By Corky Carroll
Last week I talked about a little incident that happened in the water where a girl surfer got angry at a guy surfer because he had been taking what she considered more than his fair share of the waves. So, in retaliation, she dropped in on his next wave in front of him on purpose. He, in retaliation to her retaliation, came up behind her and shoved her off her board. Then a whole lot of shouting and name calling ensued, the highlight of which was her accusing him of “woman bashing.” It was quite a scene. The reason I reported this little misadventure is that I am going to get into a little discussion on what is, or is not, proper “surf etiquette.” With todays crowded surf conditions this is a subject that is talked about, and debated, over and over. The problem is not enough people who are learning to surf have any idea of what the so called “rules of the waves” really are. And there are no surf police patrolling the lineups taking names and issuing tickets.
With this in mind, I offered up the concept that the person deepest in the wave, or closest to the curl, has the right of way pretty much all the time. And I offered this incident as an example and have opened the floor for comments and opinions. Here are a few responses that I got.
“Sad but great column! Back in the days riding Doheny really developed my backhand and my cutbacks. Depended on where I was on my noserider and how far into the takeoff the shoulder hopper was. I did try to cut the obvious newbies some slack. Huntington with it's closeout walls and speed was a different story. Before the leash, a dirtball could cause a long unwanted swim, possibly even hazardous. Clearing a path one way or another was gonna happen.” Scott Swineford.
“Be mellow, wait your turn. Where I live in Panama, the wave has a definite pecking order, basically locals, transplants, then the rest. You need to figure out where you fit in, then wait your turn. Locals will give waves to visitors who wait their turn. Visitors who go out of turn can expect to be dropped in on. Pretty simple really.” Richard Brady.
“Geez, tell the guy to chill and let the girl have a wave! Maybe I am not as selfish in my older years when it comes to waves!” George Lambert. (Note: George is the long time “Mayor of Main Street” and arch Huntington Beach Pier local.)
“How about opening the door (wave) for the lady? Is chivalry so freaking dead? Is a wave so important in the scheme of life that you'll shove someone out of the way?
Have people become so selfish?” Mike S. Tyson
“Two wrongs never make a right, our mamas told us that. If the girl dropped in on purpose then she was sort of asking for a problem, and the fact that she got pushed off has nothing to do with if she was a female or male. I am not saying the guy was in the right to do that, just that in this case it had nothing to do with gender. Everybody was in the wrong. The guy should have not been hogging all the waves and the girl should not have instigated the conflict with purposely taking off in front of him..” Connie Conroy.
Well, there are some interesting views on this little taste of surf carnage. I pretty much agree with the last one, they were both in the wrong. But, these things happen all the time due to the crowds. So, it’s really important that everybody realize that we are all out there to have a good time, try and be considerate of everybody else and not just be an over aggressive butthead taking every wave you can. I have to admit that, in my over aggressive butthead past, I have been that guy and I don’t like the feel of it when I think about it. We all can learn better ways.
I am going to continue talking about surf etiquette next week in a broader scope, getting into paddling out protocol and more. And the floor is still open for comments and opinions. If you would like to share your thoughts, please do.