As surfers we put ourselves at risk of getting skin cancer every time we head out for a wave. Sitting out there in the line-up day after day, year after year, with those UV rays just beating down on us. Accident waiting to happen really.
I got reminded what a real threat it was after chatting to Mauro Poggi out in the surf this week. Hadn't seen him for a while, and he said "Hey, did you hear what happened to me?!" No, I didn't, so tell me the story.....
"I'd gone for a swim at Humewood with my son a few weeks back, and as we were getting out the water he said to me "Dad, what's that on your back", prodding at a mole on my back. I said it was just a mossie, nothing to worry about. Anyway, he wasn't so easily dismissed - luckily for me it turns out. After some googling him and my wife decided I had to go see the Doc about the mole. The Doc didn't seem to perturbed about it either, but sent it off for some tests nonetheless.
Came back as stage 2 malignant melonoma! So back off to the doc to get a 6cm x 3cm piece cut out of my shoulder. They then cut out the lymph-glands under my arm as well. It was that that nearly killed me! Ended up going septic - I felt like I was going to die it was so sore. They had to stick a drain in it to release all the gunk.
So yah, I'm really lucky to have caught it before it spread even more - as apparently once it does start to spread you're pretty much tickets"
Just as the famous surf saying goes "You never know if you don't go" - well, let that apply to looking after your skin as well! All surfers should do an annual visit to their Dermatologist just to make sure all those lil mossies and moles are behaving themselves and the sun hasn't switched on any misbehaving cells. Cos rather be safe than sorry. And that includes lathering on that sunscreen and maybe chucking on a shirt and a cap or hat when you hit the surf.
Go make that appointment now.....
A word on sunscreens - go for a high factor SPF and make sure it's water resistant (duh!) Good stuff available locally is Bronzinc (SPF 30+, skin colour zinc, get at Surf Centre or the Boardroom), Swox (SPF 30+, clear zinc, goes on white then dissolves -made by surfers for surfers - I did a review on it here) , Solrx (SPF 40+, clear zinc goes on white and dissolves, lasts 8 hours - my regular sunscreen. Made in Knysna. Get it at RVCA stores or order online) and Island Tribe (various SPF's, made in Durbs, available everywhere)
Put it ON!!!!!!! EVERY time you surf. UV rays are still out there even when it's cloudy!