years of age, and let’s face it more and more surfers are, you’re coming into the group which is most over-represented in surfing deaths — the heart attack crew. Do yourself a favour, get yourself properly checked out. You don’t HAVE to have a heart attack.

Dings. Fix ‘em. I’m always amazed at how often I come across fellow surfers bleeding in the water thanks to broken fibreglass. Like, why?

Listen to yourself. You don’t have to go out. Not ever. If something just seems off to you about a surf situation, pay attention to that sixth sense. Maybe it’s because it’s big, maybe it’s just awkward or weird, maybe you don’t have the right board — you don’t even need to know exactly why.

Keep your eyes open. There was a drowning death recently at Duranbah where a young man was sucked out through a rip in full view of numerous surfers. The surfers did nothing, which was interpreted as bad attitude in some circles. I bet they didn’t even notice what was happening.

Be ready to do something. You may not be needed in a surf induced crisis, but don’t be the person wallowing around wondering. One thing that typically prevents people from helping is a fear of legalities — that you might be sued if something goes wrong. It’s just not the case. You’re under no obligation to do anything, but if you do act, the law provides for your rescue training or lack of; you’re only expected to do what you can, not what a paramedic or trauma surgeon can. Just calling 000 or alerting others can be enough to make a difference.

Stay Tuned for the next episode: FIRST MOVES — what to do if you’re in the water and something goes wrong, like really wrong.

(Nick has all kinds of SLS qualifications and will definitely save you if necessary.)

Other Episodes

Episode One: Fact & Fiction

This series was made with thanks to:

Surfers: Nina Lindley & Dylan Wilkinson
Footage: Matt Dunbar, Surfer Films, Ethan Smith & Surfing NSW
Written & presented by Nick Carroll
Filmed & produced by Sally Mac

Over the series, Nick will:

  • Talk through some of the fact and fiction around who’s at risk in the water
  • Suggest six things everyone can do, like right away, to make things safe
  • Show you the first moves to make in a watery crisis
  • Demo a simple method of rescuing a person using your normal, everyday board
  • Do a step-by-step, surf-specific CPR instructional
  • Give you some ideas about resources if you want to take your rescue skills to the next level

Tags: video , surf safety series , nick carroll , safety , surf safety (create Alert from these tags)

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