It is critical to follow proper surf etiquette; else, injuries may occur. The majority of the dos and don’ts listed here are suggestions that can be applied to most situations. Please attempt to follow these unwritten rules to stay out of trouble and have fun surfing.
Choose your Spot Wisely
The surf etiquette begins before you paddle out—it begins with the location you pick to surf. If you’re a beginner, ask around for recommendations on beginner-friendly areas.
You’ll most likely be directed to smaller, softer waves and others of comparable ability to you. That means that any minor errors you make will have less of an impact on you or those around you.
If you choose to surf at an expert-level place, be prepared to know how to negotiate the lineup properly and manage the hazards—some surf breaks can be deadly even for the most experienced surfers.
It is your obligation to avoid other surfers and keep yourself (and your board) safe after you walk into the ocean and begin paddling out. Paddle about where the most of the waves are breaking, and if you come up against a surfer, always paddle towards the whitewater.
This allows the surfer to maneuver on the face of the wave. While it may be instinctual to paddle over the face, it is not fair to the surfer who worked hard to catch the wave to disrupt his ride for your convenience.
Respect the Locals
This is probably the surf etiquette that most people forget. Keep in mind that the site is frequented by locals. Give respect and behave appropriately when visiting a location, keep things nice, and earn some respect for yourself. Don’t crowd around surf locations in huge numbers. Take your time getting outdoors; don’t rush.
Closest to the Peak Gets to Go
Once you’re in the lineup, you’re ready to catch some waves—but there’s usually only place for one person on each wave, so it’s vital to wait your time. The person closest to the ‘peak’ of the wave, or where the wave is breaking, usually gets to surf that wave. Another way to look at it is that the surfer with the potential for the longest ride gets to ride the wave.
Dropping in on someone can be dangerous, and it might also irritate other surfers. Always gaze towards the whitewater when paddling for a wave to ensure that no one is deeper than you.
source: surfing-waves-surf etiquette
Wait for Your Turn
If you’re going for a wave and have determined that you have priority, go for it—don’t let nice waves pass you by. If another surfer is deeper than you, don’t paddle forcefully to try to claw your way into the wave—this can change the form of the wave and make the ride more difficult for the other surfer.
Allow the other surfer to enjoy it and wait for the next wave—it will improve everyone’s experience. We believe that this is the #1 surf etiquette that surfers must remember.
Don’t fight for every wave that comes your way when you’re out surfing. Take breaks between waves and share space with others. Enjoy every wave you get to ride, and remember that respect begets further respect.
Respect The Ocean
Speaking of respect, it’s the final point in this guide to surf etiquette, and the most important. When you get to a new spot, watch the locals surf and learn how to co-exist with those who have a deep connection with a specific break. This goes from everything from all the points we’ve gone through to the little things.
It’s a privilege to connect with the ocean through surfing, and we are all responsible for keeping these spaces clean and safe. If you drive, park in a way that isn’t dangerous. If you see trash, pick it up when you can. Leave the spot better than you found it.
More beginner guides for those who wants to start surfing: Bali Surf – Tips for your Surfing in Bali for First Timers