The night before we travelled down to Devon for our latest surf trip, I found out about a terrible tragedy involving three surfers in Cornwall. When I discovered it had happened at Mawgan Porth, one of my favourite surf spots, and the place where 4 years ago I learnt to surf, I was shocked and mortified.
Seven people in total, 4 children and 3 adults got stuck in a rip current. The four children were saved, but despite the efforts of the coastguard and emergency services, the adults lost their lives.
I don’t understand why this happened. Surely it could have been avoided? If the surf conditions weren’t great (the surf was big on the day), why did they enter the water? What happened to their surfboards and why doesn’t the beach have lifeguards until at least the end of the October half term holidays like many other UK beaches?
These are all questions that have been asked by so many – the answers to which will hopefully be answered through a review into what exactly happened.
Know your limits!
The tragedy really played on my mind during the night and throughout the journey down to Devon. I felt nervous about getting in the water. I have felt the power of a rip, even in ankle deep water, and it’s frighteningly strong.
It’s one of the reasons why I’m improving my fitness. I know what to do if I get caught in a rip, but I want the confidence of knowing that I have the strength to get back to the beach.
But I’m also not going to stop doing what I love and letting fear hold me back. It’s about getting a balance between a ‘healthy’ fear (being prepared) and being over cautious. Knowing my limits whilst having fun and enjoying what I do.
I would stress on anyone to please check the surf (and the weather) before getting in. If you’re not sure, ask someone – a lifeguard, a local, someone who knows what they are talking about. And if you have never surfed before, have a lesson instead of just trying to fathom it out for yourself. You will not only learn to surf, but find out about the sea and the particular break where you are surfing – hazards such as rips, the tides etc.
It could literally save your life.
Stay safe everyone…