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How to survive a wipeout

Over the course of a year we get some interesting questions coming through, and one of them was directed to Ricardo Campello whom we all know for his hard going and unique style. How do you survive getting hammered by the waves? This is what he had to say:

Dear Ricardo, could you please give us amateur windsurfers some tips on how to survive wipe outs in big waves?  For example, what to do in case you see a take-down coming, what to do underwater when being pulled away and still hooked in, prevent getting hurt by equipment etc…

Well my friend, if you are hooked in getting washed under water you are in big trouble. Never, I repeat never, get hooked in if you see you are going to get washed. Try to hold on to your equipment as hard as you can and preferably holding the boom on the middle of it with your two hands. If you hold it if one you might get pulled hard by the wave and you might hurt your arms or hands, try to avoid holding the clew of the boom while you get washed because you might hurt your hands as it is thin and sometimes can cut your hands with the clamp holes!

A tip on how to train yourself for being under water longer than comfortable.

They key is to hold your breath as much as you can try to be calm, the more nervous you are the less time you will get, at the end you will always get out to surface. In case your gear goes away from you, try to body surf the wave to get closer to your equipment!

Another very good tip: let’s say you are going out against the wave, the wind is light, and you are not plaining, you get a set coming towards you.  The two things I normally do , if the wave is very big, and I see I won’t make it, I chicken tack or I start pumping like a ‘MF’ and try to make it, if you do take that risk and you just see you make it passing right on top on the lip, I try to make the equipment make some sort of forward loop by itself ( this is for side off conditions only). At least the equipment will get on top of the waves and I can swim out to sea, if another wave comes then I’m screwed! haha

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