Is Surfing Safe During the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Countries across the world, and many states in the USA, are now locked down to the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Surf League has postponed all events for several months, and

You might be asking yourself, “can I responsibly go surfing while practicing social distancing?” We hear you! Cabin fever is real and we’re itching to get out in the water as well.

Is Social Distancing While Surfing Practical?

This riskiest part of going surfing is being near other surfers – at the parking lot, on the beach, and in the water. You might be thinking, “I’ll be able to keep 6 feet of distance from everyone, no problem.” Well, good luck doing that in Miami. This is an actual photo taken during the COVID-19 outbreak at South Beach:

Even if you’re not in the clinically insane state of Florida, you’ll be surprised at how many people are showing up to the beach when businesses are closed and there’s not much else to do.

Is Your Local Beach Even Open?

One thing to consider is if your local beach is even open. In San Diego for example, all beaches are closed at the time of this post. Surfers can be dished out fines of up to $1,000 just for being in the water!

“Not following the order is a misdemeanor subject to a $1,000 fine,”
– San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten

Check out this video of surfers being arrested in Malibu! The cops even confiscated some of their boards. We’re all itching to get out there, but it’s not the time to risk a huge fine and losing your board (not to mention the safety of yourself and others).

Can COVID-19 Spread Through The Water?

The honest answer is we don’t know what the risks of surfing during the coronavirus outbreak are with absolute certainty. Coronavirus has been shown to remain infectious in freshwater, but the dilution and salt water of the ocean are a big wildcard.

It’s worth reiterating best practices for staying healthy during this crisis:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly – for at least 20 seconds – frequently throughout the day.
  2. If you’re sick, stay home!
  3. If you’re not stick, stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing.
  4. Don’t touch your face without washing your hands first.

If your water quality is solid (in Southern California for example, you’ll still want to refrain from getting in the ocean for 72 hours after any rainfall) and you can avoid getting too close to anyone (a big if), surfing is probably low risk, but honestly… is it worth it right now?

Our bottom line assessment is to avoid surfing until things settle down. The world is in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, and it’s better to play it safe than sorry.

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