The stand up paddler's survival guide to surfing etiquette



Why are you in the line-up?

It's a question worth asking yourself. The beauty of SUP surfing is the ability to catch any rideable wave and rideable waves aren't exclusive to a line-up. A small paddle down the beach could find you catching waves all by yourself. Sometimes however due to the location, or weather, your local line-up may be your preferred option. In this instance it's important to remember there is a code of conduct and a few simple rules for your safety and those around you.

  • Be respectful. Like it or not we're the new kids on the block. Some surfers will look at us with intrigue - others disdain. Be an ambassador. 
  • Don't prowl. It's hard to keep position when the wind picks up but don't use the line up as a catwalk. Sit down once in position and you'll drift less. 
  • Don't snake surfers."Snaking” is when a surfer paddles around another surfer in order to position him/herself to get the right of way for a wave. Extremely frowned upon. Wait your turn.
  • Share waves. Don't be a wave hog.
  • When in doubt, give other surfers the right-of-way.
  • The surfer closest to the peak of the wave has the right of way.
  • If two surfers are on either side of the peak, they each have the right of way to take off on their side.
  • No dropping in. This means that someone with the right of way is either about to take off on a wave or is already riding it and you have taken off on the same wave in front of him or her. Don't do it. It's dangerous and ruins the wave for both of you.
  • Don't paddle through the line-up; use the channel. Always paddle through the white water behind those up and riding, never in front, or you might get run over. 
  • Avoid taking your SUP to crowded line-ups unless you're extremely proficient and it's SUP friendly. 
  • Always wear a leash. You not only put yourself at risk but those around you if you don't.
  • Make sure you have the right leash. SUP boards are bigger and heavier than their Surfboard cousins and some Surfboard leashes may be too thin to cope with the added strain over time so use a SUP specific leash.
  • Only use coiled leashes in flat/open water or the smallest of waves or you risk having your board catapult back at you.
  • Hold on to your paddle at all times, especially in the impact zone. Sometimes this won't be possible so always make sure you are well away from other surfers. 

Know your ability and surf accordingly but most of all have fun.