Pure Life Surf School

Surfing Safety & Etiquette

As surfing continues to gain popularity and people of all ages and skill levels flock to their local surf spots, it is becoming increasingly important for everyone to understand and practice basic surfing etiquette. In short, surfing etiquette is a set of “rules” or a “code of conduct” that is based on common sense and consideration of others. All surfers should follow these general rules and guidelines to ensure that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable session in the water.

The Basics

The diagram above is a good foundation to go by. Respect your fellow surfer and respect the ocean environment. Surfers are often considered ocean ambassadors and should promote the health of our beaches and ocean. We depend on a clean and healthy ocean, so always properly dispose of any trash you may encounter on the beach. Maintain a positive attitude! Surfing should be fun for you and everyone else in the lineup. Respect others and share waves.

Follow the local laws at the beach you visit. Different beaches maintain different sets of laws (i.e., surf zones, surfing near jetties and piers, etc.) So, check with a lifeguard for relevant laws before you enter the water.

Rip Currents & Safety

Rip currents are powerful, channeled water currents that flow away from shore and can occur at any beach with breaking waves. To identify a rip current, look for any of these clues before entering the water:

  • A channel of churning, choppy water
  • An area having a noticeable difference in water color.
  • A line of foam, Seaweed, or debris moving steadily seaward.
  • A break in the incoming wave pattern.

UV Exposure

While UV Radiation provides warmth, light, and vitamin D, there are many negative effects that can cause an array of problems from blistering sunburn to skin cancer. Because of these adverse health effects, you should limit your exposure to UV radiation and protect yourself when working, playing, or exercising outdoors. Also, don’t be fooled by clouds. Depending on the thickness of the cloud cover, it is possible to burn on a cloudy day, even if it does not feel very warm.