Simple rules of surfing: The Surf Etiquette

Kuta Bali, the spot to learn how to surf. With the sand break and very wide beaches there are a lot of spaces where you can surf. But as a beginner, there are some rules what you should know about surfing. This is what we call the surf etiquette. In this article we will explain the importance of the surf etiquette so that you know how to handle when you go in the water. If you take a lesson at Odyssey’s Surf School, we don’t expect that you know about this. But when you go surf at your own, it is very important to know about this “rules”.


Rule 1: Right of way

When you are paddling to catch a wave, you are not allowed to catch it when there is someone paddling next to you on your left. He or she is closer to the peak and that gives him or her the right of way. It can be very annoying and dangerous when you go for the wave as well, because with a sharp turn he or she can surf into you. For a split peak two surfers have the right of way but they are expect to go different directions.


Rule 2: Don’t drop in 

This rule goes in line with rule 1. A drop in means that someone with the right of way is trying to catch a wave or is already riding one and you catch the wave in front of him. This can be super annoying and dangerous again. This blocks his or her ride and is not accepted. Don’t do drop in’s, this will piss off other surfers and the wave will be ruined for everyone. Just be patient and catch another wave.


Rule 3: Paddling Rules

Paddling is a very important part of surfing, what people sometimes forget. When you paddle out to the line up, make sure you don’t paddle straight through the waves where the people are surfing. Make sure you paddle out where the people are not surfing and the waves are not breaking. Sometimes this looks hard, especially on wide beach breaks, but you don’t want to be run over by another surfer. When someone is one a wave, make sure you paddle out behind him or her or speed paddle to get over the wave.


Rule 4: Don’t ditch your board

This is an important rule, especially for beginners. Sometimes it looks really easy to just jump of your board and dive under when a big wave is breaking in front of you. Don’t do this! This can be very dangerous because there is no control over your board anymore and it can hit anyone that’s close to you. With long boards its impossible to duck dive so make sure that your instructor teaches you how to do the eskimo roll. The faster you get used to this the better!


Rule 5: Don’t snake 

Snaking is that a surfer is paddling around another surfer to get his right of way. He is paddling behind him or her in a big ‘S’ to get the best position. This won’t give you any respect. There will be enough waves so be patient and wait for your turn.


Rule 6: Don’t be a wave hog

A wave hog is a surfer that catches all the waves. This can be very annoying for other surfers, because everyone wants to catch a wave. So be patients, there will be waves enough, don’t catch all the waves because you can. This happens a lot with long boarders and stand-up paddling, because the size of the board makes it a lot easier to catch the wave.


Rule 7: Don’t litter 

Keep the beach clean and throw away your trash. We all want clean beaches, this starts with you. Respect the environment.


Rule 8: Drive responsible

Respect the locals in the places you pass or where you surf, so don’t drive like an idiot. They will welcome you with open arms, but not when you drive with 80km through their streets.


Rule 9: If you mess up 

It can happen sometimes that you will accidentally drop in or lose your board. No worries, bad things happen all the time. Just say sorry to the other surfer who’s wave you stole. A quick apologize will be accepted. If you ignore the other surfer, you will lose the respect and it’s just not polite. You would like to hear an apologize when someone messes up you wave.


This 9 rules make surfing a lot more fun and easier. Maybe it seems a bit hard to remember all the rules but its common sense any way. When you are surfing more and more this will become very normal and you can dream these rules.


We from Odysseys Surf School would like to tell you more about this etiquette when you are here for a lesson or just for a chat. If you have any good or bad experience with the surf etiquette, leave a comment. We are looking forward to respond on it.