Knowing, and following, surf line up surf etiquette is one of the most important aspects of having a good time in the ocean. Most of the time a spot has a set of “locals;” people who grew up surfing there and will surf there until the day they die. They feel they own the spot and don’t like to see new people coming in because that means fewer waves for them.
Keep a positive attitude and always keep your eyes on the ocean and what it’s doing. When you initially paddle out, do so far from where people are grouped together and far from where the people are ending their rides down the wave. For example, you might select to go to the end of the wave where the wave dies or through the white water where it has already broken behind the people surfing.
Another good spot for a beginner is to paddle out where the wave dies. This usually gives you a much longer paddle to the take off zone, but it gives you a chance to warm up your muscles and build your paddling muscles. The rule of thumb in surf line up surf etiquette is the person riding the wave has the right of way. So when you are paddling out it is your responsibility to go behind the surfer riding unless you are SURE that you can make it in front of him without disrupting his line. If you choose to do this, make sure you angle your board and paddle hard to get over the wave and to signal to him that you are going in front of him and doing so quickly to get over the wave and out of his way.
When you get out there don’t sit next to people or in the middle of the group. The groups of people usually know each other. It would be like sitting down at a random table at a restaurant. Sit off to the side a bit. Let the people already out there catch a few waves, and even if a wave is coming to you, give it to the person closest to you.
This is the easiest and best way to show respect. You have to give respect first to get it later. When you get out there, never sit directly behind a surfer because when that wave comes and he turns around you are all of a sudden in his way. After you have given a few waves away it is your turn.
“Surfing Etiquette is the most important thing to learn before you set foot in the surf. These rules are not so much “rules” as they are a proper code of conduct designed to keep everyone in the water safe and happy. People who repeatedly break these rules are often given the stink-eye, a stern talking to, yelled at with obscenities, or just flat out beat up.
Don’t worry, if you accidentally drop in on someone they aren’t going to beat you up. However, there are rules of the road out there and this is the real world. If you’re constantly stealing waves or not being respectful, you’re going to have a run in.
With the growing popularity of surfing, the number of people in the water is on the rise and unfortunately surfing etiquette is gradually eroding away. The ocean is a dangerous place, and without proper thought to safety it can become deadly.
New surfers should memorize these rules, and even veterans should take a refresher course now and then.”
Practicing good surf line up surf etiquette is essential in being welcomed into any surf community.