Whats the Real Surf Etiquette?

thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber started the topic in Tuesday, 9 Mar 2010 at 2:44am

So many threads on these sites, no matter what the original thread seem to end up as a discussion on the rights and wrongs/do's and dont's of surfing.

So here it is

State your opinion of what is the right thing in a crowded line up. Maybe we will get concensus somewhere.
Personally I try to steer away from crowds as there always seems to be some one or group hogging all the waves.
I can usually get almost as good waves (and alot more than I would if I sat at the same spot as everyone else) a bit further down the beach.
I have seen attempts by the magazines to publish the unwritten rules only to then show a photo with some pro surfer having dropped into some other guys barrel with total disregard.
A bit of consistency wouldn't go atsray.

thetwig's picture
thetwig's picture
thetwig commented Sunday, 14 Mar 2010 at 10:17am

"thetwig" wrote: Well PABLO if u think surfers are better than body boarders u've got ROCKS in ur head it takes just as much skill to bodge as it does to surf... U have no respect for your fellow water dwellers and have no right to judge there skill level i would think by your brain capacity u would have no talent on a surf board and should stick to the shore line where people like you belong!

By: "pablo"

Twig I could get on a lid tomorrow and be ripping by the afternoon, I,d love to see you do the same on a board. I think you,d be in for a rude awakening as to the skill levels involved.


Well pablo that might be true, but atleast i would give it a hard go and by the way i think u need to know ego isnt everything, being a surfer dosent make u any better than a bodger and insulting people wont get you anywhere. Also it dosent matter what u ride it only matters that u enjoy doing it ok! So stop bein a cock head and wake up sunshine because one day some body isnt gonna take ur crap and ur gonna be wishin that u have a short leg rope!
spongebob's picture
spongebob's picture
spongebob commented Sunday, 14 Mar 2010 at 2:51pm

Gee pablo,when I paddle out Im looking for a wave not respect.I can admire someones skill,but respecting them for it is another thing.As for being a man and standing up,would it not be better to stand all the time?No more grovelling out to the line up?Is that why SUP riders with their higher level of skill are so respected?Should a surfer have the right to claim a wave from a SUP?I refer you to your own Darwinian princibles for an answer.Me I couldnt care less if you ride a wheely bin.If you are no danger to others ,surf by the rules & have right of way its your wave.Saying someone has no right to a wave because they dont ride what you do is arrogance.

pablo's picture
pablo's picture
pablo commented Monday, 15 Mar 2010 at 4:27am

I guess i don,t like being hasseled of a wave by someone who,s taken the easy way out. It,s like sharing your lollies with someone who,s too slack to pay for his own. If it ain,t hard it ain,t worth do,in. HaHaHa !

dork's picture
dork's picture
dork commented Wednesday, 17 Mar 2010 at 2:31am

I guess i don,t like being hasseled of a wave by someone who,s taken the easy way out. It,s like sharing your lollies with someone who,s too slack to pay for his own. If it ain,t hard it ain,t worth do,in. HaHaHa !

By: "pablo"

Ha ha funny, Problem with that though is that nobody bought the ocean.
Heres a funny hypothetical,
Accourding to your mentality, if you walked around the shops getting your groceries and then lined up with the rest of the people at the checkout but I had happened to Dance and moonwalk my way around the shop all the while collecting my groceries, when i got to the checkout your first thought would be "whoa, this dude has danced around the entire shop....dancing is harder than walking, takes way more skill, hey dude jump in front of everyone, you deserve it, never mind that theyve been waiting 5 mins and got here first. Fark me, if only i hadnt taken the easy option and walked i could have got straight to the front of the line. Your so much better and more deserving than any of us, sure walking still gets the job done and its really enjoyable but man, you danced, please go to the front of the line"

??????
:)

pablo's picture
pablo's picture
pablo commented Thursday, 18 Mar 2010 at 2:29am

What the !. If we had the same shopping to do ,and I danced down the isles while you walked i,d beat you to the checkout anyway. Man i can,t beleive i replied to that shit ! Anyway I think wer,re all losing the plot here.

dork's picture
dork's picture
dork commented Thursday, 18 Mar 2010 at 5:10am

My point was that if you translated you attitute onto land based activities you'd think it ridiculous (which you did judging by your "what the" response), why should it be different just becasue you are in the water.

1963-malibu's picture
1963-malibu's picture
1963-malibu commented Thursday, 18 Mar 2010 at 7:55pm

it is all about crowds.

there are too many people surfing these days.

if it wasnt too crowded there would be these problems.

when you strip it all back the crowds are caused by competition surfing.

competition surfing produced the heros, which made the brands and the industry, the promotion, the magazines/movies and everything is built on 'the winners' and the brands they are paid by.

and people wonder why hardcore surfers hate contests.

spongebob's picture
spongebob's picture
spongebob commented Friday, 19 Mar 2010 at 1:53am

Why not force surf equipment suppliers to tag their gear with a booklet on waveriding etiquette?It should include specific information about the dangers posed to others by the craft that people are buying.You couldnt trust the surf industry to produce it,it would end up some sugar coated fantasy.A standard booklet required by law & not to be changed in anyway.People need to know the reality of what they are getting into.Pehaps color photos of a head caved in by a runaway surfboard.Another of someone in a neck brace carried up the beach on a back board.Maybe a posed shot of a beginner getting king hit off his board?What about a check list on the cover?Are you a competent swimmer in the surf?Have sat on the beach & studied waves,rips,currents & tides?Do you understant what you are seeing?Ect.IF YOU CAN NOT TICK ALL THE BOXES DO NOT BUY THIS CRAFT TILL YOU CAN! A few people will change their minds once they see the facts.Those who go on will at least be informed.The surf industry & shops will hate the idea.Heres your board & wax thats all you need,oh heres a free frangipani sticker for your car.NO people need information right there in front of them when they buy this stuff.They need to know the responsibilities that come with it.

milney's picture
milney's picture
milney commented Friday, 19 Mar 2010 at 9:46am

Interesting thread - blindboy I think your analysis of the culture of surf etiquette is streets ahead of anything I have ever read - should get someone to publish it somewhere. The reality is that the etiquette as it currently exists, warts and all, is so ingrained that it isn't likely to change. Im my area, the interesting thing is the difference between different breaks - the 'in' and 'out' group rules are much tighter and more defined at the local point, with its more specific takeoff area, than the nearby stretch of beach where peaks tend to be more variable and scattered (when they exist!). It seems to lead to a range of status levels at the point based on performance, regularity and membership - locals who dominate, regulars who get some waves (and often will occupy specific niches within the break itself), and outsiders who get what is left. At the beachie, however, these groups are less defined, and more open to change. For me, I prefer the looser structure of the beachie - partly because its nature spreads out the crowd, and results in a more relaxed vibe most of the time. And these breaks have been this way for as long as I can remember - and that would be a good 20 years plus.

shaun's picture
shaun's picture
shaun commented Friday, 19 Mar 2010 at 9:40pm

This wholes surf etiquette thread is pretty interesting, due to different population densities and cultures around Australia the world, what works in one place will not work in another. Where I live you paddle to the back of the pack at the peak and wait in line, if your a tourist on your own, you'll probably have a good tongue wag with every one and you'll get your turn. If 3 of you paddle out, well you can have the scraps. I can't see this system working to well in Sydney, which is why I will never surf there. Every so often I here people suggest getting signs put up like the ones Nat Young wanted or did put up at Angourie, let me remind you that the reason Nat got the living crap beat out of him was because he thought that he and his son were above everyone else in the line and had the right to any wave they wanted as they were doing a photo shoot(this is where Mick and bottle get their attitude from) when someone called him on it, he didn't back off the rest is history. But Nat still managed to turn it around and make money out of it, with a book about surf rage. Now the prick is considered the guru of surfing etiquette, do you really want a greedy bastard like that to be a spokesman for surfing. I have met Nat and surfed with him and his son and they are arrogant arseholes in the water. Sorry for the rant but I am just sick and tired of having Nat Young being held up as a good example for surfing.

I'm the scab you keep picking off and is there again the next day.

sunny's picture
sunny's picture
sunny commented Saturday, 20 Mar 2010 at 12:28pm

Great thread!
Nat has always been greedy in the waves and on land. Seemed to have set the bench mark for pro surfers a long time ago.
Don't look to the Brazillas for any tips on surfing etiquette, they have non at all.
When you look at how we should share the waves, commonsence and self preservation should be paramount. Its when macho bravado and ego get entwined with limited ability thats when the sparks fly.
Oh, if you ever get the chance at a decent set wave and your not at your local, NEVER pull back, you won't get another, guarranteed.

Life is good when ur tubed :-)

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Sunday, 21 Mar 2010 at 4:14am

Thanks milney I appreciate the comment. I have no interest in writing about surfing beyond the odd contribution here. In relation to violence I think the main issue is that no matter how badly someone behaves in the surf it does not justify physical assault. Many of our aging surf stars have lost their ability more quickly than their arrogance and so have issues with other surfers. Professional sportsmen often find it difficult to maintain psychological health, particularly after retirement, and surfing is no exception to that.
In this regard, given their obscene budgets and the high incidence of substance abuse in the sport, the large surf companies have neglected their responsibilities. They need full time sports psychologists supporting the sanity as well as the performance of their teams and the strength of character to impose meaningful codes of conduct. Even better if the ASP, or whatever they call themselves now, had the guts to do it. Until it does adolescents considering a career in surfing should be advised of the risk it poses to their future health and sanity.

Laurie McGinness

jaybee's picture
jaybee's picture
jaybee commented Sunday, 21 Mar 2010 at 6:04am

Why does it need to be more complex than 'Don't drop in - EVER'?

This caters for the Darwinian evolution of the best surfers taking the best waves as they will generally be the ones catching the wave at the most critical point, the newer surfers will generally sit on the shoulder picking up leftovers somewhere down the line and as they get better slowly move towards the critical point as their skills progress. Everyone at the critical point takes turns.

I guess the other part of this rule is to make sure you do not put yourself in a position you do not yet have the skills to handle.

1963-malibu's picture
1963-malibu's picture
1963-malibu commented Sunday, 21 Mar 2010 at 6:53am

When someone is on a wave, everyone else in the water should get out of their way and let them have the ride of their life.

BUT

What happens when someone in the water catches the ride of their life, say on a nice left hand pointbreak, (no one drops-in on him/her) and then the surfer paddles back out past everyone and takes the best wave of the next set?

There is nothing to stop this happening.

This person is causing many of the problems.

WHO is going to stop them doing it?

Is dropping in on them the answer?

jaybee's picture
jaybee's picture
jaybee commented Sunday, 21 Mar 2010 at 7:43am

If they paddle past everyone half / three quarters along the break (the less experienced in the above post) then that's fine. Assuming there is a small pack in the vicinity of the take-off point - give or take a couple of meters, then they wait their turn.

I agree, it is this sort of wave hog that thinks they can always paddle inside the last person and still make the wave that also creates tension. It is a cultural problem - me me me, and forces everyone else to start having to hassle more for waves. They know what they're doing and have no care for anyone other than themselves, this means any words said are probably going to escalate into some sort of agro that the vast majority of surfers don't care for. I'd have to say you've got to try words before you start dropping-in on them (assuming that's what you decide).

There are d***heads everywhere, you get to decide if you're going to be one of them or not. Someone self-involved and unable to share in normal life probably isn't going to change when they're on a surfboard.

poket-roket's picture
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poket-roket commented Sunday, 21 Mar 2010 at 8:58am

One tactic I've seen some locals employ which some would say is typical local greed, but could deal with the wave hogs with some degree of success and minimal confrontation is to have someone keep paddling even further inside than said wavehog(even if there is no hope of making the wave) and calling him off the wave allowing a mate further down the line to take the wave.

I have never seen this happen down Vicco way although I would assume it may go on in more crowded areas. I'm certainly not advocating it either but I guess done sparingly it may get the message across to the few ignorant pricks who just won't wait their turn.

shaun's picture
shaun's picture
shaun commented Sunday, 21 Mar 2010 at 10:30am

One tactic I've seen some locals employ which some would say is typical local greed, but could deal with the wave hogs with some degree of success and minimal confrontation is to have someone keep paddling even further inside than said wavehog(even if there is no hope of making the wave) and calling him off the wave allowing a mate further down the line to take the wave.

I have never seen this happen down Vicco way although I would assume it may go on in more crowded areas. I'm certainly not advocating it either but I guess done sparingly it may get the message across to the few ignorant pricks who just won't wait their turn.

By: "poket-roket"

That's assuming the ignorant prick is ethical enough no to drop in on the guy that paddles inside.

I'm the scab you keep picking off and is there again the next day.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Sunday, 21 Mar 2010 at 11:54am

I agree that things work differently in different places. I am from way down south and things are just very mellow. People smile and say G'day. Nobody really ever drops in unless you are unlucky enough to run into the photo sluts from the capital. The simple surf rules are don't drop in, don't snake, don't put anyone else in danger.

I go to Indo every year, and now that is a different story altogether. I've never had any hassle from any locals there, but I have a shitload of hassle from other Australians who 'go every year ra ra ra' and pretty much claim they are locals. My number one pet peeve these days is people using skill level as an excuse to drop in on someone.

"He isn't even going to do a turn! He should have hacked that section!".

Fuck off! Sure, if you can't actually get onto the face then perhaps you should surf a bit futher down the line or in the shorey first, but I hate it when someone who can spray higher than I can drops in, justifying it by saying I was wasting a wave. I'm fairly certain you are allowed to ride the wave however the fuck you want. Competitive surfing has definately affected surfing negatively in that light. I couldn't care less how good someone is, dropping in just makes you a dick. Big Fat Ry Craike dropped in on me last year in Bali and then paddled right back inside everyone, even though there were only ten dudes in the water. Thankfully he was shut down by a big burly American dude and soon got out of the water, but its a perfect example of a 'better surfer' thinking they rule the joint.

pauly's picture
pauly's picture
pauly commented Tuesday, 23 Mar 2010 at 8:19pm

I found this great poster on surf etiquitte. Its from a plaque mounted near margret river in WA its called tribal law. great little simple pictorial of how to respect other people in the water. No dropping in, no snaking,calling left or right when taking off at the peak etc. its all common sence really, but for the groms its something worth learning. will save you hassles.

lawsyr1's picture
lawsyr1's picture
lawsyr1 commented Wednesday, 24 Mar 2010 at 1:27am

I live in Sydney and as a relatively newbie I took the time to drive up the coast to quiet beaches and surf until I could get up every time and learn to ride the face. In some cases I nearly drove to Newcastle to find a break with not to many people while i learned to control my board and not waste waves.

I also went out in big conditions (too big for me) to learn how to deal with them and build up my paddling fitness.

I only ride the sydney beaches (Manly, Freshwater, Curl Curl) during the week as it's too far to go before work otherwise and the difference in people and attitude is phenomenal...

I find the guys on the mals and mini mals just paddle out further than everyone else as they can catch the wave when it is a ripple and then charge through steering at other riders with a look like I am trying to get you. No probs - I will wait for the next wave...

Except they paddle back out and try to do the same again... As I am not on a mal I can't catch the wave that far out and tend to go when I think i've been fair and they bark at me (not just me) like I don't know the rules.

I ignored them, don't get me wrong if I am in the way i will apologise but if you are being a dick you can pi$$ off.

i had another issue when I was next to a guy who kept paddling for every wave and missing them finally got on a wave... Unfortunately I had got sick of being polite and cought the same wave... Short fat bloke threw himself back and kicked his board at me and I had to duck... When I put my arms up the fin hit my elbow and cut it pretty deep and was bleeding pretty bad. He then came up to me and was shaking and told me it was my fault and I should know not to drop in on anyone. I told him a board was not a weapon and to get over it. It ruined my day and I stewed for a while thinking I should have clocked him one. Felt better about a month later when I saw him get a punch in the car park...

Anyways, I still find it's not too hard to travel a little a find a break that's not too crowded... Manly and Bondi etc are never that good as I like to get more than one wave every temn minutes. My other tactic is to have a sickie and surf those breaks during the week, it's usually OK.

Anyways... Rave over

James

spongebob's picture
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spongebob commented Wednesday, 24 Mar 2010 at 3:31am

Sounds like a case of assault occasioning actual bodly harm to me. You should have called the cops.This psyco could kill some one.Better to see him getting handcuffed in the carpark,the animal could go & spend a bit of time in a cage somewhere.You wouldnt wear it on land,dont wear it in the water.Let him have a chance to argue his rights with a magistrate.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Wednesday, 24 Mar 2010 at 7:33am

I'm with spongebob on this one. Assault is assault don't tolerate it. Sadly Curl Curl is a total zoo these days and best avoided in peak hour or weekends. For all of you who remember their maths, bad behaviour is directly proportional to crowd density and inversely proportional to wave density.
lawsyr1 I feel sorry for anyone seriously trying to learn to surf on the northern beaches these days. It's a jungle. Good luck!

Laurie McGinness

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 25 Mar 2010 at 8:43pm

Hey Lawsy,

Like the two above that incident is just way over the top and should be dealt with by the law. The other experiences you mentioned (mals paddling out and getting all the waves etc) well, that's just the usual carry-on that occurs in any urban session. But flicking a board at someone??

Were there other surfers nearby? How did they act? (back you up, or paddle away)

lawsyr1's picture
lawsyr1's picture
lawsyr1 commented Friday, 26 Mar 2010 at 12:03am

There were two other rookies from South Africa and they were a little intimidated by this guy as he had found reason to bark at them before I arrived.

After it happened a few people came over and reiterated what an ass this guy was and did he really need to be so agro etc...

It's like having a really agro drunk guy at a pub, can't relax around them and can ruin your good time. Most want to just get away from him unless your forced to deal with him. I've never encountered anything like that since and even this morning at Freshie people were really relaxed.

I can't say I won't say / do something if I see him again...

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 27 Mar 2010 at 12:03am

Let it go! People's poor behaviour in the surf is often related to other stresses in their life. It's best to put it behind you. If you really want to unnerve him smile and let him have any wave he wants, it gets rid of the aggro pretty quickly. A good come back for people yelling at you is to ask them if they are enjoying their surf. If you say it with a genuine smile it usually shuts them up. I met my best mate by having a screaming row with him in the surf! Meeting aggro with aggro benefits no-one and pisses off the rest of the crowd who just want to relax and get a few waves.

Laurie McGinness

spongebob's picture
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spongebob commented Saturday, 27 Mar 2010 at 10:45am

Blindboy's spot on.You've got my respect for the way you handled it when it happend.This guy might just be to unstable to muck around with.Dont get drawn into his world.

jaffa1949's picture
jaffa1949's picture
jaffa1949 commented Saturday, 27 Mar 2010 at 11:52am

Having surfed for over 50 years, alternate now between my long and short boards for conditions.
The fat old guy was in the wrong!
Transfering frustration over all the waves he couldn't catch typical passing blame for his lack of skill and knowledge.
Good to see he got handled and it didn't have to be you!
Blindboy's on the money with his comments and guy's have been served with AVO's and banned from certain beaches when the law has been involved.

Footnote dicks come on all sorts of surf craft, come in any gender with all levels of skill, the common factor is their belief in their entitlement to waves over you.
pick your spots and factor for your enjoyment.

I have opinions and sometimes i'm right

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Wednesday, 10 Jul 2019 at 6:52am
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Wednesday, 10 Jul 2019 at 7:36am

It really isn't that hard, is it.

My local is mostly blissfully uncrowded, but there's a really nice carpark with a great view. A lot of non surfers come there and have their lunch or drink some beers, and sadly a lot of them just chuck their rubbish out the car window.

WTF?!? You came here because it's a nice place to be, so let's turn it into a dump. I've spent so much time picking up rubbish - incl used condoms and sanitary pads - and have even come down with gloves and big rubbish bags and spent hours cleaning up the place.

Incredible.

garyg1412's picture
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garyg1412 commented Wednesday, 10 Jul 2019 at 8:16am

It's not just the rubbish but behavioural attitudes too. A prime spot in our neck of the woods, which involved accessing private property, has now been severely restricted thanks to some cockheads taking their dogs with them through the local sheep farmers property. That nest is now well and truly shitted in!!

T.Edds's picture
T.Edds's picture
T.Edds commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 9:17am

Not taking off on the shoulder and giving people the benefit of the doubt are high on the list of etiquette.

That being said, the syndrome of pushing each other deeper and deeper past the takeoff zone requires quick judgement to take the wave off a surfer who is not going to make the section.

Good communication to other surfers (calling people into waves).

Finding the take off point, not scratching for every wave.

You can be polite and assertive in the water.

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 3:14pm

Calling people into waves (if you’re paddling but know you can’t get it) is great. Makes for a much better feel in the lineup. Doesn't happen often enough.

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 3:59pm

Even better is calling a less skilled/less experienced surfer into a decent wave that you could've made... could well make their day without diminishing your session.

Harder to do in a super-crowded lineup I guess, but I tend to avoid them anyway!

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 5:34pm

Spot on, Pops. Great call.

Island Bay's picture
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Island Bay commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 6:11pm

Yep, it's good thing to do.

Another thing I like to do in crowded lineups: when sitting outside, actively indicate that you're NOT interested in a set wave rolling in. I like waiting for bombs outside, and apart from only going for the biggest waves, I like to wave my hands to signal 'no interest' when a wave comes.

dandob's picture
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dandob commented Friday, 12 Jul 2019 at 6:29pm

Pablo, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt".