If you're new to surfing, or even if you're ripping like a pro it is super important to observe a few fundamentals in surf etiquette to ensure you and others have a safe session. Follow a few simple rules and you'll gain the respect of those around you.
Remember: It's not always possible to get things right every time - folks do make mistakes. Don't use your surfing knowledge as a weapon, but instead use it to help educate those who aren't aware. Send out good vibes and you'll get them back ten times over!
So what is meant by Surfing Etiquette?
The guide below is intended to help you learn the rules of the sport. Surf Etiquette is a list of dos and don’ts that beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers should keep in mind whilst they are in the water - they apply to everyone regardless of their ability and where they are surfing in the world.
1. Right of Way
The fundamental rule in surfing is that the surfer closest to the peak always gets priority. In other words, if you are paddling for a wave and are planning to go right (right-hand wave), and a fellow surfer is on your left, then you must give priority to them.
2. Don't Drop In
In surfing, the general rule of thumb is one surfer per wave. If someone is paddling closer to the peak and takes off, then they have priority. If you get up and riding on the same wave ahead of that surfer, you are dropping in. This is the ultimate crime in surfing, don’t do it!
3. Don't Snake
Snaking is when a surfer paddles around one or more surfers to get closer to the peak and gain priority on the next wave. This is a no no; wait your turn!
4. When paddling out.. Don't Get in The Way
When you paddle out to where the waves are breaking you should paddle wide of the peak, not through it. If someone is up and riding and you are on the inside of the breaking waves, stay put or paddle in the direction the surfer is coming from so that you end up behind and not in front of them. Once they have passed, carry on paddling out.
5. The Furthest Out Gets Priority
Although some longboarders may not use this rule wisely, they should leave some waves to shortboarders, in theory, they hold priority. Sense and sensibility tell us to avoid calling priority in all waves.
6. Do Not Throw Your Board
Surfboards are dangerous weapons, not only for yourself but to others around you. Always wear a leash and avoid ditching your board. If you kick out, fall, or wipe out, try to control your board.
7. Communicate What Will You Do
In case two surfers are sitting in the middle of the peak, and the wave opens to both sides in an A-frame wave, they should tell each other whether they're going right or left.
8. Give Respect to Gain Respect
Interact with other surfers in a civilized way, even if a minority is still learning good manners. If you're surfing in a place you don't know, respect the locals. And whenever an outsider visits your home break, treat him or her with respect and share a few waves.
Now you’re ready to go get some waves! We hope the illustration and guide that we have created help you to stay safe and have fun whilst you are out surfing.