Never Throw Your Board

Surf Etiquette – Always hold onto your board

For each surfer’s own safety and the safety of the other surfers, it is vital that everyone always holds onto and controls their own board at all times. When paddling through the impact zone and wave area, surfers must hold onto their board. If they are faced with negotiating a breaking wave, the foam or the impact area, a surfer must hold and control their board and either perform a duck dive or roll/eskimo roll/turtle roll.

Loose boards are a major danger and risk to other surfers and their equipment. If a novice surfer for example using a 9 ft board bails off their board when a wave breaks in front of them then this board becomes a projectile thrown around and potentially hitting other surfers and or their equipment in a wide radius. A 9ft board should have a minimum of a 9ft leash attached so there is 18 ft but on stretch from the waves pressure, this leash might lengthen another 2-5 ft so this means anyone potentially within a 20-25ft radius behind that novice surfer could be hit.

Also if a surfer is paddling over the lip of a wave right where the wave is breaking or as it is starting to break and the board is released by that surfer who is fearing the foam is going to hit them and suck them back, then the foam, the wave power and possibly the wind can project that board back into the wave face potentially hitting the surfer riding that wave.

It is crucial that all surfers learn to hold their board and control their board.

Skills that will assist novice surfers have the confidence and ability to do this include

  • Learning to read the waves and read conditions to better understand where the wave is going to break
  • Understand the best paddle line to enable the fastest, most efficient, safest and optimal paddle out to the take off zone
  • Increasing paddle strength and paddle fitness to have the power and conditioning to be able to paddle hard and fast to get through the impact zone and take advantage of any lulls
  • Learning how to duck dive on a short board for shortboard riders or roll/eskimo roll/turtle roll on any type of board

The more time spent in the water, the greater the confidence, understanding and ability someone should have for reading waves and conditions as well as the best paddle lines. A surfer can also watch other experienced surfers and note their paddle lines and how they are getting out to the surf zone. Time spent in the water will also help with paddle fitness and paddle power but so can other training such as strength and aerobic conditioning training, swimming being an excellent cross training activity that replicates paddling effectively.

Learning the skill of duck diving and or rolling can come from taking lessons and then practicing as much as possible. The roll is the easiest of the two skills to perfect and simply involves holding onto the rails of the board and rolling

Surf Etiquette Rule # 5 – Never Throw Your Board

* This diagram is taken from the ISA Level 1 Surf Instructor Manual

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