Still a small wave coming in down in KB/CB. Once the tide goes out a little it should be fun.. . I have pulled a list of the 10 surf etiquette commandments… See how many you follow…
THE TEN SURFER COMMANDMENTS:
- Surf as Much as You Possibly Can. Surfing can have a really steep learning curve. The best thing you can do to transcend kookiness is get as comfortable in the water as you can, as quickly as you can. Forget trying to talk a big game, and just get out there. Josh Rosen, co-founder of the SoHo surf shop Saturdays Surf NYC, says, “A kook thing that always makes me laugh is these guys who have brand-new boards and brand-new wetsuits—and we appreciate that, because those are potential customers—but they’re sitting in the parking lot talking when you go out to surf, and you’re out in the water for a couple hours, and you come back out and they’re still in their wetsuits, with their boards sitting next to them, talking.”
- Don’t Ditch Your Board. This is the cardinal sin of kookdom. On the first few paddle-outs, it can be hard to wrangle a piece of fiberglass bigger than your body. But it’s important to keep a handle on your board at all times, lest it get away from you in the surf and whack someone behind you.
- Don’t Drop In on Someone. The surfer already surfing a wave—or the one paddling in closest to the peak of the wave—gets priority. If someone in a better position is going for a wave, then sit this one out. Don’t paddle in front of someone. Cutting someone off is offensive and inconvenient at best, and dangerous at worst.
- Honor the Lineup. The lineup is the hierarchy governing the group of surfers at a break. If you’re new to a location or the sport in general, you’ll probably be at the bottom. Don’t try to catch every single wave, especially if you see the best (or scariest-looking) surfers going for the same ones. “When you look at a lineup,” explains legendary big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, “in general, there’s a mandatory pecking order that’s established. Without that organization, there’s a tendency for chaos and recklessness . . . just like you have highway patrols on freeways, you’ve got to have some organization in the lineup.”
- Dress the Part. The brightness of your plumage should be directly proportional to your prowess: If you show up in a colorful wetsuit, you need to have the skills to back it up. Laird Hamilton says, “If you’re going to wear neon pink, you’d better be a hell of a surfer. At the end of the day, if you’re going to draw attention to yourself in the lineup, then you better make sure you know what you’re doing.” Some other common faux pas include wearing booties in warm weather, wearing a floppy hat, and forgetting to wax your board (or worse, carrying it so that all the wax ends up on your wetsuit).
And be sure to use a leash! If you’re a beginner, you need to use a leash to keep you from losing your board and keep it from hitting others. And don’t put the leash on until you’re right at the water—nothing’s kookier than tripping over your leash on your way out to the surf.
- Know Your Limits and Own Your Mistakes. “If the waves are big and you’re not ready for it,” says Saturdays co-founder Morgan Collett, “you’ll put yourself and other people in danger by going out there, so understand what you can and can’t handle . . . If you make a mistake, know you made one, admit it, and just carry on.” Laird Hamilton agrees: “When I was beginning, the adults were all telling me to shut up, because I was yelling and screaming. As a younger guy trying to make his way through the lineup, I made plenty of mistakes. Dropping in on the wrong guy, or banging into somebody—that’s how you learn about how the system works; you have to make those mistakes. So if there’s been a mistake made in surfing, I’ve probably made it at least more than once. I can tell you that.”
- Give Respect to Get Respect. Surfing often revolves around localism and mutual respect. Locals aren’t always happy to see interlopers at their favorite breaks—and nobody’s ever happy to be disrespected. Acts of aggression aren’t all that uncommon. As Josh Rosen explains, “Surfers by nature can definitely be territorial and have aggressive tendencies. I’ve seen fistfights in and out of the water, I’ve seen people getting their cars waxed, that’s a classic one. Taking a bar of wax, which every surfer usually carries, and writing ‘kook,’ or ‘go home’ on someone’s car.”
Remember to be respectful of more senior surfers. Morgan Collett says, “There is a certain realm of local respect that you should have if you’re traveling . . . if people choose to be a little aggressive at their local break, then you have to be respectful, and try not to get in anyone’s way.” Hamilton agrees: “The only time we have a real problem is when the transient users don’t respect local customs . . . When someone’s a genuine, true beginner, and they’re respectful and try to do the right thing, they’re going to get plenty of help and encouragement in the lineup.”
- Be Aware. Laird Hamilton recalls, “I got run over by a guy when I was sixteen and he broke my leg. A guy ran me over with a giant longboard, and it compounded my leg, and that was one of those things that you learn, like, ‘Don’t trust that the guy sees you and that they’re going to avoid you.’ Just remember that they’re probably going to run you over if you don’t watch where you’re going.”
- Be Decisive. “I think the biggest mistake any beginner makes is hesitation,” says Laird. “You need to be deliberate with your actions, and if you’re going to paddle out of the way, just paddle and keep paddling. I think a real common mistake is people being indecisive in their movements, whether it’s trying to catch the wave or get out of the way.”
- Have fun. Yeah, this last one’s a bit trite, but we’d hate for you to lose sight of the whole point of all this. Now that you know how to avoid looking like an asshole, you can have a great time surfing. “You know, we make fun of these people that are potentially kooks or doing kooky things,” reflects Josh Rosen, “but I also think that as long as these people are enjoying themselves, then that’s all that matters. Whoever’s having the most fun, in my eyes, is the best surfer. You can see the difference in levels, but as long as that kooky guy or gal is having the best time, then they have every right to experience it.”