Surfing School - Surfing - The Rules
Surfing tends to be pretty free form but there are certain accepted rules, mostly based on safety and common sense (you must have some to learn to surf).
- Wave ownership (The "my wave" rule)
The person closest to the breaking part of the wave has the right of way.
Caveat: If someone is up and riding, paddling into the wave behind them does not give you the wave.
Also note: In many low-key breaks, the first person paddling for the wave owns it. Do not expect this to apply in crowded conditions.
- Dropping in (The "Thall shalt not" rule)
Dropping in is taking off on a wave in front of someone
who is already up and riding. Don't do this. Ever.
- Paddling out (The "Eat it" rule)
When paddling out, if you must get over a wave that someone is riding, paddle behind them (On the white water side). This generally means getting stuffed for the sake of someone else's ride. Take comfort in the hope that they would do the same for you. Do not paddle in front of someone unless you are so sure that you will be 20 feet in front of them that you are willing to bet the well-being of your board/car/nose on it.