Wave Etiquette — How to navigate busy beaches

For many long-time surfers, wave etiquette is based on common sense — be polite to others, and they will return the favor. However, sometimes, it’s good to remind ourselves of what proper wave etiquette looks like, regardless of our skill level. Here are some of the basic wave etiquette rules every surfer should know.

Know the right-of-way 
First surfer up, or the surfer closest to the curl, has the right of way. Do not drop in (paddle in front of a surfer who already has a wave) or snake (knowingly paddle around another surfer to gain right of way). When in doubt, use your voice to call to other surfers to make your movements known. 

Exit the proper way 
Paddle wide around the break to get back out to the line up. If you’re caught in the wave, stay in the white water until you can safely paddle around the breaking waves into the channel. 

Be aware
Know where other surfers are, and keep an eye out at all times for obstacles. 

Keep control of your board 
That means using leashes to connect your board to your body, as well as surfing within your ability level. Surfboards are large and heavy with sharp fins that can seriously injure someone if they strike another surfer. Don’t rely on your leash to catch your board either, always look behind you before you bail your board to ensure there is no one behind you that could be hit by your loose board. Learn to duck dive or turtle roll so you can always stay on your board and keep control of it.
Help others
If you see someone struggling, help out. It’s just common courtesy, and you’d want others to do the same for you.
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