is becoming really, really popular. This
for waves is becoming more intense. Hostility ("surf
can erupt between
non-locals, between beginners and more experienced surfers, and between
stand-up surfers, kayakers and body boarders.
can occur when someone messes up someone else's wave.
Sometimes aggression is
unprovoked. It comes from too many people competing for a limited
resource. It arises from a simple, automatic
locals have toward "outsiders": You
don't belong here. The crowding and hassling for
waves has left some
asking the question is
surf etiquette dead? In some places, it's gotten so bad, the authorities
have stepped in. What's next? Surfing permits?
Have any thought or experiences on this? | Post
them to the forum |
Avoiding trouble and having
more fun in the water begins with learning
basic surf etiquette.
Most of the time things work pretty well out in the lineup. As long as
everyone knows the "tribal law"
and respects each other, sessions can be great.
When people get out of line, often there's someone known as the
"enforcer" at a break. The
enforcer is usually a tough guy with an arsenal of wise cracks that
he'll use to embarrass and shame and generally make an offending surfer
feel like leaving. The enforcer makes sure everyone knows what position
they occupy in the
lineup hierarchy. The enforcer will let you know right away if you
break a rule.
In some places, surfing is all some people have to
to. It is their life force. They feel they need to stand their ground
or they will lose it. So they will pick fights and harrass anyone who
they think doesn't belong there. Localism is not so much that surfers
think a place belongs
to them. Rather, it is they who belong to the place.
Outsiders--transient wannabes--are not welcome.
As a beginner, it's very important to be sure to choose
beginner-friendly places to paddle out. It's very important to know
your limits and to not move into "hot" zones until you are ready.
Australian "Triabal Law" (click to get PDF)
surfers, especially beginners,
can avoid bad experiences with enforcers by learning basic surf
etiquettte. Experienced surfers (and enforcers) can help
up a bit and by
cutting learners some slack. After all, we were all there,
once upon a
time. All surfers can help boost the good vibes by adopting the "aloha
spirit." To get started learning about basic surf etiquette,
links below. There's a lot more on the Web--this is just a sample.
etiquette publications. Most
"beginning to surf" type books dedicate a page or
two to surf etiquette. There are only a couple of "hard copy"
dedicated solely to surf etiquette. One is Wettiquette,
a very brief, illustrated booklet on the dos and don'ts. The
other is a little book called The
Pocket Guide to Surf Etiquette. The book
rules (some funny, some serious) of survival out in the water. "Loved it!" says Chris Tola, Director -
Surfrider Foundation Australia
Australian "Surfrider's Code"
Poster (click to get PDF) -------->
addition to providing information on surf etiquette, another purpose of
is to support research started by Dr.
(Australian surfer/scholar) on the socio-economic value of surfing and
the concept of surfing capital - to understand the factors
can drive surfers--either newcomers or old-timers--into or out of the
here to get press release on Lazarow's research and Web site
we all know, surfing is incredibly rich, both in terms of its
market and its non-market values. The market value concerns those
aspects of surfing that have, or potentially have, monetary value such
as surf wear and equipment, surf camps and schools, surf-tourism,
surfing related advertising, surf movies and magazines. Non-market
valuations attempt to place values on things that generally
be bought or sold such as a beautiful view, clean air or the feeling of
anticipation you get when paddling into a new break or taking off on a
perfect wave. Non-market values have everything to do with surf stoke: A love
of the ocean and of riding
Because surfing has value, its "net-worth" to local communities and
coastal economies can be leveraged to influence policy surrounding development that may
destroy surf breaks and beach/ocean ecosystems. After all,
vandalism and hostility in the
water dimishes the value
of surfing. Whether
you're old or young, this buzzkilling dung
extinguishes stoke, which is bad for the community of
surfers at large who care maintaining the positive aspects of our shared
culture. Hostility is bad for the
burgeoning surf camp market that depends on newcomers being able to get
waves without the fear of being
hassled. It's bad news for the surf shop
owners who sell newcomers (and everyone else) surf stuff and
whose businesses run on stoke. It is bad for the multi-billion
dollar surf industry (they make all the surf stuff) that has
an interest in consumer
attitudes towards surfing and surfers. And it's bad for surfers in
general, particularly in areas where the local authorities are just
looking for reasons to restrict surfing on public beaches.
Participate in research:
here to participate in a survey on the value of surfing |
Articles by Dr.
Vibes and Dollar Bills? How Much is a Surf Break Worth? (PDF)
of Lazarow's research
More on the value of surfing: Goodfortheplanet.com
Surf-etiquette.com is published
Mike Mangan. Mangan is a psychology
professor at the University
surfing for over 20 years, starting back in the early
on the northern coast of Oregon. Despite the years he wasted trying to
learn to surf on a shortboard (because they were so cool) in
unforgiving waters of the Pacific Northwest, he fell in love with
surfing and has
structured his life around it since then. Mangan has lived and surfed
and northern California, as well as in Oregon. He presently lives in
New England. Yes, there is surf in
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