Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Point

When you read my title, The Point, you're probably hoping to hear about an awesome secret point break I found in Baja Mexico. Well, my friends, that's not the case this time... Today I'm going to write about the point, or rather, the points on a sea urchin.  

It's amazing how much you can learn from Google. I discovered that there are many types of sea urchin.  The points, or spines of the sea urchin release toxins and are reversed-barbed, like a fish hook, making pulling them out almost impossible.  Some are poisonous, some are deadly.  Now, why would I be so interested in sea urchins? Well, let's just say that I had a chance to get to know a couple of my urchin friends while surfing in Baja.  It wasn't fun.  I stepped on some during a surf session-- both feet.  It's amazing how much pain these little creatures caused... for days.  Actually, it's been 3 weeks now since that day and I still have a few of the spines in my foot.  Even now, when I glance at the bottom of my left foot, I can see purple dots that are the remnants of spines embedded in the sole of my foot.  You can actually feel them when you run your finger over the skin and the spots are still tender.  This is an experience I would never wish on anyone (well, maybe one person) and I'd like to share some new learned wisdom.

1.) Wear surf booties, especially when you're surfing in a new location.  I think this tip is geared especially toward females and those with tender feet like mine.  The boots help me walk across rocky shores as well as protect my feet against danger (I did have my boots on during this session but the spines got through the neoprene on the sides).  If I didn't have my boots on, the injury would have been much worse and the spines probably would have gone in deeper.

2.) Don't stand up even in shallow water.  You never know what is on the bottom.  After a wipe out, tread water by sculling with your hands- DON'T KICK WITH YOUR FEET and get back on your board right away.

3.) Keep a first aid kit in your surf mobile.  I'm adding a couple of needles, tweezers and blade to the kit.  Apparently, it's best to remove the spines right away if you can.  We were more than an hour away from civilization so I waited until the following day to take care of my feet. I was shuffling around like an old lady in Ugg boots because I couldn't put any shoes on due to the pain and slight swelling.  

4.) Soak your feet in vinegar if you still have spines in your foot.  Supposedly this will help disintegrate them faster than your body can push them to the surface.

5.) Soak your feet in scalding hot water, as much as you can handle.  I finally sucked it up and practically boiled my feet after three days of shuffling like a zombie and it was a huge relief.  If you have a jacuzzi set it for max temp, that's what I did- very convenient. 

One of these little guys-- which don't attack or move unless
the surf pushes them, caused me so much pain.
I entered the surf past the point you see on top of the pic.
The surface was cobblestones, no sea urchins.
Tons of sea urchins on this side of the point. Those rocks in the picture
are actually sea urchin and the dotted the shallow water.
A sample- It looks small and painless.  That's the top of it.
Imagine driving a small nail into your foot.  Ouch!
Chivalry is not dead! My boyfriend drove his truck down to the beach to
pick me up so I didn't have to hobble up the hill back to the truck.


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