Follow these simple rules to stay safe and have fun surfing with others!
Credit: Surfers Handbook
Disclaimer: Rules below are a guide only.. they are not intended to be complete or without error.
Rule #1: Right of Way
The surfer closest to the peak of the wave has the right of way. This means if you’re paddling for a right, and a surfer on your left is also paddling for it, you must yield to him or her.
A-Frames or Split Peaks: If two surfers are on either side of the peak, they each have the right of way to take off on their respective sides. It’s not generally accepted to take off behind the peak unless there’s nobody on the other side. These surfers should split the peak and go opposite ways.
If a surfer riding a wave gets closed out with an impossible section or wipes out, the next surfer down the line can take off.
If a wave is breaking towards itself (a closeout) and two surfers are taking off at each other, yes both have the right of way but this is a perilous situation and it’s advisable to kick out early to avoid a collision.
Rule #2: Don’t Drop In
This is related to Rule #1. This is probably the most important part of surfing etiquette. Dropping in means that someone with the right of way is either about to take off on a wave or is already riding a wave, and you also take off on the same wave in front of him or her.
This blocks their ride down the line, and is extremely annoying, not to mention dangerous.
Rule #3: Paddling Rules:
When paddling back out, do NOT paddle in front of someone riding a wave unless you’re well, well in front of him. You must paddle behind those who are up and riding and take the whitewater hit or duckdive.
Sometimes you’ll just end up in a bad spot and won’t be able to paddle behind a surfer. Do your best to speed paddle to get over the wave and out of his or her way.
Rule #4: Ditching your board
This is important, especially when it gets crowded. Always try to maintain control and contact with your board. Surfboards are large, heavy, and hard. If you let your board go flying around, it is going to eventually hit someone.. This means if you’re paddling out and a wall of whitewater is coming, you don’t have permission to just throw your board away and dive under. This is a hard rule for beginners, but if you manage to avoid picking up the habit of throwing your board it will help your surfing. Try walking out as far as you can and wait for the calm period (lull) in between sets and then paddle fast out the back
Rule #5: Respect the beach
Don’t litter. Simple as that. Pick up your trash, and try to pick up a few pieces of trash before you leave even if it’s not yours.
Rule #6: If you mess up
It happens. If you mess up and accidentally drop in or mess up someone’s wave, a quick apology is appreciated, why not ask them for some pointers.. the important part is that you recognised what happened, only then can you get better =)
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