There are many ways you can injure yourself surfing, one of both the more common and more nasty is to damage your inner ear. Tear or perforate your eardrum (by slapping hard on the wave face or flats, or getting hit by your board) and your trip is done, son. If you’re away somewhere you can’t even fly home with ear drum damage, you’ll just be watching perfect waves unable to venture in the drink, or even into the shower properly till it’s healed. Obviously prevention is way better than cure, with the use of earplugs being the best preventative method. Look for the ones that look a bit like a Christmas tree, those little rubber flanges grip best and mean they’re less likely to come out during a wipeout. When inserting, pull your earlobe down and out from the bottom and slide the plug all the way in, further than you’d think. Not only does using plugs prevent burst eardrums, it’ll also help prevent the particularly hideous cold water condition, surfer’s ear (the one where treatment involves cutting your lobe off, pulling it down, drilling the bone away and you not surfing for six months). Keep your ear canal clean to avoid infections, and never put something smaller than your little finger in (cotton buds are out). Do you hear?