Updated: Jun 30, 2019
Surfing is free and without boundaries. Surfing is about the pursuit of creativity and style. No government, no tickets, no referees, no judgement, no rules. Well, kind of...
Forget the obnoxious and silly yellow flag with that big black ball, the annoying posted swim areas, and the continuous drone of the scratchy lifeguard public address system telling you to stay out of those areas or on the correct side of the “OK” signage. While most surfers have a hard time even following these few rules, the rest of the large Pacific Ocean should be yours to express yourself, right? Again, sort of...
There are 33 million surfers worldwide, each owning an average of 4 surfboards, with an average surf session being approximately 2.5 hours long. If you do the math that is 82,500,000 hours of sharing time in the line-up with people with not only varying experience levels, but on any and everything that can traverse or move through water.
In an effort to minimize accidents and find some sort of semblance within the surf line, the Encinitas Lifesaving Association requests you to follow Surfline.com 's “Surfing Bill of Rights and Lefts,” or more commonly referred to as “surfing etiquette,” "Surfers' Code," or the "Ten Commandments of Surfing."
The rules, or commandments, are simple and easy to follow:
1. Pick the right location- If you are new to the sport, welcome; or if you are mastering the skills of SUP or Hydrofoils, choose locations free of people and where conditions are best for improving skills and not running into things.
2. Not drop in, on, or snake a fellow surfer- We are all out in the water to take-off on the perfect wave. If someone else is in position, that wave isn’t your perfect wave. Keep Calm and surf on. A wave will find you at some point or you can manuever into the perfect position.
3. Stay out of the way when paddling out or within a break- Allow people who have already done the work to get to enjoy their reward. Stay clear and use channels to get back to the line-up.
4. Learn to take turns- If you value your time in the water, you must learn to share. It’s a big ocean and if you can’t find your solitude here, find it at a different break.
5. Respect the pre-existing vibe in the line-up- Localism and early morning coffee cliques still exist. Understand the culture of the water and help with its balance. If a newcomer to the area, simply start off with a smile and a head nod or "hello."
6. Always aid another surfer in trouble- We guarantee you will need assistance during your time in the water, so pay it forward.
7. Respect the local rights and customs of local surfers when traveling- Respect can go a long way and vacation and trips are supposed to be about learning about other cultures, making friends, and enjoying life. Don’t ruin it for you and the next person who stops in at the destination.
8. Not use your waterman or water-woman skills as an advantage to abuse fellow surfers- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 33 million of us want a wave and apparently only have 2.5 hours to do it in. If you need more exercise; paddle... Far away.
9. Be responsible for your equipment and respectful of others at all times- Know how to handle your equipment, handle your equipment safely, and keep it away from others. Respect not only your fellow surfers, but the beach you visit.
10. Relax, have fun, and enjoy your surfing and that of your fellow surfers- It is really about being courteous. No one owns the ocean, but all of us must respect its beauty, power, and the bountiful waves it can provide.