The Unwritten Rules of Surfing at Surfrider Beach
THE BASIC RULES
1) The person closest to the breaking part of the wave has priority and right of way. Exception: If someone is up and riding, getting onto the wave behind that person does not give you right of way. In other words, the first person on a wave has priority and right of way.
2) The person farthest out or waiting longest has priority and right of way. Exception: If someone is consistently paddling out to the farthest spot and catching wave after wave while others wait, that is called wave-hogging and the persons' priority is revoked.
3) When conditions are fairly low-key, the first person who paddles for a wave or calls for it has priority and right of way. Do not expect this to apply in crowded conditions.
4) Do not drop in. Dropping in is taking off on a wave in front of someone who is already up and riding it. (If you are a thoroughly competent surfer, you may be able to take off on a SECTIONING wave when there is someone already on it, but only if that person is a great distance behind you, you are 100% certain that the person will not be able to make the section, and you will in no way interfere with the flow of that surfer's ride. When there is any doubt, DON'T DROP IN.)
5) When caught inside, if you need to get past a wave that someone is riding, always paddle behind them on the white water side. Yes, you will probably get stuffed for the sake of someone else's ride, but it is far better to tumble around in white water then to be hit by a board. (Never assume a surfer will sacrifice his ride to avoid hitting you, as some may not care and others may not see you.) Do not paddle in front of someone unless you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you will be at least 20 feet in front of them.
6) Do not kick out, bail out, or release your board in a manner that puts other surfers at risk.
7) Give respect to gain respect.
8) Give away a sweet wave to somebody you don't even know. This will make you an automatic member of the Groundswell Society, an organization dedicated "To every surfer who gives someone else the wave when they didn't have to."
As a member of the surfing tribe, it is of great importance that you obey the unwritten rules of surfing at all times. These rules have been handed down from generation to generation because they are based on safety and common sense, and because they promote a community-based fellowship among all surfers. By obeying these rules, you will help to keep Sunset an enjoyable place to surf!