Surfing In Fiji: What To Do When You’re Caught Between Huge Sets

The pros make it look easy. Getting barrelled, doing power hooks, and hitting perfect backside closeout snaps is par for the course when surfing in Fiji. But even pro riders can get caught between sets. If they lose focus, they might get battered and thrashed by an unrelenting series of waves that provide no outlet for escape.

It's a frightening experience. The outcome is uncertain. Your stress level will go through the roof as you wonder whether the last breath you took before getting pummelled was enough.

When you get caught inside a huge set, your brain will naturally go into survival mode. The problem is, your options will be limited. It's critical that you know what to do in order to come out of it unscathed. 

Go With The Flow

You can either fight your way to the surface or let the waves have their way with you. Fighting for the surface seems intuitive, but it's a bad bet. As soon as you taste air, another wall of white water might be ready to push you back under. That fight will quickly sap your strength.

Instead, go with the flow. Let the turbulence drag you, roll you and push you downward. The ordeal should only last 30 seconds or less. Concentrate on holding your breath and waiting for the set to pass.

Prepare For The Spin Cycle

The biggest cause for fear among wave riders who get caught inside while surfing in Fiji is the lack of control. After a few seconds of being tossed around, you'll become disoriented. You may lose track of the surface. That sets the stage for panic (more on this in a moment) as wave after wave puts you through a merciless spin cycle.

Keeping your cool depends on setting the right expectations. The moment you get caught inside, you should expect to be rolled and thrashed by turbulence. Plan to go through that experience from multiple waves. Maintaining that outlook will prevent you from panicking when the “fun” starts.

Resist The Urge To Panic

Every surfer, from the budding novice to the experienced veteran, has gone through moments of sheer panic. During those moments, rational thought is jettisoned and replaced by terror. Getting crushed between huge breaks at world-renowned surf spots like Cloudbreak and Wilkes can trigger alarm in any surfer. That's the brain going into survival mode. It's also the worst thing you can do when you're getting thrown around like a rag doll.

Panic leads to poor decision-making. Poor decisions lead to injuries or worse. Keep your wits, stay aware of your surroundings and remind yourself that the spin cycle will be over in 30 seconds or less.

If you surf long enough, you'll eventually get caught between sets. Knowing what to do will make the experience less frightening. 

Fiji offers some of the most daunting and exciting surf breaks in the world. Namotu Island is the closest island to them. Reserve your bure or villa at Namotu Island Resort to enjoy first-class surfing in an unforgettable setting.