The fundamental rules of surfing

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The fundamental rules of surfing


We all love the lack of rules in surfing, you can do it whenever you like, with whoever you like, you don’t have to pay anything, just get your board and go shred. However, the more we surf, the more we realise that there are some rules. Not enforced or in a rule book type rules and rarely spoken about or discussed, but they are there, they are just quite hard to learn and very easy to break.
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So here’s our version of surfing’s 10 commandments:
Thou shall pay respect. This is rule number 1 and something you must understand as not just a surfer but a human being, respect your fellow man / woman in and out of the lineup. If you’re in a localised surfing spot, show said locals respect and also respect the beach and the ocean. Never leave rubbish on the beach, go out of your way to pick up other people’s crap.
Thou shall be real. Before entering the surf check out the conditions, if it looks a bit too much for you go somewhere else
Thou shall not get in thou way. Enter the lineup subtly by paddling around and not straight through the middle to the peak. If you’re paddling out and it looks like a surfer is going to crash into you, stick with your paddling line, or stand still if you’re on the inside and let the surfer avoid you.
Thou shall observe and learn. Less experience surfers should sit away from the crowd (and assumedly the peak) to observe and catch the waves that come through unridden. It may sound patronising or even unfair, but a typical UK swell would be around 3ft at 10 seconds, this means that there’s a wave every ten seconds! More than enough to go around.
Thou shall wait thous turn. The surfer closest to the peak gets priority. If someone is already up and riding a wave then it’s theirs, so just wait your turn. If we all adhered to this rule surfing would be stress free, but some people are greedy. Try to not be one of these people and make sure you’re not taking someone else’s wave. Unless maybe they’ve dropped in on you more than two times then they deserve some payback
Thou shall not drop in. Dropping in, is basically when you take someone who was in priorties wave. If you accidentally drop-in on someone pull off the wave as soon as possible and give the surfer a polite apology so he/she knows it was an accident.
Thou shall not snake. This is almost as bad as dropping in and is basically paddling around other surfers to catch waves. Be patient, as mentioned earlier there are enough waves for everyone.
Thou shall share Don’t be one of those annoying people who catch everything. It’s just really really annoying.
Thou shall bail appropirately Unless you’re about to get battered (by a board / person) don’t ditch your board as it can easily injure a fellow surfer.
Thou shall accept fault. If you bail your board and it hits someone or their board it is your fault. Just man up and accept it.
Thou shall respect. Going back to the first and the main rule; just be a nice guys/ girl. Say hello, say sorry, say thanks, help clueless beginners, give advice to non-locals, help anyone in trouble, pick up rubbish, just be respectful and generally nice.

Hans van Mourik

Co-founder SurfaWhile, ♥️travel, sports & outdoors.

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