Can’t We All Just Get Along
Surf Etiquette,surfing rules,laws,codes etc.. Everyone talks about them as it is a cut and dry thing, but the reality is far different, especially the surf rules in the water.
Surf Etiquette when actually in the water involves a lot of different variables.
Whether you are a local or not is one of the major variables to consider.
Like it or not locals are going to get a good majority of the set waves. Its up to them to not abuse the perceived “power”they have.
If you are a good surfer actually determines how someone interprets these rules also, you get a lot of hot shots taking advantage of lesser surfers. Paddling around other surfers, back paddling, snaking. The surf ego run rampant.
If you are a womyn/girl/chick also comes into consideration. (sorry girls it is still a fact its a male dominated activity). However it can work to your advantage. If you can surf or kind of surf, girls will sometimes get the nod to go on a wave or given a little more leeway, up to a point, just don’t abuse the female thing to much or its back of the line, if they can’t surf they will be burned just like any other beginning surfer.
If you are 6’6” and muscle bound you will get a lot of waves, no one wants to mess with you. When it comes down to it, surfers are usually way more bark than bite.
A run down on the basics of Surf Etiquette.
1. Don’t Drop In– meaning don’t take off on a surfer already up and riding. This involves some gray area, but for a beginner
don’t do it you will save your self some trouble.
2. Wave priority Who gets the wave – Again open to tons of interpretation but if you are a beginner it’s the person closest to the peak or breaking part of the wave. If you are splitting a peak, meaning you can either go left or right then call out which way you are intending to go.
3. Paddling out– When paddling out don’t get in the way of up an riding surfer. Always paddle towards the white water if you cannot make it to the shoulder of wave, its better to take your lumps from the whitewater then getting hit by a surfboard. There will be times when its just impossible to get out of a persons way, then it is up to the riding surfer to dodge the person paddling out, when this happens the paddling surfer should ALWAYS give a “sorry bout that” to the riding surfer.
4. Don’t Snake– This means don’t paddle around other surfers who have been waiting their turn. This pisses people off alot, also do not back paddle someone, meaning don’t get in front of them and basically block them from catching the wave. Just don’t do it.
5. Don’t Ditch Your Board– Always hang onto your surf board unless you are out in massive surf and duckdiving is of no use, then ya swim for the bottom, Always make sure there is no one behind you if you do this. For the beginner this is an important surfing rule to remember, if you can’t duckdive then give your board a bear hug and hold on.
6. Don’t Catch Every Wave– This is more for the people who already can surf. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Other Surf Etiquette Guides
These are some other unwritten surfing rules you should follow.
Don’t bring a crowd with you, especially if you are surfing a new break, a low profile is the go. One other guy is the most you should bring.( some places even bringing one other person is the wrong thing to do)
Respect the locals.
Surf spots that match your ability. The lineups are already crowded enough, add in-experienced surfers to the mix and it creates dangerous logjams. That’s not to say don’t challenge yourself with surfing harder breaks, just make sure you know you can handle yourself out there.
Don’t trash the beach, always pick up your trash and other peoples trash.
If you are surfing a beach break with lots of different peaks, don’t paddle out on someone surfing their own peak, find your own peak.
Keep the tough guy attitude for the football field or pitch. Leave it at the shoreline, better yet, leave it at home.
Following these Surf Etiquette rules isn’t that hard, the more you surf the better you will understand the different rules and customs, just make sure you take them to heart. It makes for better sessions for everybody.
One Last Rule:
Give Someone a Wave and a Smile