The art of surfing has been practiced for quite a long time and while it may be considered a sport now for many of us, it is a way of life. We all know that in all walks of life there are rules and that to become successful there you have to learn, know, and follow those rules, otherwise you will not get ahead. This is true whether you are a CEO of a major corporation, a pizza delivery driver, or yes even a surfer. Fortunately, for surfers their rules are common sense lessons on surfing etiquette that have been handed down on every beach from one generation to the next.
The most important rule of surf etiquette and one that you should learn and practice real quick is have respect. Have respect for the ocean and the waves, because they are home to many different species of aquatic life. Also the water is most certainly not a humans natural habitat even if you are in the water from sun up to sun down, if you are not careful you can not only get hurt, but you could be killed. You should also respect the surfers around you no matter what. Just because they may be old timers, newbie’s, or not of the local set does not mean you can disrespect them that will get you some attention eventually.
Never paddle out into a crowded set of surfers this rule is very important for a couple of reasons. First off, if you paddle out in front of a bunch of surfers chances are you are paddling right into their way when they take off. Paddling into this situation can give you more excitement than you might want, and at that point, you might not only get into a confrontation with an offended surfer, but you could get a serious case of fin gash as well. In addition to looking stupid, some of those guys out there might think that you are intending to just ignore the pecking order.
This brings us to the subject of right of way. Who exactly has the right of way out there? The rule of thumb here is that the person who is closest to the peak of the wave has the right of way. What this means is if you are paddling for the wave if anyone on your left is also paddling they have the right of way. Late take offs will also be unwelcome by whoever is up on the wave too. However, if the surfer wipes out before he gets to you then you make take a shot at the wave. A-Frames are a different deal altogether, because it gives two different surfers the right of way, but going in opposite directions.
Dropping in is something that is totally unappreciated and is guaranteed to not be tolerated for too long by anyone even a local. This is not only extremely rude, but is potentially dangerous for a couple of reasons. First, if you drop in on top of a guy he might just run into you or over you and that can hurt physically hurt you, ding your board, and damage your pride. Said surfer might also consider it his civic duty and a public service to teach you a lesson and punch your lights out. All you have to do is just wait your turn, because there are plenty of waves for everyone.