Surfing Tips

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How do I prevent damaging my board while traveling?

Pad your board carefully and use a well-marked board bag when traveling.

It is likely that you might want to travel to get exposure to better - or just different - kinds of surfing conditions. Getting you surfboard, or other surf craft, to your destination undamaged can save your surfing plans, and your money. Unfortunately, baggage handlers are not - and cannot be expected to be - as concerned as you are about the inevitable dings their rough handling may inflict on your board. To best protect your board from such damage is to pack your board well yourself - do not rely on the airline, postal service, or other transportation services to pack it adequately. First of all, invest in a board bag, which is designed to protect your surfboard in normal travel conditions. For added protection, wrap your board in soft items, such as towels and bedding. Add extra padding around bump zones, including the rails, tail and nose, and put it in your board bag. Be sure to attach your name and address and how you can be reached on your bag.

   
How can I tell whose wave it is?

Avoid confrontations with other surfers by knowing who has the right to the wave.

Even though the fray that often exists while surfing might make it seem confusing as to whose wave it is, it's easy to avoid minor clashes with other surfers by remembering this simple rule: The surfer closest to the peak of the wave has right of way. If another surfer is nearer to where the wave is breaking than you are, drop back and not in. The if in doubt, don't rule works well here; you can afford to be gracious - you have experience, and perhaps a better wave, to gain.

   
Who has the right of way - those paddling out or those riding in?

Avoid and/or yield to active surfers when you are paddling out.

Sure, you're eager to hit the waves, but adhere to surfing etiquette and spare a thought for those already out there. Take care to avoid other surfers as you are paddling out - the wave belongs to them while they're riding it. It is best to enter the surf further down from major congregations of other surfers. Not yielding to surfers riding the waves is a breach of etiquette, and can result in a lash of the tongue, or, unfortunately, a smack in the mouth based on the surf culture.

   
How can I get out the back quicker?

Use the rip to get past breaking waves when surfing.

One of the most daunting things about surfing can be the idea of battling through the waves for the first time. A quick way to get out the back, where you want to be, is to locate the same rip that swimmers are often warned to avoid. To find the rip, look for the current of water flowing back out to sea. This current will pull you out to sea with minimum effort on your part. Make sure to avoid the rip when returning to the beach. See also the Recognizing a Rip tip.

   
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Joe Wallace