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We get it. From the outside looking in, surf etiquette is a realm bound by blurry lines. Even for those of us with decades of waves stored in the deepest reaches of the hippocampus, we watch interactions in the lineup daily that seem to fall into the sport’s many gray areas of respectful interaction.
What just happened? Are all 18 people on that set wave burning each other? Or was that a party wave? Who really had the right of way?
Truth be told, we all accept that surfing has a set of standard rules worth following in order to keep everybody safe and happy. But there’s also something beneath the X’s and O’s of surf etiquette worth appreciating and often overlooked: it’s the foundation for maintaining good vibes in the lineup. And there are few people on the planet who stand for good vibes more than Kassia Meador.
With that, there’s an outline of etiquette — some points well known and others specific to her philosophy — in Kassia Meador’s Definitive Guide to Longboardinge. Here are just a few of Kassia’s good surf etiquette tips:
1. Never ditch your surfboard. Never. Just don’t do it. It’s dangerous. That’s how people get hurt.
2. If someone is already surfing on a wave, don’t paddle for it. It’s theirs. Let them enjoy it. There will always be another wave for you.
3. The surfer waiting the longest has priority.
4. Letting the first two sets pass by when you enter the lineup is a respectful gesture.
5. If a surfer approaches you while on a wave, make eye contact and paddle towards the shoulder or whitewater depending on your position.
“There are so many things about the ocean that correlate to teach me different things about how I live my life,” Meador says. “Patience. Having fun and living in joy. It’s not about having all the tricks under your belt and being the best surfer in the water. It’s about enjoying each moment and each wave and the experience of spending time in the ocean.”
“It’s all good vibes, and by the end of this course, you’ll feel a lot more confident, safe, and knowledgeable,” says Meador. “Which means you’re going to catch way more waves and have a lot more fun.”