Every sport has its own rules. In the world of surfing, we don’t have referees or officials. We get by on an unwritten code of rules and manners. Yes, believe it or not, manners exist in surfing too, and having good etiquette will not only keep you from looking foolish, but also from getting reprimanded by the locals. The rules of surfing are part safety, and part respect. The Surf Channel presents, the beginners guide to the ‘Must-Know Rules of Surfing’.
First Things First
When going surfing, you should consider where you are and the skill level of the break you are at.
1) DON’T – Surf a wave out of your skill range. It is natural to want to challenge yourself, but if you’re struggling to catch a wave while everyone around you is surfing competitively, then you probably are causing chaos in the lineup. It is disruptive to surf out of your league, just as it would be disruptive to want to walk onto a NBA basketball court and assume you have the right to play.
The Paddle Out
2) DO - Wait for the end of the set before paddling out. Nothing kicks off a bad impression like getting in someone’s way during the best wave of the day, or even just getting pounded yourself.
3) DO - Paddle out in the channel. Again, this is to avoid being run over. If there isn’t an obvious channel, try to read the lineup a bit before getting out there, this will help you find the clearest section to paddle out.
4) DO – Say hello to someone. Communication is key to building relationships as well as avoiding accidents. Besides, there is nothing worse than a festering, awkward silence in the lineup.
5) DON’T – Get in the way. If you see someone dropping in on a wave right in front of you, always paddle towards the peak to allow them to get around you.
This leads us to some of the most essential rules, who has the right-of-way? Generally speaking, the surfer closest to the curl at point of takeoff, should have the right-of -way.
6) DON’T – Burn another surfer by taking off in front of them while already riding the wave on the inside.
7) DON’T – Snake another surfer by taking off behind someone already in position on a wave. This is both greedy and rude.
8) DON’T – Ditch your Board. Ditching your board is dangerous. Out of your control, a board can hurt somebody, even yourself.