Surf Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on August 15, 2010

in Everyday Etiquette

everyday surf etiquette

You may have just finished all of your surf lessons, but, did you learn the surf etiquette rules that will ensure you don’t “wipe out” with your fellow surfers?  Check out our article for all the surfing etiquette do’s and don’ts!

Let’s go surfing now!  Everybody’s learning how!  Yeah, right, but, along the way, are they learning proper surfing etiquette?  Check out our tips on how to hit that totally awesome wave without a gnarly wipe out due to poor surf etiquette!

The number one rule of surf etiquette that everyone knows, even non-surfers, is: don’t drop in on anyone.  For those of us that don’t speak the lingo, this translates to “stay the heck out of the way”.  There is a right away in surfing, just like in driving: the person closest to the highest portion of the wave has right away.  Be aware of your surroundings and those surfing around you.  To not be will probably get you ostracized by your local surfers and you might seriously injure yourself or someone else!  And attempting to maneuver around someone to get that supreme right away position is a serious breach of surf etiquette.  If you are paddling out, avoid being on the surfing highway and getting in the way of those already out there.  If it’s super busy, take a moment to observe if there isn’t some sort of line being formed that the surfers are in that determines who gets the next wave.   Follow their example.

Like in baseball, if you have two outfielders heading for the same pop-fly, someone needs to call it.  If you and another surfer are neck in neck and both have right away on a wave, call it.  Even if the wave is splitting and heading off in two different directions, having surfer etiquette means you call out whether you’re taking the wave to the right or left.

Fit your surfboard with a nose guard so if it hits someone, the damage is minimal.  However, having a nose guard on your board does not mean you can throw caution to the wind.  Proper surf etiquette means always being in charge of your board.  Learn the proper technique to do so.

Even if you try your best to follow surf etiquette, especially if you’re just starting out and aren’t too sure what you’re doing, mistakes will be made.  When that happens, simply apologize!

Photo: flickr/mike baird

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