How to Win Friends and Share Waves On a Surf Trip

Go on a surf trip and you're bound to run into some localism, whether it's in a different state or country. If you've been on a surf trip, you know what I'm talking about. Never been on a surf trip? Now you know.

There are two ways to go about this, I've learned through observation and firsthand experience. You can fight fire with fire and potentially leave with some enemies, or you can try to make a new friend or two and even share some waves. Here's how you can win friends and share waves on a surf trip.

Meet on dry land

Chances are that when you get to your surf destination, you're going to scope out the area a little bit. Slap a smile on your face and start sniffing butts like a dog, not literally, but say hello and be friendly. Get to know the other surfers in the area.

  • Are they local?

  • How long have they been there?

  • If they're on vacation, when are they heading out?

  • Did they move to this place a year ago?

  • Maybe a decade or two ago?

Take interest in their life first and ask some questions about the break. Ask them where the rocks are, if any, whether it breaks best on a steady, incoming, or outgoing tide, and what the local etiquette is. Meeting on land in a neutral area eases the tension, again like dogs, you'll gain some knowledge about the break, and you're showing other surfers who have been there longer than you that you want to play by the unspoken rules and make sure everyone's catching waves.

surfing ettiquette Photo by Justin Fricke

Wave and smile

Now that you've met some people, don't ignore them. Give them a wave and a smile when you see them on the beach and out in the lineup. Make sure a wave or some whatever greeting hand gesture you use is customary where you are and you're not accidentally flipping them the bird or gesturing them to hell.

On my last surf trip to Mexico, my dad, brother, and I met this guy named Bob. Bob's a total hippy that taught psychology at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He taught there for so long that he now collects a halfway decent pension from the university that he frugally spends and surfs as much as he can. When we saw Bob on the beach or in the lineup he'd look at us, get this big goofy grin on his face, and then slowly throw the peace sign, in that exact same order. He has the look, is a cool dude, and considering no one throws the peace sign these days, it always put a smile on our faces when he did that.

Do something that'll put a smile on someone else's face and you're bound to get hassled by less people in the lineup.

Justin Fricke Photo by Adam Fricke

Be the first to give a compliment

No matter how old we get, we like it when people watch and admire us. On your paddle out the lineup, take note of who's catching waves and how they're shredding. More than likely you'll end up paddling out together and while you're matching each other's strokes, give them a compliment. A simple "Nice wave bro!" goes a long way and is a sure fire way to put a smile on their face.

Even if you're not sure they speak the same language, give them a compliment anyways.

Wait your turn

Starting when we were very young and little, we were told to wait our turn for the swings. In this case, wait your turn for a wave. There's usually a line in the lineup and nobody likes it when someone first paddling out or someone who just caught a wave cuts everyone in line.

Give up your turn

This might come as a shock when I say you should let someone else have a wave, but if you're real sore from a long paddle out you might want to think about letting someone else take it. Even if you have priority. Someone in the lineup might not have as much experience and may not be catching as many waves as you and everyone else. Quit your paddle a little early and let them take the wave. Chances are, your kind act won't go unnoticed.

Try out these tips on your next surf trip and don't forget to just have a blast surfing.

Team Sierra blogger

posted by
Justin Fricke
Blogger at The Weekend Warrior
As a member of #TeamSierra, Justin Fricke receives promotional consideration from Sierra Trading Post. Justin traded in his comfy desk job for a life of adventure on the road. Nowadays he's a freelance content creator while living in a van full time, exploring America. Follow his adventures on his website, The Weekend Warrior, and on Instagram and Facebook.
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