Surfing Etiquette 101: What’s Cool and What’s Not

Dec 3, 2013
Surfing Etiquette 101: What’s Cool and What’s Not

We all know that surfing is a pretty laid back sport. However, if you’re surfing a crowded beach, you should know there are certain rules to follow.  We like to call it surfing etiquette.

Of course there are different rules for different places, but the basic principles never change.

The most important thing to remember is that the beach belongs to no one and it also belongs to everyone. This means that anybody can surf but you should do it in a way where it will not make it impossible for other people to surf. Maybe you have heard of surf Nazis. These are people who push anyone out of their way. They typically use violence and threats as their method of intimidating people not to surf in a particular area. This is not cool.

There’s the unwritten rule about who surfs first. Basically, the person closest to the breaking wave has the first choice whether he or she surfs first. This doesn’t entirely mean that other surfers on the water should wait forever. In most cases, other surfers just wait for the next wave. Sometimes they wait their turn only after the surfer has popped up and has caught the wave.

After that, they will now be able to pop-up and catch the same wave provided that they will not interfere with the first surfer. Another unwritten rule is that if two surfers are unable to decide who is on the inside, the surfer who pops up first is the one who has priority to surf first.

At some beaches, waves break both left and right. Some surfers will surf across the wave as well as in front of it. This increases the possibility of collisions, which is not cool. Communication, another important rule, should come into play in situations such as this one.

It is important to make eye contact with the other surfers. Signaling which way you plan on going helps to avoid crossing over each other’s path. You can shout if you want, but remember not every surfer can speak English. So, you may want to do hand signals and shout just to be sure.

Watching the back of other surfers is an important part of being in the surfing community, even if the other surfer is a complete stranger. Always be on the lookout for rocks, high reefs, jellyfish and other dangerous marine life. Warn them if you see anything that can be a hazard to their safety.

These unwritten rules should be followed whenever you’re surfing. This ensures that everyone will be able to enjoy their day at the beach catching waves.

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