Surf Tips

Sanuk How To’s: Deal With A Weever Fish Sting

A couple of years back I thought I’d been stung on the eardrums by a weaver fish and was suffering a delayed reaction, but actually it was just that someone had put a Donny CD on. When I realised that it was the whole album, I wished I had been…

Summertime means increased incidence of those nasty weever fish in our coastal waters, particularly on big low tide days in the shallows. If you step on one, it’ll hurt more than child birth.

OK that’s not actually true, but it’ll hurt loads.

Weevers have spines on their dorsal fins which can deliver pretty painful, if not life-threatening stings, the peak of the pain usually coming around 30 minutes after stinging. I’ve been stung on the foot, and, unbelievably, the hand too. As yet I’ve not been got on the ass but I feel like it’s all building up to it… anyway enough about me.

If you do get stung:


Wee wee on the affected area, as the ureic acid in wee breaks down the poison, and just feels kinda warm and nice and stuff… er… anyway. If you’ve just been (if you’re surfing, you’ve obviously just been), then you might need to ask a friend or even a member of the public to piss on you. Don’t be upset if they call the police.


Pouring a decent volume of vinegar on the stung area (just in case you have a vial of Sarson’s with you in your wetsuit) is a good pain reliever. This is ideal if you’ve hobbled your way up the beach and there’s a chippy in the car park.


This is the preferred options of the lifeguards, if you seek their help. They are very, very unlikely to piss on you, but it’s worth a try. The idea of hot water is to immerse the sting in a bucket of very hot water (hotter than 40 deg C).

The acid in a and b and the heat of c all act to break down the protein helixes that the sting consists of, clever eh?

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T shower off stings with cool, fresh water. All you’re doing is reactivating the little stingy bits with the water to do you in again and again. And if you find yourself trying to get stung on purpose so you can do (1), seek professional help.


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