Priority rules in surfing

Learn basic rules of right the way in surf


When you start with surfing, you should also learn the basic surf rules. If we all respect surf etiquette in the water, then we all will be having more fun and avoiding trouble. Every surfer should know about surf etiquette and the priority rules. It's a way to insure a certain order in the water. Teaching new surfers and enforcing the rules of the lineup ought to be a part of surf culture everywhere.


There are several factors that have to be taken into account when considering safety in surfing.

  • Check the weather forecast, before go out.
  • Study the waves and currents (rip currents, longshore currents) before paddling out.
  • Landscape - check the rocks, reefs, cliffs, fire corals before you go out to surf.
  • Sea life in the surf spot.
  • Ability to swim.
  • Always hold onto your board.
  • Be aware of the others surfers at all times.
  • Don´t surf near swimmers.
  • Respect the beach and the ocean.
  • Help other surfers in trouble.


Your wave or my wave ?

Who has the right to be on a wave, who has the right-of-way in surfing ?

  • Surfer closest to the breaking wave, to the peak, has the priority.
  • Look both ways before taking off.
  • If two surfers catch the same wave at the same time, the one closest to the curl has the right of way.
  • Furthest out has the priority.
  • Paddle around the lineup, where the people are surfing, not through it.
  • Don´t drop in. That means, you take the same wave in front of somebody. This blocks his ride.
  • If a paddler is caught inside, let the surfer on the wave pass, and then paddle out behind him.

Have fun and enjoy surfing!

Right of way in surfing.