How Surfers Avoid Crashing Into Others

Every extreme sport will sooner or later come in contact with another athlete. In surfing, that’s a big “NO.” It is important to realize that surfing is unlike any other sport; it is usually done individually, and there’s proper etiquette to follow with respect to other surfers.

5 Surfing Etiquettes That Every Surfer Must Respect

Understanding that everything in life, especially sports, has a set of rules, written or unwritten, that each player must abide by. These rules are not just for competitive surfing but are also applicable to casual surfing. Despite being known as a laidback sport, it is crucial to follow surfing rules to avoid any severe injuries and, possibly, death.

Whether you are a beginner or a trained professional, these will always come in handy.

1. Choose The Right Wave 

Early on, surfers must understand the necessity of knowing the right waves. By learning to read the waves, they can gauge and develop the necessary course of action for the approaching wave. With this very skill, you will also be able to measure their closeness to other surfers on the sea, effectively avoiding collision.

It is important to practice reading the waves early on your surfing journey. One of the effective ways to do this is to travel to different surfing territories and observe just how strong, big, small, intense, and calm the waves can be depending on various factors.

These factors can be anywhere from wind direction, tidal change, season, weather, climate, crowding of the sea, and more. As a surfer, it is your responsibility to not just be in charge of yourself but also be responsible enough to understand the risks of the sport.

2. Develop Impeccable Reaction Time

Every human has the essential reflex movement that signals their reaction time. In any sport, all athletes must be able to train their reaction time to keep up with the atmosphere’s intensity. 

This is beyond crucial to practice for surfers because the actions of the surfers around you and the water can be unpredictable. Using your peripheral vision will also come into play when sizing up your surroundings.

Vision is only one part of your reaction; the next is your body’s movement. Focusing on maintaining a good balance on the board and eye-body coordination will help surfers make quick reactions.

Lastly, mentally exercising your body’s reaction will also aid in a better response. Since our body sends signals to our brain, practicing quick and suitable body responses could result in several good things.

One of the best would be to save yourself and others from severe injury that could be caused by the crash. 

You’re constantly improving your reaction time once you’ve mastered having a quick mental response and good reflexes. Thus, you’ll be safe from even the possibility of colliding with others. 

3. The Right of Way When Surfing

The rising popularity of surfing also equates to the growing numbers of surfers. With this, multiple locations can get crowded, making surfing hard. This is why enforcing the right of way or priority is essential to prevent any attempts to ride a wave that another surfer is already riding.

You will notice that most surfers give way to someone closer to the wave and the furthest from the shore. Applying this shows camaraderie and respect towards other surfers.

4. Being Present In The Now

Surfing is one of the most mediating physical activities because it allows surfers to practice mindfulness by being in the here and the now. Many surfers are great meditators, so they can live a very calming and laid-back lifestyle.

The sport compliments meditation fundamentals, wherein you can clear your mind while focusing on the present in your connection with your body and nature. Nothing quite the feel of being in complete sync with mind, body, and nature.

With this practice, surfers are widely aware of everything happening to them, making avoiding collision easier. They are so into the moment that they wouldn’t even drift off into daydreaming.

5. Communicate with Fellow Surfers

Communication is one of the most critical skills that every person should have in surfing and other sports. Among surfers, communicating is essential, especially when there’s a crowd on the sea.

It is relatively easy for surfers to communicate and befriend other surfers because they all believe that surfing is more than just a sport; it is also a lifestyle. Therefore, they already share that bond. 

It is also important to realize that understanding the basic terminologies will help immensely, mainly when beginners converse with professionals. There are many different ways to speak in and out of the waters. First, there’s making eye contact, hand gestures, and good old friendly banters.

You need to know these fundamental things to avoid crashing into others. Obviously, there’s more, but once you’ve taken to heart these critical points, you’re ready to go. 

Reasons Why Surfer’sSurfer’s Run Into Each Other

Some incidents are so unexpected that there will be instances where two or more surfers run into each other. Learning about how this could happen can help address and prevent it.

One of the most common scenarios that causes collision between surfers is drop, where, without expecting it, other surfers will drop in on them while riding a wave.

This example is typical of riding small waves with others. Because the wave hasn’t been set fully, the motion can come quickly and cause an accident. If there is a drop-in, there is also what others call snaking, wherein a surfer is sneaking in from behind, making you unaware of their presence, which can result in many accidents, not just to you but also to themselves.

Lastly, surfers ride in a similar direction. This is dangerous for surfers when one or both surfers don’t know how to read the incoming wave. It is possible that instead of thinking they are headed in opposite directions, they hit each other. 


While the examples above happen between surfers, it can also be avoidable. There are many ways to prevent these instances, especially if you follow the basic etiquette.

James Davis

Written by James Davis

I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.

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