What Is Correct Surf Etiquette?


Surf etiquette is one of those thorny issues that not all people agree on all of the time. Different coasts play to different rules. On top of that you have some people who frankly don't care too much about other people and just do their own thing (yes even surfers have their own version of bankers).
Still it's worth taking a look at what is broadly considered correct surf etiquette by the majority of up standing tasselled surfers everywhere.

Correct surf etiquette explained
Here are two scenarios you may encounter in the water. I want you, the reader, to see which one you think is correct surf etiquette.

1. You're in line waiting for your wave. Here it comes. It's beautiful and full. It's clearly going to break well. You're practically salivating at the vision of the forthcoming ride. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you see someone taking off on the shoulder ahead of you. This guy is paddling away on his longboard, he's got a cruel smirk on his face, a look that says 'so long buddy'. In the blink of an eye he pops up, gives you the middle finger salute as he gets in your way and heads off for a dream ride. Towards the end you notice he wipes out whilst ensuring his board is headed in the direction of a whole chunk of paddlers.

2. You're in line waiting for your wave. Here it comes. It's beautiful and full. It's clearly going to break well. You're practically salivating at the vision of the forthcoming ride. You start paddling and in seconds you pop up and are riding an incredible tube. No one has cut in to ruin it for you and your love of life spirals out of control.

Hmm, it's a real doozie I hear you cry. Two quite distinct scenarios but only one with a warm afterglow.
Yes you're right, it doesn't take a genius to realise, that scenario two is the preferred option and the former is home to fist fights on the beach, tires being let down in the parking lot and a general bad vibe had by all.
And yet this simple, some would say universal, etiquette rule still seems to escape the attention of those most gifted of people I like to call 'self-centred sons of (you know the rest)'.

It's not exactly a hard thing to comprehend. Most kids learn from older surfers just by talking whilst in the line-up. They share tips and wisdom like when and how to paddle back out and keep the spirit of surfing on the right track.

Some though, and I'm not going to name names (well I can't really beyond 'hey you' and 'oye Mr ignorant') just don't seem to learn this most basic law of respect. So I thought I would post this up for posterity. You know, just in case they happen to venture onto this article whilst looking for 'tips on how to be a successful realtor' and 'how to launch a coup d'etat and impose yourself as a ruthless dictator'.

May you learn the rules of the waves and become a better person.

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