The Rules of Surfing
Don’t take off in front of someone else.
The surfer who takes off nearest the peak and catches the wave first has the right of way. Once someone is up and riding, do not attempt to catch the wave if it will place you in their path. This is the number one rule in surfing, and breaking this rule is the biggest cause of altercations among surfers in the water.
When paddling out, stay out of the way of riding surfers.
If you are paddling out, and another surfer is riding, it is your responsibility to get out of the way and not ruin the surfer’s wave. For example, If the surfer is riding toward the left on the wave, it is best to paddle right, parallel to the oncoming wave and out of the rider’s way, instead of trying to paddle over the green, open face of the wave and potentially in the path of the rider.
Don’t Ride a Longboard among shortboard surfers.
If you are riding a “long board,” it is always possible to sit further out than the riders on “short boards” and catch the wave way before the riders on short boards have a chance to catch it. There are some long board riders who ride long boards just because they are not skilled enough to catch waves on short boards. Then they ride in spots where only short boarders ride, and catch the good waves on a regular basis. What they are doing is stealing waves from others, and should be held in the same contempt as horse thieves of the Old West.
Find your own surf spot.
As a beginner, when you are still gaining knowledge about moving the board around in the water and catching waves, it is best to find your own spot away from a break that has numerous surfers riding it. When you surf a part of the beach which no one rides, it is like going back in time to beginnings of surfing when there weren’t a lot of surfers in the water.
It’s okay to be a beginner, but don’t be a “kook”.
Everyone starts as a beginner. But as long as you follow the rules, show consideration and make efforts to stay out of the way of others, you will never be a kook.