Safety tips for new surfers

Get the most from your surfing
Get the most from your surfing

If you are a first-time surfer, it is often difficult to know the rules of the sport. Surfing etiquette is important when you are in the water to prevent injuries and altercations with other surfers. If you follow these seven rules of surfing you will have an awesome session next time you head out.

Don’t Drop In

This is the number one rule of respectful and safe surfing. “Dropping in” on someone means that you take off on a wave that someone else is already on by cutting in behind them. Dropping in is very dangerous due to the fact that if the other surfer is surfing backside, they cannot see you dropping in.

In addition, it is terribly rude to do this and steal someone’s wave, even in a crowded lineup. To avoid this, always look left and right before taking off on a wave to make sure no one else is on it already. If you do accidentally drop in on someone, immediately pull out if possible and apologize after.

Wait Your Turn

When you enter the lineup, take note of everyone else that is out there with you. You can’t take off on every wave that comes even if you are the best surfer out there. Sharing is caring in the world of non-competitive surfing. Try to take note of everyone in the lineup and think about how many waves you’ve seen them go for. Obviously, it can’t be perfectly even, but don’t be a wave hog.


The number one rule of surfing is to not “drop-in” on other surfers like this woman is.
The number one rule of surfing is to not “drop-in” on other surfers like this woman is.

The Right Of Way

If you and another surfer are paddling for the same wave, the surfer on the inside has the right of way. This rule is meant to keep surfers safe and prevent people from dropping in on each other. If you keep ended up on the outside and have to back out of your waves, try paddling over and set yourself up on the inside of all the other surfers. Knowing the direction of the break will also be helpful in asserting yourself on the inside.

Safe Board Control

Make sure you know how to handle your board when you are surfing. If you are inexperienced, don’t head out without a leash in case you lose control of your board. Likewise, if you are going to ditch your board to dive under a wave make sure that no one is around you.

Don’t Paddle Out Through the Break

Don’t paddle out right in the middle of the break. Other surfers will be coming in on waves and you run the risk of running into them. Head to the outside of the break, paddle out, and then work your way into the lineup. This will keep you and other surfers safe.


Don’t paddle out through the break to avoid running into surfers that are already on waves
Don’t paddle out through the break to avoid running into surfers that are already on waves


Although it may be intimidating if you are a beginner surfer, but communication is the key to safe surfing. When you enter the lineup, try to make small talk with other surfers to break the ice. Then, if something happens you will feel less award saying something to them. When a set is coming in, it is common to see surfers asking who wants to go off on it. This way, you can avoid collisions and missing perfect waves of out confusion about who’s wave it is.

Respect The Beach and The Ocean

This rule applies anytime you are at the beach, but especially for surfers. Keeping the beaches and water is important for safety and general enjoyment while in the water. Never litter on the beach and if you see trash in the sand pick it up. Similarly, if you find trash in the water, tuck it into your wetsuit and throw it away when you get out. A good rule of thumb is trying to leave the beach cleaner than they way you found it.


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rebecca-hext is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival