Simple Surfing Rules And Etiquette

Even though observing a group of surfers who are enjoying the waves can make it seem as if there aren't any rules, the opposite is true. Most surfers abide by a widely-accepted set of rules that provide organization while preventing injury. These rules go beyond the boundaries of conventional etiquette. For example, most surfers instinctively know that they shouldn't be out on the water after drinking alcohol. They should be fit enough to handle the rigors of the waves. They should be alert of other surfers. These simple things are intuitive and play a role in showing proper etiquette. Below, you'll learn a few other guidelines that surfers learn to follow.

Avoid "Dropping In"

Dropping in means launching off a wave in front of a surfer who has already taken the wave. Just as there is a "right of way" when driving, there's a "right of way" while surfing. Those who infringe on other surfers' right of way aren't easily forgiven by veteran surfers. Take care that you're not dropping in. Even if you think you're far enough ahead of the other surfer so that you won't trespass on their territory, play it safe and wait your turn.

Alert Others To Your Right Of Way

Other surfers may drop in on your wave. Most of the time, it's simply because they either failed to see you or didn't realize you had already launched onto the wave. It happens often because it's difficult to see who's behind you. If it looks like another surfer doesn't see you on the wave and they're about to drop in, just yell "On your right!" or something similar to alert them. Again, it's usually an honest mistake, so be polite.

Control Your Board

Your surfboard is heavy. It can cause a lot of damage if you hit someone with it. People have become severely injured by negligent surfers who aren't paying attention and don't properly control their boards. In fact, the leash that connects your ankle to your surfboard was created by a man whose father lost an eye due to an out-of-control surfboard. Pay attention. Don't try any surfing maneuvers that will cause you to lose control when others are nearby.

Don't Be A Wave Hog

Just because you can catch a wave doesn't mean you should. In waters frequented by surfers, there's usually a lineup. Wait your turn, even if you can make the wave. If you take every wave you can, you're going to prevent other surfers from taking the same waves. Eventually, you'll anger them. If you're surfing in waters that are visited often by the same community of surfers, they may actually retaliate. Surfers can often be very protective of their turf. Respect everyone who is on the water with you. That leads into one of the most important rules you can follow...

Respect Other Surfers

You'll learn quickly the benefits of respecting other surfers. If you're surfing the waters where locals hang out, be cautious. Don't get in their way. If you do something that infringes upon their rights in the water, they'll let you know about it (sometimes violently). But, if you show respect for the other surfers (waiting in line for waves, giving right of way, not dropping in, etc.), you'll find them more receptive to your presence.

Follow these surfing rules and etiquette guidelines. In some waters, they're as important as your surfing prowess.