Surf safety series #3: How to reach the line-up safely
It is important when surfing with other people, that you know and understand the correct surf etiquette. To ensure your safety and that of others around you, you must also know how to get back out into the line-up after catching a wave.
Using a Rip to reach the line-up:
You may be aware that when used correctly, a rip can be a surfer's best friend. A rip is described as a section of water moving out to sea, and it is also known that most of the time, waves don’t break in rips.
As a surfer, you want to get out the back into the line-up as quickly as possible whilst using the least amount of energy. Therefore, confident surfers can use a rip to help them get out the back with less effort and from there, can paddle over to where the waves are breaking. This means you will be getting into the right spot to catch waves a lot easier than if you tried to paddle out straight from the shore. The idea is to minimise the energy you use so that you have all your paddle fitness when you need it to catch waves.
Always remember if you realise you are in a rip and you weren’t planning on being in it, the most important thing to do is stay calm, control your breathing and paddle parallel to the shore.
If you're new to surfing, make sure you download our FREE beginners guide to surfing today!
Crossing the impact zone:
If you ever get caught in the ‘impact zone’ after catching a wave or after a wipeout, it is important to know how to paddle back out safely. You want to avoid sitting or taking a break in this surfing area, always make sure as soon as you wipe out you have control of your board, get on and start paddling.
To ensure you don’t get in anyone's way you want to paddle through the white wash. Although it would be easier and nicer for you to paddle through the unbroken waves, that is where the other surfers are trying to catch waves.
Techniques that can be used to get through the white wash are the turtle roll or a duck dive if you are on a short enough board. In a Surf Getaways Clinic, you will learn how to use these techniques correctly so you feel confident to put them into action when you go for a surf yourself.
Extra tip for good surf etiquette:
As a surfer, we hear the term “dropping in” used when speaking about surf etiquette. The general rule is that the surfer closest to where the wave is breaking has the right of way. This means the surfer who has the potential for the longest ride has priority for the wave and therefore nobody else should catch the wave; this would be considered ‘dropping in’ if you caught the wave too.
To avoid dropping in make sure you know how to read a wave, which is something we teach you in a Surf Getaways Surf Clinic. As you are paddling for the wave you want to look at the ‘peak’ (where the wave is going to first break) to see if there is already someone closest to that position that will catch the wave. It is important to communicate with other surfers out in the water too. Just simply asking “are you going this wave” can eliminate any drop-ins, and who knows just by you asking that question it might even lead to a party wave! Where the two of you catch a wave together.
If you would like to know more about surf etiquette to keep you and other surfers safe you should look at joining a Surf Getaways Clinic or a Surf Getaways tour where we will take you through the do’s and don’ts and help you to practice correct surf etiquette.