Surfing Etiquette

From Beachapedia

Surf conflict.jpg

One of the attractions of surfing is that it is a sport with no rules. Basically, surfers are just trying to catch waves, ride waves and have fun. But when your fun gets in the way of another surfer trying to have fun, conflicts and even injuries can result.

The potential for problems is made worse by the fact that many beginners learn to surf with little or no instruction on how to surf, let alone instruction on surfing etiquette.

Sign at Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, CA. Sam Reid was one of the first surfers in California.

Therefore, surfers realized decades ago that there needed to be “rules of the road” to keep some semblance of order in the lineup, prevent injuries, and minimize conflicts. has published a “Bill of Lefts and Rights” as part of their “Surfology” series that reads as follows:

  1. Picking the Right Location
  2. Don't drop in on or snake your fellow surfer.
  3. When paddling out to or within a break, it's your responsibility to stay out of the way of riders on waves.
  4. Thou shalt learn to take turns.
  5. In any surf session, respect the pre-existing vibe in the lineup.
  6. Always aid another surfer in trouble.
  7. When traveling, thou shalt respect the local surfers and their rights and customs, without forfeiting your own right to a wave.
  8. Thou shalt not use your surfing advantages to abuse your fellow surfers.
  9. At all times, be responsible for your equipment and respectful of others'.
  10. Relax, have fun, and enjoy your surfing and that of your fellow surfer.


There are similar lists and rules on many other surfing related websites, including:

Be aware, be courteous, and give respect to get respect. Surf with aloha!

This short video illustrates some surfing etiquette concepts.