Surfing Etiquette: Who Gets the Next Wave?

There are several rules of etiquette for surfing that everyone should know. The first one we would discuss is knowing who should get the next wave. If you are the person closest to the breaking wave, you have the right-of-way. The person farther us left on the outside when a wave is breaking right, or the one closest to the curl, is the one that should be given the wave. When the wave is breaking left, the opposite is true.

As with anything, communication is key. It’s not always easy to tell where a surfer is going or the way the wave will break. Let other surfers know if you are going right are going left. That will signal to the other surfer that they can go the other way if the wave breaks both ways. Many times, a wave will split, allowing to surfers to ride it.

There are three terms you should know with surfing: snake, cutoff, and drop in. None of these terms are things you want to do RB. A cut offer drop-in happens when a surfer gets in front of another surfer that is already in position for the wave. This can happen when the positioned surfer is already riding the wave or at the point of takeoff. This will typically spall the ride for the surfer and can cause hard feelings. When a surfer drops into your wave on purpose, a snake occurs. It can also be when another surfer snakes into position right before the breaking wave. These snakes are typically aggressive surfers that should always be avoided.

Most of the time, cutoffs are an accident. A lot of people can be focused on what they consider their wave, that they become unaware of everyone else around them. You should always keep your ears and eyes peeled for any surfers already coming down the line or in position so you can avoid cutting someone off. If another surfer whistles are hoots that you, try not to be offended. They are simply telling you they are about to come in your direction or that they are on the wave.

Following the rules of etiquette in surfing helps to keep the sport fun and keep the surfers safe. The surfing is an individual sport, it’s always good to keep things friendly.