It Might Be Safe For You to Ride the Waves in this Pandemic

Yes, you read that right. As shops are shuttered and communal activities are halted because of COVID-19, some studies suggest that certain outdoor activities like surfing are actually safe to engage in while we’re in this pandemic.

Outdoors is the better option

A number of experts have actually come out to support the idea that engaging in socially distant outdoor activities won’t make individuals more susceptible to the virus. On his blog, infectious disease expert Erin Bromage talked about how outdoor recreation was at the bottom of his list of concerns with respect to virus transmission.

“...Importantly, of the countries performing contact tracing properly, only a single outbreak has been reported from an outdoor environment (less than 0.3% of traced infections)...Social distancing rules are really to protect you with brief exposures or outdoor exposures. In these situations there is not enough time to achieve the infectious viral load when you are standing 6 feet apart or where wind and the infinite outdoor space for viral dilution reduces viral load. The effects of sunlight, heat, and humidity on viral survival, all serve to minimize the risk to everyone when outside,” he added.

A virologist from the University of Columbia supports Bromage’s claim, saying that being outdoors is likely a good place to be now that there’s a highly contagious virus spreading around.

In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Angela Rasmussen has this to say.

“In my opinion, pool water, freshwater in a lake or river, or seawater exposure would be extremely low transmission risk even without dilution (which would reduce risk further)...Probably the biggest risk for summer water recreation is crowds — a crowded pool locker room, dock or beach, especially if coupled with limited physical distancing or prolonged proximity to others. The most concentrated sources of virus in such an environment will be the people hanging out at the pool, not the pool itself.”

Welcome news

These findings are encouraging for everyone in the  surfing community. The last three months have been incredibly frustrating for surfing pros and hobbyists alike. Governments around the world implemented shelter-at-home orders to head off an emerging pandemic. Depending on where you live, surfing was either severely restricted or banned entirely.


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