* Wherever possible, always surf at a lifeguarded beach and follow the advice of the lifeguards,
* Novices should only ever surf between the black and white flags.
* Ask a lifeguard for advice on where to surf.
* Always have a lesson at an approved BSA or ISA school.
* Always wear your leash.
* If you get into trouble never abandon your board - it will keep you afloat. Wave your hand and shout for help.
* Never surf alone.
* Never surf between the red and yellow flags.
* Never drop in on another surfer.
Rip currents (Rips)
Rips are strong currents running out to sea that can easily take swimmers from shallow water out beyond their depth. They are especially powerful in larger surf, but are also found around river mouths, estuaries and man-made structures like piers and groynes.
How to spot a rip current
* discoloured, brown water (caused by sand being stirred up from the seabed)
* foam on the water's surface
* debris floating out to sea
* a rippled patch of sea, when the water around is generally calm.
How to get out of trouble
If you are caught in a rip or strong current, obey the three Rs:
* Relax – Stay calm and float. Do not swim against the current, swim across it.
* Raise – Raise an arm to signal for help. If possible shout to shore for help.
* Rescue – Float and wait for assistance. Do not panic, people drown in rips because they panic. Obey directions from the lifeguard.
If you think you are able to swim in, swim parallel to the beach until out of the effects of the rip and then make your way to shore.