Surfing Etiquette Part 2 - The do's and don'ts of the lineup
These are just the basics, it can get technical on occasion. For the most part, if you adopt this creed, you'll find that surfing can always be fun and enjoyable. Take it upon yourself to uphold good etiquette in the water both for yourself and for those around you.
First, like we said earlier, when paddling out to or within a break, it's your responsibility to stay out of the way of riders on waves.
Paddle well behind or well in front of the waves being ridden. Don’t put yourself in a situation where surfers have to make adjustments to avoid you while riding; that’s dangerous. The extra paddle is worth the effort and shows respect. If it’s going to be a close one, take the duck dive instead of trying to get over the shoulder.
Don't drop in on your fellow surfer.
Dropping in is catching a wave ahead of a surfer who is up and riding or is paddling into the wave. Even if they aren’t in the ideal takeoff spot or don’t look like they’ll make the section, be fair, give them a chance! First surfer up gets priority if they're closest to the breaking wave. If you're first up but you're off the shoulder, for safety reasons, it's your duty to pull off the wave.
Don’t “snake” your fellow surfer.
Snaking a wave is when you paddle across another surfer, that’s in a good position, to catch the wave. Just because you’re now in the priority spot of the wave doesn’t mean it was ok to take that wave from the other surfer. That’s abusing your skills!
This one is HUGE! Take turns.
Once again, don’t abuse your skills. Often, there are more surfers in a lineup than there are waves. If this is the case, be fair, give others a chance. On the flip side, others should show you the same courtesy. Nobody likes a wave hog.
We touched on this already. Respect the vibe.
If it’s relaxed, follow suit. Don’t get agro on every wave just because you can. That will either cause others to get competitive with you, or cause the relaxed surfers to bail early on their session. If it’s more aggressive, it might take some hustle to score a good wave.
Always aid another surfer in trouble.
It’s your duty as a fellow surfer to help others when you have the opportunity to do so. You were there once. If you see a dangerous habit forming, respectfully mention a better way of handling that situation. If they’re a little off, ask them to sit by you and try a wave from the peak. You could change their life and not even know it. If you can save a board from the rocks, do it.
Respect local surfers and their rights and customs without sacrificing your own.
Every break, like any bar, has its regulars. They may have a few variations to these guidelines. That said, respect the law of the land instead of trying to enforce your own. If you feel you’re being disrespected, state the obvious. If they don’t like it, too bad, you’re playing fair. If all else fails, scoot over to your own wave.
Don't take advantage of your fellow surfers.
Just because you know where to sit on every wave doesn’t mean you automatically deserve every wave. Lead by example. Don’t take advantage of outgunning someone. It’s your duty as a respectful surfer to spread the wealth and uphold good surf etiquette.
Be responsible for yourself, your equipment and others.
Surfboards can be extremely dangerous. Play safe. You don’t need to land that air right next to their head. Be aware of those around you at all times. If it’s crowded, wear a leash. Even if you’re a hot shot, it takes one time losing your board in the wrong situation to ruin someone’s day or board.
Relax, have fun and share the stoke.
We’re all in it for the same reason; it’s our happy place. Keep it that way. There are many “YEEEW!”s to be had and to be given. “YEW!” at will.
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