ioften think that surfing isn’t as good for your health as everyone says it is. My back is constantly screwed (which may be simply a byproduct of years of hard labor, no stretching, and multiple compression injuries), my feet and legs are constantly cut up (which may be a result of my own incredible clumsiness), and my ears are constantly infected (which may be a result of the filthy water I surf in every day). But I surf a lot, so I must be healthy, right?
Of course, there’s that old saying “everything in moderation,” which would probably be something to subscribe to. But, like many surfers, I don’t. If the waves are good, I’m going surfing. Moderation only works when you have self-control. And yes, surfing is definitely good for you in some ways; there’s no disputing that exercise, sunshine, and fun are good for both your body and your mind, but how tiring is it to read the same article extolling the virtues of surfing over and over again? Instead, let’s look at why surfing is bad for you. You should share this with lots of people, so they don’t go surfing. Then we can surf empty lineups together with our bad backs and disgusting, infected ears!
Earplugs, people. Earplugs.
Earplugs, people. Earplugs.
1. Surfer’s earSurfer’s ear is a weird one. Like Toby Aimer, owner of the worst case of surfer’s ear ever, says, it’s “a condition in which prolonged exposure to cold wind and water causes the bone surrounding the ear canal to develop lumpy bone growths. These growths constrict the ear canal and make water nearly impossible to escape once it has entered.”
Basically, once water’s in your ear, that shit ain’t going anywhere. If you’re surfing somewhere with dirty water, all that grossness we pump into the ocean just steeps in your ear canal like a teabag full of hepatitis.
Look at that arch!
Look at that arch! Photo: Nick Liotta
2. HyperlordosisLordosis refers to the natural inward curve in your spine. Everyone’s got it. Hyperlordosis, though, is when the arch in your back resembles a banana. It’s not exactly caused by surfing, but the hours of arching your back while paddling combined with the stretching you neglect to do doesn’t help.
If you’ve got it, and you’re surfing excessively and forgetting to stretch, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Either lay off the surfing for a while (unlikely) or take a few minutes to stretch both your hip flexors–the shorter they are, the more they pull your pelvis forward–and your lower back.
Zach Weisberg, post-surgery.
Zach Weisberg, post-surgery.
3. Pterygium/surfer’s eyePterygium‘s are ghastly–white and filmy, creeping from one corner of the eye, spreading outwards slowly, like a wing from a parasite slowly covering the eye. Visible blood vessels wiggle around in them like tiny tape worms. While the causes are still under some scrutiny, they’re usually attributed to excessive exposure to sun, wind and dust, and more common in white people that live in hot climates that spend a lot of time outdoors.
The helmsman of this fine ship sailing the seas of the internet recently got one sliced out of his eyeball, and the results were horrendous. I pretended to look at him, but I could only look at the one that didn’t look like a bleeding grape. R