How to Surf: Common Surf Etiquettes You Need to Know
Surfing is not just all about mastering the technical skills so that you can ride the waves like a pro. It is also important that you learn the basic etiquette, including those that will be mentioned below. As a beginner, you will most probably break many of them. To avoid being seen by other surfers as rude, be sure to know these things by heart and apply them the next time you are out surfing.
Do Not Drop In
Dropping in is one of the first things that you should learn when it comes to surfing etiquette. It should be avoided. Simply put, dropping in refers to taking off or engaging in a wave that already belongs to another surfer. Meaning, when someone has already gained right of way to the wave, you should be patient enough to wait for your turn. A lot of novices act all excited to ride the wave, and hence, they end up dropping in or snaking.
There are many reasons why people tend to drop in. The most common is that they did not see or hear the person who already has right of way. To prevent this from happening, it is important to be attentive all the time, making it possible to see if you will be interrupting a fellow surfer.
Dropping in should be avoided not only because it is rude but also because it can be a danger. You can hit other surfers and your board can be damaged when you are not careful. For a surfer who is just starting out, these things can be frustrating. So, if you want to avoid them from happening, follow one simple rule – never drop in.
As a new surfer, you will be dropping in on another surfer a couple of times. All that you have to do is to say sorry, learn from it, and avoid doing it again. Do not be discouraged. The experienced surfers will be understanding of your situation, especially if they can see that you are apologetic.
Never Throw your Board
As someone who is inexperienced in surfing, you may end up throwing and leaving your board in the water when you accidentally fall from it. Especially if you are surfing in a spot that is crowded, letting go of the board can seriously injure another surfer. Even if it is tempting to dive underneath, be sure to avoid it and keep a close hold of your board. For sure, when you are a beginner, your board is big and heavy. This makes it more of a risk to others, so do not throw it out in the open.
To avoid leaving or throwing your board, it is important that you know the art of control, which will help to propel the board in the right direction, preventing the possibility of losing it. Another good thing to do is to make sure that you are always tied to a leash, which will be helpful in keeping you close to your board during wipeouts.
Start Out in Small Waves
If you are just a novice, you should learn how to gauge your skills truthfully. Obviously, you are inexperienced, and hence, the best thing that you can do is to start riding small waves. You should choose the perfect location, which is a place where you can practice until you master the basic skills. Also, make sure that you master the fundamentals first before you go to the more advanced tricks.
Study Before you Go
As a new surfer, it is also important to be as observant as possible. Before you head out of the shore and paddle on the way to the waves, you should ask yourself if you can do it. As mentioned above, you need to have a truthful assessment of your skills. Are the waves too big? Is the bottom too rocky? Is it too crowded? If the answer to these questions is YES, these are indications that you should not go. It can be too risky for you since you are a newbie.
In line with this, you should know how to stay safe. For instance, it will be good to talk to the lifeguards on duty to be sure that there are no rip currents on where you will be heading. It will also be a good idea to interact with locals as they know better. They can provide valuable tips on how to ride and catch the best waves. They will give you advice that is valuable for safety when surfing in unfamiliar territory.
In theory, surfing can be a lonely sport when you are in the water. You are alone in your surfboard, unlike other sports where you are with a team. However, this does not mean that you cannot make a new friend. Sometimes, all that it takes is a smile to the person next to you while waiting for your turn to ride the wave. This can make an instant connection. If you are on the shore, do not hesitate to strike a conversation with other surfers. You might even learn a thing or two if you talk to someone who has vast experience in surfing.
Build your Confidence
This is perhaps the most important thing that you should learn when it comes to surfing etiquette. There are many ways to be confident. A good way to start is to keep watching videos online and read articles that provide an extensive guide on how to become a better surfer. You should keep on visiting places with small waves. Find a mentor. Go out with a friend who is experienced in surfing. Be part of a community. Practice until you make it.
If you are not yet confident that you can ride the big waves, do not do it just yet. You are just going to be a distraction to other surfers, and you will be at risk of suffering from an injury.