Surfing can be a water sport, but you can still get dehydrated – Orange County Register


Along with the normal heat waves of September and October come the great offshore winds that we call “Santa Anas”. Most surfers associate this with good surfing.

If there is swell, these winds create very good wave conditions. But at the same time, it is also usually very dry and very hot. Which brings me to this week’s quick tip from your favorite surf guru – me – on what it can mean for you and other surf enthusiasts this time of year. This also applies to anyone who plans to do any type of strenuous exercise outdoors.


I cannot stress the importance of this. We preach this for surfers and others who visit the tropics where it is hot and humid. So many people forget to do this or mistakenly think that drinking coffee, soda or alcoholic beverages is hydrating. They are not, quite the contrary.

You should drink water or other hydrating fluids such as electrolytes, even Gatorade. It is very common for people to get sick thinking they have eaten bad food or drunk bad water, when it is dehydration.

I’ve had it twice and I never want to have it again. The first time was when I surfed for a few hours in the morning on a tropical spot. I came for breakfast and had coffee, but no water or juice. Then I left and surfed for a few more hours. I went back to where I lived and started to feel sick.

I became much sicker and thought for sure that the breakfast I ate was giving me “Montezuma’s Revenge”. Fortunately, a doctor lived in the building and treated me. He explained to me that I had become totally dehydrated.

The second time around, I was having a dinner concert in a hotel and had a large glass of water on my side table. Naturally, a friend of mine changed my water with a huge Margarita. I did a two hour set, sweaty like crazy all the time. When I finished I was very dizzy, passed out and spent the night and the next day in the hospital with an intravenous drip.

I learned my lesson for good.

What you really don’t want is heatstroke. Here in Southern California, during those late summer heat waves, it’s very dry. People who exercise in these conditions, or who work in enclosed spaces without air conditioning, are prime targets for heatstroke. It’s fatal.

From WebMD: “Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency. If you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke, also known as heatstroke, immediately call 911 and provide first aid until paramedics arrive. … Heat stroke often occurs as a progression of milder heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting) and heat exhaustion. But it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat injury.

Prolonged exposure to heat, often with dehydration, can cause a body to shut down and lead to several complications.

So please take my advice, and if you are surfing, running, exercising, or stuck indoors without air conditioning, you need to hydrate yourself and take steps not to overheat.

Stay cool in the heat.

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