Every year, there are reports of surfer deaths. There is the always popular (in the press) shark attack, the horrific vision of a sneaky predator shooting from far under the surface to swallow you in little pieces – or big chunks, as luck would have it. There is the giant freak wave that submerges you for minutes until you drown. But, really, how often does either happen?

On the other hand, surfing looks fun and safe. It’s very similar to snow- and skateboarding, but instead of falling on a hard surface, you just hit water. Sure, a big wave may bury you; but it will eventually wash over, unlike an avalanche that is there to stay and slowly suffocate you. And yes, you could hit the board if you botch a turn; but really, how does that compare to a spill on the skateboard, where you have the same risk, but hitting the board is the least of your worries?

After two years of surfing, I think I have the definitive answer: surfing is much less dangerous than it sounds, but it’s much more dangerous than it looks.

(more…)