The surfer closest to the peak of the wave has the right of way. This means if you’re paddling to the right and a surfer on your left is also paddling for it, you must yield to him.
Surfing Rule #2: Don’t drop in
Related to Rule #1, this important rule is about yielding a wave to someone if you take off on it at the same time. Never block someone else’s ride – not only is it rude, it’s dangerous.
Surfing Rule #3: Paddling rules
Do not paddle in front of someone riding a wave unless you’re well, well in front of them. Sometimes you’ll just end up in a bad spot and won’t be able to paddle behind the surfer. It’s your responsibility to speed paddle to get over the wave and out of their way.
Surfing Rule #4: Don’t ditch your board
This is important, especially when it gets crowded. Always try to maintain control and contact with your board. Surfboards are large, heavy and hard. If you let your board go, you run the risk of knocking someone in the head.
Surfing Rule #5: Don’t snake
“Snaking” is when a surfer paddles around another surfer in order to position himself to get the right of way for a wave. While not immediately hazardous, it is incredibly annoying. So patiently wait your turn. Wave hogs don’t get respect in the water.
Surfing Rule #6: Don’t be overzealous
If you’re a beginner, you should avoid paddling out into the middle of a pack of veteran surfers. They’re experienced; you’re not. Paddle out to a less crowded beginner break.
Surfing Rule #7: Don’t be a wave hog
Just because you can catch all of the waves, doesn’t mean you should. This generally applies to longboarders, kayakers or stand-up paddlers. Since it’s easier to catch waves on these watercraft, it becomes tempting to catch them all, leaving nothing for shortboarders on the inside. Give a wave, get a wave.
Surfing Rule #8: Respect the beach
Don’t litter. Simple as that. Pick up your trash, and try to pick up a few pieces of trash before you leave, even if it’s not yours.
Surfing Rule #9: Drive responsibly
The locals who live in the residential areas near the beach deserve your respect. Don’t speed or drive recklessly.
Surfing Rule #10: If you mess up…
If you mess up and accidentally interrupt someone else’s wave, a quick apology is appreciated and will go a long way to reducing tensions in crowded lineups.