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Surfing Etiquettes - How to Surf Like a Gentleman

When surfing, it is critical to demonstrate that you understand the importance of proper surfing etiquette; otherwise, you will annoy other surfers, annoy the locals, and ultimately have less fun yourself. While there are no definitive books on ‘correct’ surfing etiquette, there are a number of commonly observed unwritten rules that benefit everyone on the waves.

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There are several rules that must be followed to ensure that everyone enjoys and is safe while surfing:

  • Furthest Out: Priority is given to the person who has paddled the longest distance or the surfer who has been waiting the longest to catch a wave.
  • Furthest In: The person closest to the apex of the wave as it breaks should be the first to ride it.
  • First on Feet: Any surfer who stands on their surfboard first gets to ride it alone.

If a wave is dual peaking or two surfers are close together, a simple ‘left’ or right’ shout to indicate the direction you will be riding the wave in can allow everyone to share the same space without incident.

Surf According to Your Capabilities

Different beaches and surfing spots will necessitate varying levels of ability and skill. If you choose a spot that is too easy for you, you risk hogging the waves and upsetting newcomers. Similarly, if you choose an area that is too difficult for you, you may obstruct other surfers. Likewise, selecting a time or location that is beyond your ability poses a safety risk, and no one should put themselves in danger.

Apologize if You’re Wrong

If you make a mistake, cut someone off, or fail to respect their right of way, you must apologize. Basic manners are free, and saying sorry goes a long way toward easing tension and healing the atmosphere. It also demonstrates that you understand the rules, recognise when you have made a mistake, and respect everyone enough to admit it.

Clean Up Your Mess

It is also common courtesy to take any trash or mess you make with you. Many beaches have trash cans, and cleaning up after yourself only takes 30 seconds.