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Surfing Etiquette – The Do’s & Don’ts Of Surfing

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Surfing Etiquette – The Do’s & Don’ts Of Surfing

Surfing etiquette is a must for all surfers, whether they are beginners or experts. Surf etiquette is the code of conduct that surfers.

Follow this surfing etiquette to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable surfing experience. It’s important to follow some basic do’s and don’ts when you’re in the water to ensure you’re respecting other surfers.


Here are 16 surf etiquette do’s and don’ts


  1. DO learn the basics of surfing before hitting the waves. This will help you stay safe and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. Unsure on where to begin? That’s okay! Book a lesson or join one of Aotearoa Surfs adult or kids programs
  2. DO respect the locals. If they’re the ones that surf the break every day, they most likely know the in’s and out’s of the conditions and waves best.
  3. DO Surf in areas that are appropriate for your skill level. This will help to minimize the risk of injury and keep you safe.
  4. DO always use a leg rope. This will help to prevent you from losing your board and it colliding into another surfer or swimmer. Don’t have a leg rope? Buy one from Aotearoa Surfs Shop!
  5. DO take turns when surfing with others. This is how surfing works and will help prevent waves from getting crowded and reduce the risk of collision.
  6. DO be aware of other surfers and objects around you when riding along a wave. This will help prevent accidents and injuries.
  7. DO always apologize if you muck up. If you get in someone’s way, or accidentally drop in on someone, it happens. It’s just good manners.
  8. DO clean up any trash that you bring to the beach. Surfers are often responsible for cleaning up coastal areas, so do your part and keep our beaches beautiful! A good rule of thumb is “Take 3 for Sea” of additional rubbish you find too! Check our Aotearoa Surfs “Surfing For Good” initiative to find other ways you can help improve the sustainability of NZ Coastlines
  9. DO be aware of the conditions before going out surfing. This includes checking the weather, tides, and wave height and ensuring they are within your capabilities.
surf day


  1. DON’T surf in areas that are too crowded with other people whilst you are still learning. This can be dangerous and you can easily crash into others with your board.
  2. DON’T surf between the flags or too close to swimmers. This can be dangerous for both you and other beachgoers.
  3. DON’T paddle straight out the back and into the line-up if you’re a beginner unless the waves are small. Learn your limits, practice and gain confidence in the white wash/ waves closer to shore until you are confident in your skills and board control.
  4. DON’T drop in on another surfer’s wave. This is considered rude and can be dangerous.
  5. DON’T throw your board away from you when there is an oncoming wave. This can be dangerous for other surfers. Instead, use one of the various bigger board duck-diving techniques such as the eskimo roll.
  6. DON’T choose the biggest wave of the set if you’re not confident in your abilities. This can be dangerous for both you and other surfers.
  7. DON’T cut off another surfer by paddling in front of them or around them.

And finally… DO be a responsible surfer. This includes following the rules and regulations, being respectful of others, and taking care of the environment. Surfers who act responsibly and following surfing etiquette help to create a positive image for the sport and make it more enjoyable for everyone.

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