Learning to surf is not just about Take-Off practise, learning turns and analyzing waves. A big part is also about learning the culture and some very important rules to behave in and outside the water in order to be able to learn how to surf.
Knowing about the correct surf etiquette does not only help to avoid accidents & injuries but also bad vibes in the water.
Know your level of surfing
First of all – do not enter in spots you’re not ready for yet. It is not about pushing your limits and get over the fear of some bigger waves, it is more about not putting yourself and other people at risk in the water. If you do not know the spot, do not just enter – ask around, chat with some locals for advice and the level of the spot, explain them your experience, observe other surfers and only after that enter or search for another spot. If you are new in a place it is also always helpful to book a private surf lesson for example – in that case you have a person with you, who can decide about your level and your abilities & also that person will know the spots and to put you in the right place at the right time.
Observe the Right of Way & understand priority
- the surfer that is the furthest out
- the closest surfer to the peak of the breaking wave
- the first to feet or first onto the wave
As always – communication is key, especially in the water. Make a call, even saying „right“ or „left“ can help avoid accidents on A-Frames.
Don’t Drop In
Along with knowing who has priority comes the rule to not drop in their way.
Cutting in front of other surfers who are just about to take the wave or are already in the wave can not only lead to bad vibes and anger, but also to serious injuries. So if you see the person next to you, who is clearly in a better position or more at the peak, paddling for the wave, you should not even try to paddle for the same wave.
Also – Party Waves are only fun if your friends are next to you on the wave – otherwise definitely STOP dropping into other peoples waves – they might not be so happy about that.
Repeatedly paddling around someone to always get back into the inside position, without waiting for them to catch a wave is a no-go!
If you accidentally drop in on someone, run over someone, or break any of the surf etiquette in any way, just apologize. It’s just good manners, and mistakes can happen. Nobody is perfect, but saying sorry goes a long way to smoothing things over.
Keep in mind, that most surf spots are also connected with tourism and therefore locals are often exposed to a lot of surf tourists and can be a bit unfriendly once in a while. Give some respect to them, be friendly and follow the surf etiquette & everything will be just fine. Some spots in some countries are especially known for their „localism“ so maybe before entering there, try to chat with a local & ask yourself if your level fits with the surfers in the wave.
Learn how to Paddle Out & handle your board
This simply means, you should never ditch your board and try to never paddle into the path of waves or a surfer on the wave. If there is a channel, make sure you use that to paddle back to the peak instead of being in everybody way.
Help each other
If you see, that another surfer need help, try to do the best you can to help – of course not bringing yourself in danger. In a dangerous situation, try to at least call for some help as fast as possible. Surfing is a dangerous sport and accidents happen – therefore it is important to show support in the water.
Respect the Beach and Nature
Especially as surfers, we are so connected to water and the natures, so the only thing you should leave after surfing are your footprints on the sand. Don’t litter, don’t vandalize or leave any other impact on the beach and surroundings. Check your equipment, keep your eyes open for trash and try to give something back to nature for giving you so much joy in the water.
Keep up a good mood in the water
No matter if you made a mistake or somebody dropped you – keep up the good vibes. Say „hello“ say „sorry“ and also „forgive“, so everybody can have a great session.