Etiquette in the Surf

When we facilitate discussions on Etiquette we always have fun asking participants to list different kinds of etiquette. Some of the obvious ones come to mind quite quickly and then the momentum starts: Dining Etiquette, Driving Etiquette, Golf Etiquette, Tennis Etiquette, Skiing Etiquette, Sailing Etiquette …   The news in the last few months has featured a couple of interesting stories rising out of breaches of Surf Etiquette.

Crises in Surfing Etiquette have been hitting headlines from Tofino, BC to Manly Beach, Australia.

This morning’s Vancouver Province newspaper ran this article referring to recent incidents in BC and Nova Scotia:

TOFINO, B.C. — A Vancouver Island surfer investigated for assault after an argument over the right-of-wave will not be charged.  A Tofino Crown attorney refused to approve the charges against the 25-year-old man after his disagreement with a 36-year-old woman in February. Surf etiquette dictates that there be only one rider per wave and the surfer closest to the “peak” — where the wave is breaking — has the right-of-way. If someone is already riding a wave, no one should drop in or “snake” that person. An earlier small claims court decision in Nova Scotia also dealt with the issue of right-of-way while surfing. A man was ordered to pay $750 in damages to replace a surfboard as well as court costs after he collided with another man in the water. No criminal charges were laid in that case, which came before the courts in January.   © Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

At Manly Beach, near Sydney Australia “surf rage” and a dangerous lack of courtesy among beach/surf users has led to public posting of a Surfers’ Code of Etiquette. “The ‘Surfers’ Code of Etiquette’ aims are to promote safer surfing on beaches, to foster a culture of respect and responsibility and to reduce the incidence of surf rage.” A little etiquette can go a long way to making the surf safer!



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