Destination Surf Blog
Do you know what is the Surfing Etiquette ? Destination Surf Logo
Publié le 18/05/2015, by : Jean Révé

Do you know what is the Surfing Etiquette ?

Everything a surfer must AL-WAYS or NE-VER do on the beach and in the waves...

Not only golf, cricket or horse jumping need to be under the Etiquette and sometimes strict rules !

Surfing also has its very specific code of conduct. Beyond the attitude and etiquette toward other surfers in the water, you need to print this particular style that will allow you to integrate the lineage of the surfing family.
If you want to be sure to be accepted, you must comply with codes and requirements. Even if one is on the beach, under the sun, relaxed, half-naked, the fact remains that the Surf Attitude goes by rules not to derogate, under the risk of being a nerdy or a tourist.
And then, punishment is final. No more languid looks of your groupies when you get out of the water, but mocking and scornful glances from "real surfers', and even some insults and banishment for sure from this secluded tribe.

If you are not a surfing God, which is not an obstacle, before you jump into the water on crowded beaches with the arrival of the first sunny days, read these valuable tips that will carefully avoid you to take a serious blow to your moral and even help you to become the Bodhi of the Atlantic beaches, for a memorable summer...


Fashion on the beach

It all should happen in the water, however the overall look has unfortunately all its importance today. The real surfer should look as cool as possible, but always respect the subtle dress code related to his status.


The Board Short : Exclude fluo coloured shorts falling to your knee, like a suburb kook. Added to your shorty wetsuit, you will be part of the kitesurfers tribe. Avoid shorts too close to the body, with slit pockets, looking like Parisian twinks cruising between St Tropez and Biarritz.
The timeless "string underwear" worn under the wetsuit, to avoid irritation and fungal infections, should be avoided, especially if you get undressed near a group of girls - the tan marks will add to be ridiculous when you'll be fussing to clear your foot off the wetsuit, hopping stupidly.

The Cap : Brands related to Superstores, DIY or consumer products will not be welcome. Same if it is a gift from your father's last seminar in Germany or your last stay at Disneyland Paris.
The Root surfer wear it in night clubs and bars, screw on the hood of his sweatshirt pulled over his head, in case onshore wind would rise.

The tank top : Like the cap, avoid brands not associated with surfing or the ocean. Should not be worn too low-cut or neon colour, for fear of being mistaken with a basketball player.
Wear as evening suit by surfers who have not understood that the sun had set and refuse to leave the beach.


Sunglasses : Stucked on the visor of the cap, polarizing blue, pink or green glasses, it's stylish. Forget the glacier glasses or wasp type, with strap headband neon colour and neoprene material, as if you were going for the Figaro sailing race.

The shoes : A classic pair of comfortable Vans are a safe bet. Avoid socks if you're wearing pants, but ok in black or white retro rising socks model, if you are in shorts. The big skate shoes are to be banish, passed the age of 17.
The flip-flops must be Hawaianas type, thin, with no compensated tap or banana shape with extra wide straps.
What to say about the Crocks ...What's more tacky ? But it is sooo comfortable will you argue. Prefer the color passed by the sun famous espadrille. It keeps the whole year a little sand hidden in his braiding, scattering on your parent's floor or during a dinner with friends, working as a Proust madeleine evoking the sweetness of the beach.

The Tatoo : A personal touch that delivers a bad boy image, marginal and wild. The girls will love it ! Avoid still to pretend to be part of an Albanian gang or going out of prison.



In the water

You are now ready to jump into the water. Let's decode 2 or 3 things to avoid.

The wetsuit : You have got the sleeveless tank top wetsuit, but with long legs (called Long John unlike the Short John that has short legs) of your father, when windsurfing in his eighties.
It's double or nothing, total retro style or total dude look if the wetsuit is neon color, with visible stitching and features a beverage brand on the back.
Avoid gloves, booties and hood after May 15. Everyone will know it's your first surf of the season and you will feel like a sunday surfer.

Your Gear : Plant manfully your board as a menhir, nose in the sand, yes, but beware stashed stones in the sand.
The surfboard cover is just to cram your personal belonging inside and to protect it from rain and pickpockets.
Do not let non waxed area between the pad at the back and the location of your front foot. It's ugly and useless. Also be careful not to stick tons of colored pads on your board, totally banned on a longboard.

Do not fix your leash at the time to enter the water. Walk through the 50 meters between you and the waves with the leash wrapped around your calf will look ridiculous. Please do not jog or run, you can imagine the following, your foot fingers entangled in the leash, bringing you in a ridiculous fall.
Furthermore, running to the water in a sportive style, is valid only if you surf like a pro in the waves - One will wonders why so much eager for such a lousy performance.



Carry your board under your arm, in a natural way, especially not with the waxed side against you... Avoid fins first, arms folded around your board as if you feared that someone would grab it.
Do not drag it on the sand, on the rail, especially if it is a longboard, you would look as a beginner or a lazy surfer, most stupidly you'll damaged the glass from your board.

Set up a only one Go Pro camera plug on your board, so as not to look like a Drone. Use it only when conditions are perfect, otherwise you'll  look narcissistic.

Surfing style : Do not spend your time whistle last tubes songs from radio, waiting for the waves off, you'll get your mates mad.
When the wave comes, do not furiously beat feet in the water to try to go faster before take off. It sucks and disturbs others and risk to spray them copiously.
Do not hail like crazy to the guy who is about to take off at the inside 15 meters from you, as if he dropped you under the nose at Pipeline, he does not hear you anyway, and don't care.
On the wave, do not tear the lip with an aggressive roller under the nose of the guy padddling back to the peak, watering him just to mark your manhood and your territory.
If someone drop you off, calmly but firmly explains the rules. Don't play local gang chief, chin up, talking loud, with a superior attitude.
If you are a beginner and draw straight lines in the foam of the wave, avoid skipping your board at the last moment, discovering a surfer on your way, only leaving him the choice of the number of stitches on his neck or broken teeth.
If you definitely want to end your ride in the shorebreak at high tide, be sure to be a master of Airs and Kick out, with the risk of ending up in the bathing zone, leg stretched by your board tossed in the foam, then dragged back under the next shorebreak, head and trunks full of sand. Chicks watching on the beach will love that show, but also the Beach Patrol.


The language : A whole string of mixed technical words and local pidgin, frequently add with words "Cool" and "super roots".

- Examples and translations -

" Huuge southwest swell mate, but still onshore " / " The swell is favorably oriented South West, but the wind got up, too bad ..."

" Long lines passes between sets. High tide, 12 period, we'll get sick barrels " / " With the rising tide, there will be regular, beautiful, powerful and tubular waves "

" What the f... the spot is glassy and on fire since the slack tide " / " The waves are perfect, smooth and wonderfully place since the end of the tide. "

" I smashed the lip, scored heavy laybacks, deep barrels, took a spray and scored sick airs " / " I have surfed this morning " (narcissistic version : " I surfed like on the Quik Pro video ")

" Shit man, it's flat ! " / " Oh my god, there are no more waves ! " (Often accompanied by an angry snarl...). In general, it ended in " Total flat " / " It's lake Geneva now "

" You should have been there this morning for the session " / " As usual, you still missed the best waves " (said on a hypocritical tone of fake ass who took advantage of the best waves and is falsely sorry for his friend... )







It's now time to implement all these good tips, take a ride to the next Surf Shop and train facing your mirror.
Over the years, you may feel growing up with the pride of belonging to the very secret surfers tribe.
But above all, don't give a damn, be yourself and do not waste your pleasure to go into the waves, don't worry too much of those nasty appearances...







To better understand Surf Etiquette and attitude, have a look to

a hansom prototype, Mathew Mac Conaughey !



About the author
Jean Révé

Jean Révé

Working for several years in tourism in France and abroad, Jean-Hervé Cristol (aka Jean Révé) also has a large number of kilometer mark traveling around Planet Surf  in search of endless summer waves.
In 2004 he created Destination Surf, the first agency specialized in Surf Travel , then Endless Summer a blog with tips, info and travel stories, in order to enjoy and share this rewarding experience with all surf travelers. → Learn more

Show Comments ...

Be the first to leave a comment!

Leave a comment