Blog post by www.pukassurfshop.com

Paddling, catching a wave and standing up, is that all there is to surfing? Absolutely not. There is much more to it. Have you ever thought about surfing etiquette? There is a global idea about what the rules that are inherent to surfing are and, even though these are non-written rules, they are know by surfers all over the world and, hopefully, they respect them too.

So, if you are an experienced surfer, we are sure you already know about these rules. If you are a beginner or your are intrigued about this sport, maybe you have heard of them. If not, don’t worry, we will go through them so you can learn about them. Why do we think it is important for you to take note of these rules? It is quite simple really, crowed spots can be source of conflicts and incidents provoked by surfers that, because of ignorance or disrespect, the disregard these rules.

Enjoy every second of it to fullest, that’s what we wish for everyone that loves this sport or is starting to fall in love with it; and, if possible, in a safe manner and taking care of the environment.


| Simple & Essential Rules 

In order to to that, here are the essential rules we have gathered for you to have in mind for you and everybody else to have a great surfing experience.


· R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

The simplest, clearer and loudest rule. It is something that you need to earn in the surf community. By following some simple surf etiquette, you will earn the respect of surfers in the line-up and this will make both your surf and their surf safer and more enjoyable.

Pukas Surf Shop - Surfing Rules Blog Post

If you are surfing far from home, locals of a specific spot have priority:

· Don’t shout. Being in nature, surfing, for many people is a time to relax and enjoy the moment. Don’t spoil it for them.

· Respect the environment, keep the beach and surroundings clean

· If you go to a new spot that you are not used to, try to go and check it alone. No local likes to see people that are not regulars arrive in five by five to their spot.

· Smile and be nice in the water. ENJOY!

· Right of Way

The surfer closest to the peak, thus, the highest point of the way has the right of way on the wave. Here’s an example: if you are about to catch a wave on the right-hand side of its peak and another surfer on your left intends to catch it as well, this surfer has priority, not you. So you should get out of the way.


Don’t worry, there will also for you to enjoy. If you were to catch the way disregarding this rule, you would be breaking the second one on our list: Drop In. 

Pukas Surf Shop - Surfing Rules Blog Post


· In the line-up, Wait for Your Turn

The line-up is basically a line for catching waves so, be patient, wait for your turn and smile! This is surfing!

 Pukas Surf Shop - Surfing Rules Blog Post

· Don’t Drop In

This is a tricky one since if you do drop in on an experienced surfer, you may get scolded and with good reason. So what does “drop in” mean? Taking off on the same wave in front of a surfer who has priority which would mean disrupting their path on the wave.

Breaking this rule is not only extremely annoying but it can also be dangerous and it’s seen in a bad manner within the surfing community.

Pukas Surf Shop - Surfing Rules Blog Post

· Don’t Snake

Being sneaky, not a good idea so don’t snake someone on a wave. This meas to steal someone’s right of way by paddling around the surfer, who has priority, in order to get yourself on the position to catch the wave yourself. This is not considered dangerous but it truly is frustrating. Doing the snake is basically cutting in the line-up, which is a big no-no and will cost you a great deal of respect.


Please, don’t be a smart ass if you don’t want trouble to come your way. Just be patience in the line-up, chat with other surfers and enjoy the environment. That is also part of surfing’s magic.

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· Paddling Out Respectfully

Pukas Surf Shop - Surfing Rules Blog Post

No matter is you just got in the water and are paddling to the line-up or you are going back to the peak, don’t stand in the way of the surfing riding a wave. We’re are going to mention a couple of ways to paddle out to the peak:

· By rounding or opening wide to the area where the wave is not breaking. Either to the left or to the right, depending on how the wave is breaking.
· If you are obstructing or you see that you’re about to interfere with a surfer's trajectory, you should head into the foam. This is a critical decision but the right one to make. Nobody likes to get hit by the foam but we will avoid accidents and we won't spoil the wave to the surfer on it.


 · Don’t Throw Your Board

We know, sometimes you just “need” to dish the board. However, ditching your board when you are going under a wave can be very dangerous, specially if it is crowded. The key to keep everyone safe is to try to maintain control and in contact with your surfboard at all times. Ditching a board to go under a big wave can easily lead to someone being hit on the head; and we all know boards are no good to hit people on their heads, right?


This rule is particularly challenging for beginners, but you can build this habits from the beginning and it would become much easier in the future. Check if you have someone nearby to ditch the board in a way that won’t hurt anyone if you don’t see any other way of saving the wave coming at you.

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· Communicate What Will You Do, Talk to Other surfers

Pukas Surf Shop - Surfing Rules Blog Post

Communicating with your fellow surfers is always the best idea. Talk to them about what your are going to do. A quick yell indicating you’re going or even a nice “going left/right”, will allow others surfers to have time to get out our your way of even catch the wave in opposite direction.

Remember to keep a positive communication so you don’t lose the respect of other surfers in the water. Be respectful to be respected.

 · Always Surf To Your Ability

Before going in the water be conscious of your true surfing ability and have it in mind when deciding to pick to paddle out. Don’t go into the big, round and hollow waves if you are not qualified for that yet.


Be patience, time and practice will lead you to bigger and more challenging waves. Go to them with the right equipment and once you are ready.

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· Catch the Waves With Determination

This may sound a little silly but it is important: if you decide to go on a wave, you MUST GO. Once you are in the line-up and it is your turn to catch a wave, select well the wave you’re going to paddle and don’t hesitate.

Pukas Surf Shop - Surfing Rules Blog Post

Catch that wave with determination, strong paddling and put your all into that take off. If you miss it, you won’t be able to paddle the next one since your chance has been lost and you need to wait for your turn once again. Plus, if you are in a good surfing spot and you make a more experienced surfer loose that wave, you may have lost further chances.

 · Enjoy Surfing

We have said it many times before and yes, enjoying it is part of surfing and an importan rule too! The best surfer may not be the most experienced, but the one who is enjoying it the most. Go in the water with a positive mind set. Don’t get frustrated, there will always be people that surf better than you. Be happy for them because they also offer an opportunity to learn.


The next one on that wave and surfing like that can be you. Surfing is not an easy sport. It needs of your commitment, dedication, training and lots of good humor and patience.

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· Respect the Ocean, Respect the Beach, Protect Your Surroundings

Take care of the beach, the ocean, your surroundings as they were your home because they actually are! And we only have one. Let’s keep it gorgeous and thriving.

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| What Locals May Dislike The Most

Within this non-written rules, there might be some of them that are specially annoying for the locals and regulars in surfing spots. Take note : )

· Visitors who behave like locals and bring all their friends to a spot where they are not regulars

· Arrogance is not welcome. Don’t act like a pro. Humility is best advisor on the peak

· Being sneaky when catching waves to cut in the line or reckless towards the rest in the water.


| The Three Key Rules For Our Staff

We asked our staff to choose three basic rules of surfing which one should remember out of this list. Here it is their selection:

· R.E.S.P.E.C.T. | The locals and people who have been riding that spot the longest, the beach, the environment. Local not only means being born in the place where the surfing spot is. For us, people who are regulars on a surfing spot can also be referred to as locals.

Respect the local or the one who has been at the peak the longest.


· SAFETY FIRST | Be aware of creating a safe and respectful environment around you while in the water. If someone is in trouble, don’t doubt to offer your help.

Pukas Surf Shop - Surfing Rules Blog Post 

· CHOOSE ACCORDING TO YOUR LEVEL | Choose your surfing spot based on your surfing skills. That way you and everybody else will have an enjoyable surfing experience.

| Enjoy, The Most Important Rule

We already said this and yes and we insist when we say that the utmost rule of surfing is this one: ENJOY, this is surfing. 

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June 15, 2023 by Hannah Wurzinger
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