There is no doubt that surfing without rules can be chaotic. Imagine being in a lineup with a couple of guys who try to hijack your wave every time. It is a dangerous and disrespectful situation. That’s why the surfing community decided to draft the surfer’s etiquette. Think of it as a set of official surfing guidelines, designed to bring some order to the sport.
Right of Way
Generally, you should give way to the surfer closest to the peak when sharing a wave. This rule ensures everybody’s safety as collisions may result in damaged boards, and in the worst-case scenario, someone might get hurt pretty bad.
Of course, not everyone will read this article or care about surfing etiquette. So if you are in a lineup and have the right of way, let other people know by shouting loud. If they still insist on riding that particular wave, get off. You can always catch another one.
When someone is already riding a wave, don’t try to catch it. Surfing in front of someone else obstructs the surfer’s way, breaking the first rule of surfing. And that never ends well. Instead, paddle away from the surfer and let them enjoy their ride. There are enough waves for everyone.
In case you unintentionally drop in on someone, get off the wave as soon as possible or try to tilt your board off the wave’s shoulder. Then apologise immediately.
Don’t Throw Your Board
Sometimes, surfers throw their boards when they get scared of a really big wave. The only problem is that boards come with sharp fins and pointed tips. Someone could get hurt, and that could lead to legal issues. Also, don’t trust the leash on rented boards, they can break at any time leaving you stranded in the middle of the ocean.