(to make the surf, and hence the world, a lovelier place)
1. Thou shalt not drop in
It’s been given cooler sounding names in recent years like “burning”, but a drop in is still a drop in. In small crowded conditions, it creates aggro and disharmony…in bigger critical waves it’s just downright dangerous. Remember, the guy on your inside, the one closest to the peak and level with or futher out to sea than you, has right of way.
2. Thou shalt not snake
Who hasn’t given into the temptation of spinning around late and taking off on the inside section of an already ridden wave, especially when it stands up nicely and looks ohhhhhh so sweet? Indeed, with your mates it can be a laugh… but making snaking the norm sucks. It’s doubly bad when you try and call the surfer you’ve snaked off the wave.
3. Thou shalt not shirk on the petrol money
We all know the character who slaps his pockets and looks helpless at the moment a request to contribute cash is made. Petrol money scabs won’t go to hell… they’ll just get left at home.
4. Thou shalt paddle around the break
Having great waves spoiled by inconsiderate, entitled twits who repeatedly paddle right through the path of the breaking wave is most frustrating. Really… it’s not that hard… make an effort to get out of the way and things will be much better for everyone.
5. Thou shalt not paddle out where thy can’t swim in
This also could be rephrased “know your limitations”. We all get caught from time to time by rising swell or unexpected changes in conditions for the worse. But try to not put yourself into situations that will endanger others who end up having to save your sorry arse.
6. Thou shalt clean up thy crap
Daly Head used to be an awesome place to camp, but thanks to grotty kooks it’s closed… probably forever. The rule here is simple… leave the area AT LEAST as you found it.
7. Thou shalt respect local custom
Occasionally, localism can be a problem… but more often than not locals are reacting to frequent invasions by inconsiderate and or aggressive transient surfers. Perhaps instead of turning up to some far flung desert gem and paddling out in a pack, and heading right inside of everyone else, maybe try a more chilled approach. Shoot the breeze on the clifftop with a stranger, or watch from the channel as a few locals pick off a few of the set waves. You might even learn something, and most importantly, you’ll be welcome back next time.
8. Thou shalt not fling thy board
This problem has become significantly worse in recent years with large numbers of novices riding very big boards or SUPs. A spikey nosed shortboard might take your eye out, but a 15kg, 28″ wide, 9ft projectile travelling at speed will knock your bloody head off. No matter what you ride, don’t fling it. If you’re not confident in crowded situations, avoid them until your skills are up to it. Be aware of people near you, and if you have to do a panic bail under a set, grab your leash close to the plug and turn your board at right angles to the beach. Better still… learn to duckdive properly.
9. Thou shalt not surf for the image
As corporate dollars continue to get hurled at our “sport”, and as we seem yet to reach peak surfing hipster, perhaps we should all pause and remember why we got into surfing. In case you’ve forgotten, maybe try going for a paddle alone somewhere on a hideous old sun-browned single fin ( except use an actual leash ), wearing a garage sale sun-faded wetsuit, and see how much fun you have.
10. Thou shalt help others in trouble
Just as you’d like to think someone would be around to save your skin in a life threatening situation, be prepared to do the same. A good start is to learn first aid, and / or do a rescue / rescuss course at almost any Surf Lifesaving club. The more crew in the water that know what to do when good times turn bad, the safer it’ll be for everyone.