Surfing Etiquette

Surfing etiquette is really just good manners.  Not everyone has good surfing manners, and some people are just downright rude, all the time.  That doesn’t mean that you have permission to behave badly, just because others are doing it too.

Always show respect to fellow surfers, especially those who have already dedicated the time and effort to developing their surfing skills.  You will appreciate this credo when you have developed your own surfing skills.  And if you show respect you usually receive it in return.

The best surfers, surf at the best spots and get to ride the most waves, that’s, just the way it is.  The best surfers have earned their position at the top of the pecking order.  The ONLY thing that matters in the line-up is surfing ability. 

The right of way always belongs to the surfer closest to the peak of the wave.  Always respect this right of way.  Those being said, if you see a better surfer than you paddling for a wave, give them the right of way.  Be patient.  If you keep putting yourself into the best position to catch you’ll eventually catch them.

Never drop in when somebody else is already surfing a wave, or is dropping in closer than you are to the breaking part of the wave.

Don’t snake!  Snaking is different from dropping-in.  Snaking is when a surfer aggressively positions himself or herself in front of another surfer, who would otherwise be in the best position to catch the wave, blocking their right of way.

When paddling out, the surfer on the wave has the right of way.  Do everything in your power to stay out of their way.  This means, never paddle into the path of a surfer riding a wave.  If you cannot paddle around the wave without getting in the way, paddle behind the surfer into the already broken wave.

Don’t try learning at a surf spot that is not a beginner spot.  If you feel intimidated by the level of surfing in the water, you should go surf somewhere else. There's bound to be a better spot for learning.

Know your limits. Surfing looks easy. It isn't.  Be careful.  Waves will kick your ass.  If you feel you're in danger, you probably are, and you are putting those around you in danger by being in the water.  Get out and find a better time and place to surf.


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