If adventure is what you are after, surfing might just be the sport for you. With great waves and lots of beaches Ireland offers some of the best surfing in Europe. Remember though, you can experience the thrills of the surf without taking risks.

From beginners to experienced surfers, we all need to respect the water and others. Before taking out your board be aware of the associated dangers on the water. Many surf schools provide lessons and will give practical demonstrations.

There is some basic surf etiquette you can follow which will make your life and those of others easy. The surfer closest to the peak has priority and you should never ‘drop in’ on anybody else. To avoid collision, paddle for white water or paddle wide on the shoulder.

  • Learn to swim.
  • Get proper instruction at an ISA approved surf school or club.
  • Check local knowledge with lifeguards or experienced surfers.
  • Study the waves and only go surfing if you are capable in the conditions which prevail. Stick to beaches until you are experienced – it is important to avoid overconfidence.
  • Learn to observe the ocean to identify rips, wind changes and other hazards – if caught in a rip always paddle across current to safety.
  • Never go surfing at night when darkness is approaching.
  • When you “wipeout” wait before coming to the surface too soon and protect your head with your arms as you come to the surface. Wear a safety helmet.
  • Check your equipment, especially your leash. Remember it is much easier to spot a brightly coloured board and wetsuit at sea in the event of you requiring rescue.
  • Never go out in the surf alone.
  • Check the weather and tides before you paddle out. Spring high tides can make entering and exiting the water dangerous.
  • Advise someone ashore where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Have respect for other surf users and be prepared to ask for advice.
  • Always check behind you for other water users before abandoning your surfboard to dive under a wave – by doing so you will not be a hazard to other water users.
  • If you find yourself in difficulty stay calm, do not discard your board, wave your arms in the air to attract attention and shout for help. Remain composed, help will come.