Surfing is not a science. It’s a sport. But just like any sport, you have to follow the rules to play. Practicing the dos and don’ts of surfing makes everyone’s experience that much more enjoyable.
You don’t want to be that guy. Do you?
The first, and most widely recognized surf etiquette rule, is the right of way. Wave priority rules have regulated surf society since the first time two people sat together during a set. Without it, there would be utter chaos.
If you are unaware of this rule, there are two reasons. 1. You don’t surf. 2. You just found out you’re an asshole. If you fall in the second category, finish thinking back on all those times you wondered why other surfers were yelling profanities at you and pay attention.
Whoever is closest to the peak of the wave gets the ride. This is for the maximization of a good time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been waiting. This isn’t a queue at Walgreens. If you drop in on someone because you think it’s your turn or you’re just some macho dummkopf with a complex, then you’ve just ruined the wave for everyone. Thanks, asshole. You are a party-pooper of a most terrible sort and should rethink whether your place on this planet is really worth it.
If you want more detailed information on the subject, check out the The Surfing Handbook.
Being excited about a great ride is part of the experience. Everyone is out there to have fun and enjoy the water. However, screaming “Yewwwww!” at the top of your lungs while shredding a mushy 2ft wave does not need to be part of it. While you may think you’re the gnarliest dude to grace a pair of neon hibiscus board shorts, the rest of world probably isn’t interested.
Being out in the ocean is peaceful for most surfers. While you don’t have to take a vow of silence, appreciate that there are other people around you who don’t want to be constantly made aware of your existence. If you are hooting and hollering the entire time there is a good chance that in the event you are being eaten by a shark, nobody will notice until you suddenly go quiet. So, in short, shut up. Please.
Being proud of where you live is great. However, if your localism is bordering on xenophobia, perhaps you need to relax and work on your self-identification issues. Someday, you also may want to surf a break other than your own. Sharing is caring.
“Sweet Jesus, is that a girl? And SHE’S SURFING! WOW! She has a butt and everything! I bet she wants me to say something about that.”
You may be thinking the clouds have parted, the sun is shining rays of good vibes and god is smiling down on you whispering, “Go get her, tiger.” But just don’t.
While I know you two already have so much in common, there is a chance she is just out there to surf rather than find someone to give her dowry. Singling her out may make her feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. Eyeballing her, paddling to get closer and asking if she wants any tips from an experienced guy like yourself will probably cross a boundary she is already tired of.
So, you may be thinking, but what if she is out there for attention? Well, in that case, she’ll talk to you first. Problem solved.
Is this Seat Taken?:
You know how it’s super awkward when you are the only one in the bathroom and someone comes in and chooses the one spot directly next to you? Are they lonely? Attracted to you? Unstable?
While there is a better chance you won’t get pepper sprayed choosing a spot directly next to another lone surfer, he/she probably doesn’t want you there. The ocean is a big place, and there are decent sets everywhere. Don’t make someone share because you think the grass is greener in your neighbor’s yard.
Freak on a Leash:
We get it, you’re awesome. The fact is, however, a lot of injuries happen because awesome people like you think they’re too awesome to be careful. Nobody plans to hit a toddler learning to swim in the shallows. It just kind of, you know, happens. Most importantly, be aware of your surroundings especially when it’s crowded…especially at the pier…kooks. 🙂