POINT BREAK: Surfers enjoy the waves at Point Cartwright.
POINT BREAK: Surfers enjoy the waves at Point Cartwright. Brett Wortman

It’s just not always a swell time out there

A SLICE to the face, back strains and head injuries.

These are the painful injuries that come with the territory of being a surfer.

From the most experienced wave rider to a novice learning the ropes and those who hit the waves as a hobby, bad luck can strike anyone at any time.

Become entwined in a wipe-out and you could see a board slamming towards your face.

While surfers have rejoiced with the recent swell - the best in months - the extra bodies in the water have meant an increase in surfing injuries.

Coast surf legend Robbie Sherwell said in most cases a surfing injury came when a board hit its owner when caught in a wipe-out.

"A lot of the time it's just down to sheer bad luck," Mr Sherwell said.

"I've had 160 stitches over the years surfing and all but about 10 were from the board hitting me."

Sunshine Coast Lifeguard Service supervisor for the southern area Rhys Drury said the building swell had kept the teams busy over the weekend.

He said over the past few days lifeguards helped treat minor injuries including some nasty cases of chop fin.

"We are there on the spot performing first aid to try our very best to fix the situation until the paramedics arrive," Mr Drury said.

Sunshine Coast paramedic Helen Lloyd-Jones said an ambulance was often called to the beach for a variety of reasons including suspected spinal injuries for dumping waves and facial injuries and lacerations from boards.

"It doesn't even matter sometimes if it's light swell or big swell, it's usually just an accident," Ms Lloyd-Jones said.

"Injuries range from minor to quite severe, from small lacerations and soft tissue injuries from being hit with a board to people with dislocated shoulders when they go through a wave with their board and are flung backwards."



  • Become a strong swimmer
  • Keep your head up and always look behind you. Waves and surfers tend to pop up suddenly without warning
  • Avoid crowds
  • Keep your board beside or behind
  • Never paddle behind other surfers
  • Never throw your board. If a big wave is coming at you, know how to push through, roll or duck-dive
  • When you take a fall or wipe-out, fall backwards
  • Stay underwater for a few more seconds to allow your board to come to rest

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