20th Day in Rockaway: Surfer Etiquette
I've touched on surfer etiquette before including key advice I received on controlling your board and the communal nature of surfing. Last weekend I caught sight of this painted "Surfers Code" in the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. While it doesn't cover every single situation/rule it provides a pretty good layout of the core guidelines and general ethos of respect others in the water.
For those of you who are newer to surfing - here's a breakdown of what this all means:
1. Right of way - it's exactly what it sounds like, this is how you know who gets to go first when two people both start to head for a wave. If it's not you, back off and let the other surfer take this one.
2. Not dropping in or "snaking" a wave seems to be the cardinal rule of surfing. It refers to taking a wave that someone else is on - something that is not only overly aggressive but also potentially dangerous.
3. Paddling well is key to any good surfers skill set. Not only does the surfer code encourage you to paddle hard but also paddle smart so you're not in someone else's way (again dangerous for everyone involved).
4. Good rule for life: communicate.
5. It can be tough to get respect as a beginner surfer. The #1 way is to surf within your ability limits and not try to go out hard on something you can't handle (and get in other people's way in the process).
6. Board control - already mentioned above but worth repeating because you seriously don't want to be that person that hurt someone else with your board.
I'm leaving the comments open on this one if you'd like to weigh in on other "rules of engagement" newer surfers should know.
By Sarah Knapp as part of a series called 30 Days in the Rockaways