Surf etiquette

Woaaa, we have rules?
You might think it’s strange that a sport like surfing, as free and wild as it can be, holds some rules to follow. But I can assure you: if you keep on ignoring them, high chances you end up being considered a shitty surfer in the water… even if your surfing ability is top notch.
As a beginner, it can seem a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry. It’s all mostly common sense. Here are some of the rules to keep in mind while surfing. 

Don’t drop in
This is actually Rule #1.

Dropping in is when you take off on a wave in front of another surfer who is either about to take off also or is already riding the wave. What happens is that you block the other surfers’ ride, which is very, very annoying, and can be dangerous. Before you take-off, make sure that another surfer is not inside. The one closest to the peak gets the wave. If you really want to take the wave, just remember that you’re not the only one in the water. You might enjoy the ride, but you make a fellow surfer pissed and it kinda ruins the vibe of everything.

Right of wave
This one belongs to Rule #1.

As previously mentioned, the rule goes that the surfer who is the closest to the peak of the wave has the right to take it first. If you’re paddling for a wave and a fellow surfer is also paddling for it, you have to yield when the surfer is on your left. 

Keep in mind: if someone is riding the wave, be very weary and don’t attempt late takeoffs (between curl and the surfer). If the other surfer is making a sharp turn or a cutback, he or she could likely run into you. This is also called backpaddling, which is kinda the same as dropping in – it can happen when the whitewater catches up to a surfer, but sometimes the surfer can get out of it by turning into the face of the wave. 

That said, things are a little different with A-frame or Split peak waves. When you and another surfer are on either side of the peak, you both have right of way on your own side. You both go opposite ways.

Paddle behind
When you’re paddling out, make sure you don’t paddle in front of someone riding a wave. Paddle behind the surfers and make your way through the whitewater, either with duck-diving, or turtle-rolls. For some reason, there are people who don’t realize that this is really important. If you paddle straight through the center of the lineup, you will get in someone’s way. Try to find the channel where the waves aren’t breaking or where no one is surfing. When you notice you’re in a bad spot (which can always happen – don’t worry), try to increase your paddle speed and power so you’re fast over the wave and out of another surfers way.

Abort board
Don’t !! It’s really important. Even more so when it’s very crowded.
Although it may seem tempting and easier to ditch your board when a wall of whitewater is coming at you, always try to maintain control of your board. A surfboard can be a dangerous flying projectile. If you knock somebody in the head, you’re in serious trouble. Try to avoid the habit of ditching your board no matter how hard it seems in the beginning –  I know, I’ve been there. 
Wanna know how to wipe-out in the best way? Click here 

Selfishness and snakes
When you’re good at surfing or when you’re on a standup paddle, in a kayak or on a longboard, you know you can get any wave. I don’t want to go too hippie on ya, but we’re all together in the water. It’s not cool if you hog all the waves.

The same goes for snaking. Snaking is when you paddle around another surfer so you are positioned in getting the right of way for a wave. This is not dangerous, just really annoying, and plain rude. Don’t cut in line at the lineup. Be patient, it will be rewarded. You are already surfing, life is already sweet. Take it easy…

For the newbies
Just a tiny extra tip for the newbies in the surfing community. When you paddle into the middle of a pack of experienced surfers. Well…. it’s better not to. Try first to have fun at the less crowded beginner breaks. The more you can catch waves, the sooner you’ll improve. You’ll know when you’re in the wrong spot when they give you a dirty look. If you’re not a beginner and you still get a dirty look when paddling out, don’t worry about it. The ocean belongs to nobody. We are all visitors. So you can surf whenever you want to, but its always better to be respectful towards the locals and other surfers.

Always respect nature
Don’t throw away your trash on the beach. Pick up litter along the way if you can and throw it in the bin. Keep the beach and the ocean clean. No cigarette butts, no beer bottles, try to use eco-friendly wax and such… Take care of mother nature; she gives us so much already.

Have fun
Enjoy the surf, no matter how messy, or small the waves are! Quality time in the ocean is blissful. Never forget it.

If you break the rules
Hey, if it’s by accident, just apologize. We have all been there, dropping in, or ditching our surfboard. With a simple apology, you’ll get rid of unnecessary tension in the lineup. If it’s on purpose… then stop it. Nobody likes an asshole.




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