Surfing Etiquette

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By: Andrew Strand

In a day-and age when surfing is becoming increasingly popularized and it seems like the beaches are becoming too crowded, it is important to remember to be courteous and practice proper surf etiquette. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of surfing, especially when the waves are good, but you have to be mindful of the other surfers around you. The Hawaiian legend, Duke Kahanamoku, once said, “Just take your time- wave comes. Let the other guys go, catch another one.” Whether you’re a beginner just trying out the sport or a seasoned surfer, here are some unofficial rules to take with you into the water:

  • Paddle around the line-up – When paddling out, there is usually a concentration of surfers lined-up where the waves are breaking the best. In order to avoid getting in someone’s way, the best thing to do is paddle out on either side of the line-up and then paddle across to where you want to be.  

  • Don’t drop in on anyone!If you are paddling for a beautiful wave, chances are that someone else is too. Make sure to look both ways when going for a wave and if someone is paddling closer to the inside (or peak) of the wave, they have priority.

  • Wait your turnThe nice thing about the ocean is that waves keep coming. No matter how stoked you are to catch all the waves, there are other people just as eager to surf as you are. The rule of thumb is if you just caught a wave, wait for a few to pass before going for another one so that everyone gets a turn.

  • Hold on to your board- It is each surfer’s responsibility to keep each other safe. A loose board can cause some nasty injuries, so hold on to it and stay safe.

  • Respect No matter how long you’ve been surfing, everyone deserves respect. The ocean doesn’t belong to any one person, so a pro-surfer doesn’t have any more of a right to it than a first-timer. With that being said, you should respect the beach just as much as those in it, so please don’t litter.  

  • Have fun! – This is easily the most important rule. In the famous words of Phil Edwards: “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” At the end of the day, the love and positivity you spread through surfing will long out-live that backside 360-air you landed one time.

While every surfer should know these rules, there are many that don’t follow them. Instead of getting angry, spread this wisdom in order to keep everyone safe and having a good time. When you feel like punching that kook that just cut you off, be positive and help them out. Positivity is contagious, so don’t be afraid to throw out a compliment once in a while. Once others see you being kind and courteous, they’ll likely catch on.






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