Surfing. The sport and culture that seems so fun, laid back, and carefree in those campy 1960s movies like Gidget and Beach Blanket Bingo. Or outright scary after seeing Soul Surfer, the 2011 film about surfer Bethany Hamilton’s recovery and life after losing her left arm from a shark attack while surfing. But the reality is somewhere in the middle – surfing isn’t as frivolous or as horrific as Hollywood portrays it.
In general, surfing is considered a safe sport with a low injury rate compared to other sports, such as football and basketball. But just like other physical activities and sports, accidents happen, and injuries will occur. Injuries range from minor, like bruises, cuts and scrapes, strains and sprains, and overuse injuries, to major, like dislocations, broken bones, and head injuries. Though not truly an injury, surfers can also suffer from ear infections, as well as pain inflicted by nature, like jellyfish stings and sunburn. Statistics show the majority of injuries, and some of the more severe wounds, result from impacts with the surfboard itself – either from a surfer’s own board or that of another person.
Lacerations are the most common damage done to the body, particularly to the legs and torso, when surfing. They account for nearly half of all surfing-related injuries. And most lacerations come from the skegs, those 6- to 8-inch fiberglass fins with very sharp trailing edges. Statistics also show that the inexperienced surfer is more prone to get hurt, again, like other sports.
That is why surfboards geared toward beginners have soft surf fins. These soft plastic fins are designed with flexibility in the top and lack the sharp edge of traditional fins. On the plus side, this means a surfer will not get cut if the board’s fin hits them. But the drawback is performance. These safety surf fins degrade speed and drive, diminishing the forward momentum a surfer wants.
Fins also help a surfer maneuver their boards, aiding with turns and movement along a wave as the surfer shifts their weight and adjusts their stance. But traditional soft surf fins bend when pressure is applied, again impacting a board’s behavior, hindering turns, particularly sharp, quick turns.
But surfers can have the best of both worlds, the protection of safety surf fins and the performance of a rigid fin. The award-winning Australian 3D GOHARD/Soft surf fins have a rigid core surrounded by a soft outer layer. This means surfers get all the speed and maneuverability of a hard fin with the safety that comes with a soft fin.
With anywhere from 23 to 35 million surfers worldwide, surfing is a popular form of recreation across the globe. With a little care and the right equipment, the risk of major injury is small, but the rewards are great. To quote the Beach Boys, “... go catch some rays on the sunny surf/And when you catch a wave you’ll be sitting on top of the world”.
Surf Fins | Thrusters