Many lives are lost to accentual drowning every year in Ireland. Tragically the majority of these are avoidable. Surfing is an adventure sport with an inherent element of risk. However this risk can be reduced if the basic safety rules and etiquette are adhered to by all. Every surfer should be familiar with and abide by the safety rules and etiquette before heading out into the “lineup”. These are well established rules throughout the world that bring safety and order to what would otherwise be a dangerous and chaotic sport.
Right of Way/Droppin In
Never “drop in” on another surfer. “Dropping in” is taking off on a wave in front of another surfer who has right of way. The surfer closest to the break part of the wave or pocket has right of way.
A surfer riding a wave has priority over a surfer paddling out. It is the responsibility of the surfer paddling out to avoid collision. When paddling out back you must never obstruct a surfer who is up and riding. Either paddle wide of the wave breaking area or into the white water. This allows the surfer who is up and riding to continue without having to dodge you. (However if the situation arises where a collision is inevitable the surfer riding the wave has the manoeuvrability to avoid the collision. There is no justification for running over another surfer.
Respect the Lineup
Learn to respect the ‘line up’ an informal line of surfers, particular at point and reef breaks where each surfer waits there turn with the surfer whose turn it is next sitting deepest. The line up can break down if one or more surfers consistently paddle inside those surfers waiting their turn. Such behaviour will cause the ‘line up’ to break down turning the session into a free for all
Beach breaks tend to feature multi breaks with several take off areas therefore the more waves for everyone but even at beach breaks the line-up exists at each of the various pecks along the beach. If you are surfing a peak where you have an option to go right or left you must communicate with other surfers in the line up your preferred direction to avoid ‘drop ins’ and unridden waves.
At some breaks you may be able to paddle out into a position that gives immediate access to the inside take off position you should not use this artificial positioning to jump the queue. Doing this is poor etiquette and will lead to bad feeling among fellow surfers, instead either let the surfers already sitting and waiting to take the waves they want until the line up is clear, or paddle wide to the outside and move into position along with everyone else.
Download SAFE SURFING- A SURFER'S GUIDE TO SAFETY AND ETIQUETTE