Author Topic: what to do when you find yourself on the reef  (Read 1919 times)

toolate

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what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« on: July 07, 2019, 12:48:41 PM »
yes, I know, the right answer is " dont find yourself on the reef"
but shit happens.
the other morning at high tide, the sun came up over the mountain and was right in my eyes. Add to that a perfect wave that made me greedy and not being able to see reef due to tide and sun and next thing you know i was in the reef. surrounded on all sides.
i bet it has happened to many here.

I got lucky. I fell as easily off my board as i could, tried to fall shallow, tried to float shallow. fortunately the next few waves were not huge ( the day was overhead) and 3 or 4 waves later and a few bumps and scrapes to my feet and chest i was able to extricate myself. My board escaped with only minor fin trauma.
It could have been MUCH worse.

I know that in these particular conditions of poor visibility venturing near reefs edge is not smart.
Just wondering if and when the worst happens you all handle it?

nalu-sup

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2019, 01:11:12 PM »
My only piece of advice is one that I know a lot of people will dispute, but it can make a huge difference if you know that you might get caught on a shallow reef; wear booties. With booties you can safely push off the reef to get back on your board, you can push you and your board in whatever direction you need to go, and if it too shallow to swim or paddle, you can walk your way out of trouble.
I used to surf and windsurf a break on Kauai that had an inside reef that we called the 'penalty box'. Without booties, you flopped around in a few inches of water trying to float above the coral and sea urchins; with booties, you could push or walk you and your board off the reef with minimal damage.
One of the places that I wavesail regularly traps people on the reef in a few inches of water. With booties, you can stand up and manage the situation; without booties, you are in for some good coral cuts, and more likely damaged equipment.
One day while surfing, my wife made one to many turns, and ended up washed into a rocky area, by the time she got her and her board pushed back off the rocks, both of her feet were peppered with dozens of sea urchin spines, so she was pretty miserable for a week or two; booties would have meant no problem.
I realize that they are not considered cool, but after enough infected coral cuts, that starts to matter a lot less. Many have thin enough soles that you can feel the board plenty good enough.
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Badger

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2019, 01:32:38 PM »
It's like that where I surf but it's not coral, just basketball sized jagged rocks. The wave often ends in a foot or two of water. If you fall, it's hard to get back on your feet as every passing wave tries to knock you down. My first year there, I sustained lots of injuries to my feet and legs. Over time I learned the technique of avoiding injury. It just takes experience. With practice you learn.

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« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 01:36:36 PM by Badger »
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eastbound

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2019, 01:54:45 PM »
it's not just about coral--you simply dont want to be getting cut by rocks, coral, barnacles, urchins, anchor chains or anything in the ocean these days

and i live in running shoes--my feet are like butter--so i always kook out with booties--good ones grip pads well and they protect the tops of feet from getting shredded after several days of kneeling in big surf

surfed 7 consecutive days in CR and knees and tops of feet were deep scabs for weeks----tough paddleouts, no break to heal
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TallDude

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2019, 02:02:20 PM »
Usually feel some or a lot of pain, and cry about the board damage :'(  It always happens after long sessions and I've forgotten where the tide is. Where I surf there is a long reef, but there are some channels to get you near shore. The times it's caught me off guard, I had paddle to at break a 1/4 mile away. After surfing there for a number of hours then paddling back, I'm beat and not paying attention to anything. I'll just paddle towards shore and catch any wave in. As soon as I hit the bottom to make a turn, I realize I'm in 12" of water. Then the "OH SHIT!" moment???? Sacrifice board or body? On my first memorable moment, I didn't turn thinking about the board. A few seconds later my center fin hit, I jumped forwards feet first. My left foot hit a slippery rock first, and slid to the right tweaking my left knee. ACL pull. The next time it happened I sacrificed my board. Made the bottom turn and blew a side bite right out of the board. I was able to do a star fish flop into the white water with no injuries. Still a painful walk out. 

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2019, 03:03:01 PM »
Ha...ha...ha happened to me on vacation on Kauai, I surfing at Poipu Beach.  I got greedy and paid the price.  After the water receded, I was left with a few inches of water over the reef.  Stepped on a sea urchin trying to get back to deeper water.  Soaked my foot in vinegar and was good to go in a day or so.  A lesson was learned that day.     
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supsean

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2019, 03:53:36 PM »
https://www.vans.com/shop/surf-boot-mid-black#hero=1

they're out of stock at Vans, but it looks like maybe booties are getting cool. Although as a paddle surfer, I am never going to look cool.
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Badger

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2019, 04:06:43 PM »
I wear booties ten months of the year so I look forward to being barefoot for July and August.   8)

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OkiWild

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2019, 06:42:17 PM »
If the water is knee deep, flip the board over (fins up), and lean on it to take pressure off of your feet while you walk. If the water isn't knee deep...SOL. If there are more waves coming, hold the board and jump over them. Glide with the wash, leaning on your board, and try to land gently on your feet again when it dissipates. Once you get far enough in, go slow. Pick your spots where you're going to put your feet.

Surfed reef my whole life, and my feet are pretty tough, but every time you're high and dry, you wish you were wearing them... I almost never wear booties, as I feel they add too much traction (that's right). However, I will sometimes bring them to walk out across a long reef. The O'Neil ones are really light weight and compress into almost nothing, allowing me to store them in a pocket in an impact vest, stuff them in the waistband, or whatever.

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2019, 09:13:01 AM »
Just got done with 2 weeks on Maui. You have to be careful in a small few of the west side spots when the tide is out. Worst case scenario I have done is turn the board over, lay prone, stuff paddle blade under chest and paddle/pull yourself along by hand. I like that as you are in pretty good control of the board and can get over whitewash without much drama.  You are probably only 6" below the surface with this method. The leash can be a problem if you stop or get knocked back long enough for it to sink. This is something I have learned from riding a long board with 10" single fins.
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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2019, 08:02:15 PM »
I have a lot of experience with this. Covesurfer would be laughing hysterically if he actually showed up on the zone these days, but my most memorable was having to turn out of the channel to get out of the water at Oluwalu because the OC1 in front of me blew it, and winding up flopping around in 4" of water with swell breaking on it, my paddle floating away and 17 feet of SIC bullet yanking on the leash as it roamed in random directions.

My advice, in this case, is simple, and it's exactly what I did.

Bleed.
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oceanAddict

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2019, 05:18:24 AM »
If you have any cuts on the bottom of your feet - inspect them closely to make sure no coral/etc pieces left there. Once I had a similar accident and had to step on a reef with my bare feet. I thought I escaped with scratches only, but little pieces of coral were so deep under the skin that  I "brought" them back from vacation and they came out with infection a week or so later.
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covesurfer

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2019, 01:12:02 PM »
I have a lot of experience with this. Covesurfer would be laughing hysterically if he actually showed up on the zone these days, but my most memorable was having to turn out of the channel to get out of the water at Oluwalu because the OC1 in front of me blew it, and winding up flopping around in 4" of water with swell breaking on it, my paddle floating away and 17 feet of SIC bullet yanking on the leash as it roamed in random directions.

My advice, in this case, is simple, and it's exactly what I did.

Bleed.

I go lurking on the zone, and I see this. I actually did not laugh. I was pretty horrified. You were washed around on those razor blades and it made my nerve endings tingle, not in a good way. It's still a distinct memory and that was probably at least five or six years ago.

I'd say you got almost even with me if I did laugh on the day that we paddled from Puamana up to Lahaina for lunch and some waves at the Breakwall. It was also a long time ago. You guided us through a pass in the reef that was literally no wider than my leg and only about a foot deep. The reef on either side was covered by about 5 inches of water. But, it was still fun. But I'm glad I didn't fall in.

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2019, 09:23:41 AM »
Just saw this over the weekend. Poor guy couldn't resist the inside section and paid the price. Imagine if he had a 9' SUP and a paddle to deal with.

Starts at 4:30.

http://youtu.be/U0EAdnK2bRk?t=270

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Re: what to do when you find yourself on the reef
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2019, 09:34:29 AM »
I have a lot of experience with this. Covesurfer would be laughing hysterically if he actually showed up on the zone these days.

I go lurking on the zone, and I see this. I actually did not laugh. I was pretty horrified. You were washed around on those razor blades and it made my nerve endings tingle, not in a good way. It's still a distinct memory and that was probably at least five or six years ago.

I'd say you got almost even with me if I did laugh on the day that we paddled from Puamana up to Lahaina for lunch and some waves at the Breakwall. It was also a long time ago. You guided us through a pass in the reef that was literally no wider than my leg and only about a foot deep. The reef on either side was covered by about 5 inches of water. But, it was still fun. But I'm glad I didn't fall in.

Posted on July 11, responded to on August 4. I rest my case.
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