Wipeout? Don't Panic!

5 Tips to Survive Surf Wipeouts

Yes! You’ve finished the first 4 days of our Learn-To-Surf program at Surf School in Bali! Now, on day 5, you’re ready for the lineup, that exciting zone where surfers wait for waves to roll in.

But wait, what’s that? A large wave looms, different from the gentle white water waves you practised on. You start to paddle, aiming to catch the wave… but then something goes wrong. Maybe it was a closeout wave, or maybe you slipped off your board. Suddenly the ocean you were riding moments ago turns into a churning mass of whitewater taking you down. Deep breaths! Wipeouts happen to everyone, even the most experienced surfers and pros out there. Here’s what to do when you find yourself underwater, wiped out by the ocean.

5 Tips to Survive a Wipeout

1. Stay Calm: Panic is your worst enemy! The ocean may be loud and disorienting, but take a deep breath (if you can) and focus on staying calm.
2. Hold your breath:This may sound obvious, but when you’re making 360’s underwater, it’s easy to forget. Hold your breath for as long as you can comfortably, but don’t force it. If you need to exhale, do it slowly underwater and prepare to take another breath when you surface.
3. Protect your head: Once you start to wipe out, keep your head low and tucked in towards your chest, use your arms to protect your head and face. Make sure you don’t collide with your board or other surfers.
4. Go with the flow: Don’t fight the current and don’t try to swim. The wave will eventually lose its force, so relax your body and let it carry you until it calms down. Trying to fight against the current will only waste your energy and potentially cause you to panic.
5. Surface cautiously: Once you feel the water calm down and know where the top and bottom are, slowly look around and assess your situation. Be aware of your board and other surfers.

Do's and Don'ts


1. Jump on your board quickly: As soon as the wave subsides and you see clear water, pop back up on your board or swim to the surface calmly.
2. Signal for help: If you’re injured or disoriented, don’t hesitate to signal for help by raising one fist high in the air. Our surf guides are there to help you out and lend a hand.
3. Catch your breath: Take a few moments to regain your composure and assess your situation. Was your board lost? Are you hurt?


1. Panic: This will cloud your judgement and make it harder to react effectively.
2. Fight the Current: Trust us, the ocean is stronger than you. Relax and let it carry you until it calms down.
3. Surface head first: Keep your head down and tucked in to protect yourself from your board or other surfers.

Remember, wipeouts are a part of the learning and surfing process. Your safety is our priority and we provide you with the skills to handle these wipeouts calmly and effectively. With a little practice and these tips and do’s and don’ts in mind, you’ll be back on your board and riding waves in no time!

During our 5-day programme, we will teach you these and other valuable and important theories, give you tips and show you the basics for a safe start to surfing.