SURF ETIQUETTE: THE GOLDEN RULES

THE GOLDEN RULES OF SURF ETIQUETTE

SURF ETIQUETTE RULESLearning to surf is far more than starting a new sport and acquiring the skills necessary to compete.

It’s about learning the culture, participating in the lifestyle, and having the time of your life.

However, surfing can be a bit intimidating at times, and even dangerous if done incorrectly.

We’ve all have heard stories of “surf rage” and “locals only” spots, and we’ve all seen gruesome surf injuries.

At Swell Surf Camp, we want you to be well rounded surfers that could fit in at any break in the world at the end of your surf holiday.

In order to maximize the fun, minimize the risks to yourself and others, and progress your abilities on your surf holiday, you must familiarize yourself with

The Golden Rules of Surf Etiquette.

1. KNOW YOUR ABILITIES

While this may sound a tad condescending, understanding your own abilities in the water and humbly accepting them could save your life. If you’re still learning and you paddle out at an advanced wave, whether that’s a shallow reef break or any break on an overhead day, you run a high risk of injuring yourself and endangering those around you.

When you surf breaks within your ability, you can learn and progress, so that you can eventually surf more advanced breaks. When you learn to surf at Swell Surf Camp, your lessons will always be taught at breaks that reflect your ability.

One of the best things to do when arriving at the beach is to observe the waves for 10-15 minutes to make sure the surf spot is right for your abilities; just because the wave at a certain spot were great yesterday for your ability does not make it safe today.

2. PADDLE OUT WITH CAUTION

The most important thing to know when paddling out at a crowded line up is that the paddler yields to the riding surfer.

Meaning that if your paddle trajectory has you colliding with a surfer who is riding down the line of a wave, it is your responsibility to yield to that surfer, not the other way around.

In this example, Pete might be able to get back into position quicker, but he is also potentially getting into the way of the surfers on the wave. You don’t want to slalom through surfers when you are surfing. For safety and courtesy to other surfers, paddle wide of the surfers, back to the line-up, like Jim is doing in the picture.

CAUGHT INSIDE?

If paddling wide is not an option, then aim for the white water of the wave, instead of going and aiming for the easier option of the shoulder of the wave ( where the surfer is)

 

3. BE POLITE & SMILE

Whether you’re paddling out to a line up with 5 people out from your surf camp or 50 strangers, the rules are the same. Be polite, smile, and say hello. It will bring a feeling of levity to everyone around and it will likely put you in the good graces of local surfers.

4. UNDERSTAND PRIORITY

priority surf etiquetteNo, you’re not surfing a WSL heat, but priority still exists at every surf break. To put it simply, the surfer closest to the peak of the wave has priority over the surfer who is farther from the peak or on the shoulder. Understanding priority is key to existing peacefully in a crowded lineup.

  • The surfer who is closest to the curl, the peak or the breaking part of the wave has the right of way and priority over all other surfers;
  • The surfer who is farther outside and away from the shore has priority over all other surfers sitting or paddling on the inside, even if closer to breaking part of the wave; (This rules is often ‘abused’ by stand up paddle surfers, since they can pick the waves up further outside than regular surfers, if they get too greedy catching all the set waves, the Paddle boarder can expect the stink eye or aggro vibes from the rest of the line up)

5. DON’T DROP IN ON OTHER SURFERS

surfer etiquetteThis may seem like a no-brainer, but it happens often. A surfer is riding down the line when all of the sudden, another surfer appears on the wave and tries to hop to their feet.

Dropping in on other surfers is what usually leads to conflict in the surf world, thankfully it’s easily avoidable. It starts with understanding priority, if someone inside of you is paddling for a wave, then you shouldn’t even try to paddle for it.

Awareness plays a role as well, even if you don’t see anyone near you paddling for a wave, as you paddle look to your left and right to ensure no one is riding down the line that might have dropped on at another peak.

Being a snake – ‘snaking’

Being a snake, dropping in on others, aggressively jockeying for position in the lineup, or any other act of being a wave hog is considered rude. When you paddle out don’t immediately paddle outside past everyone else and try to get the first wave that comes in. Wait for a few waves to break first. Before you know it, the lineup will have been shuffled around a little bit and you will be in position for a wave. Just because you can catch all of the waves doesn’t mean you should (this applies especially to longboarders and stand up paddlers).

 

Communicate

When a wave breaks both left and right, two surfers can happily ride the same wave, just make sure to communicate by announcing if you’re going right or left, even if you think it’s obvious. A little communication in the water can do a lot to keep everyone safe and having fun.

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Just because you can catch every wave, doesn’t mean you should. If you’re on a large foam board or longboard that catches waves easily, it doesn’t mean you always get to take the wave from the shortboard next to you that’s looking to practice turns and airs. Always keep in mind that the ocean is for everyone and act accordingly.

6. BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR EQUIPMENT

don't let go of surfboardMost surf injuries are not caused by the seafloor, other surfs, or wildlife, they are caused by surfboards. Surfboards are rock solid and have sharp fins, they can do some serious damage.

To avoid unnecessary injury to yourself and anyone else around you, be responsible with your board. Don’t just let go of your board when there are other surfers around you. ( in fact unless you are surfing 20′ waves, don’t ever let go of your board)

That means using a leash, not abandoning your board during your paddle out or after a wipeout. If your board is near you and you have a tight grip on the leash, or your board is under you, it won’t hurt you or any other surfer in the water.

7. KNOW THE BREAK

This is a crucial step for surfers of any level, but it is often skipped. If you’re about to surf at a new break, take a while to watch the waves. Notice where they are breaking, where the channels are, and what the current / rip tide is doing. If you can, take it a step further by asking another surfer about the spot.

Chances are, they will be helpful and tell you where to paddle out, where the peaks are, and more! At Swell, we teach you everything you need to know about our local break before we paddle out ( including Surf Etiquette)

8. RESPECT THE BREAK & BEACH

This one is obvious. Don’t litter, don’t’ leave anything behind. Pack in and pack out. You can even take it a step further and pick up any litter you might encounter. We love our local surf beach, and we do everything we can to keep it beautiful.

9. APOLOGIZE IF YOU MESS UP

We get it, accidents happen. You messed up, and that’s okay, as long as you apologize. It may seem trivial but making amends and making your intentions clear go a long way in a crowded lineup.

10. FORGIVE AND FORGET

Lastly, if someone else in the water wrongs you, if they burn you, drop in on you, or send a board flying at you, forgive and forget. No one likes to surf mad, and no one wants to be around an angry person.

 

TIPS FROM LAIRD HAMILTION

Be Aware. Laird Hamilton recalls, “I got run over by a guy when I was sixteen and he broke my leg. A guy ran me over with a giant longboard, and it compounded my leg, and that was one of those things that you learn, like, ’Don’t trust that the guy sees you and that they’re going to avoid you.’ Just remember that they’re probably going to run you over if you don’t watch where you’re going.”

Be Decisive. “I think the biggest mistake any beginner makes is hesitation,” says Laird. “You need to be deliberate with your actions, and if you’re going to paddle out of the way, just paddle and keep paddling. I think a real common mistake is people being indecisive in their movements, whether it’s trying to catch the wave or get out of the way.”

 

 

The above surf etiquette rules all apply for our local surf spots. At Encuentro there are 2 other rules that any traveling surfer should be aware off:

  • No Stand Up Paddle surfing (SUP) at Playa Encuentro

There are numerous off shore reefs that are ideal for Stand up paddle surfing, in and around Cabarete, so there’s no need to bring a dangerous SUP board & paddle into a lineup where there are kids and learners. Find the open spaces up and down the coast. This also applies to the new sport of foiling. Too dangerous to other surfers at our local surf spot.

  • No motorized watercrafts at Playa Encuentro.

No JetSki’s anywhere near Playa Encuentro, they are noisy, smelly and dangerous to the other surfers.

 

Surfing is more than just a sport, it becomes ingrained in us the moment we catch our first wave. In order to enjoy surfing to its fullest potential, stay safe in the water, and share it with others, we must stick to The Golden Rules of Surf Etiquette. We have travelled to a lot of different countries and have seen 1000’s of different surf spots & one of the things that really makes our local surfing beach stand out is the mellow & friendly vibe between locals, expats and visiting surfers.

Let’s keep it that way, let’s all stick to the surf etiquette, so we can all leave the water after a surf session with a big smile on our faces.




More info: https://www.surfgirlmag.com/2018/07/surf-etiquette/
Surfing at Playa Encuentro with Swell’s Romy


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THE BEST YOGA POSES FOR SURFING

The Best Yoga Poses for Surfers

Yoga and surfing, the two are often paired, and rightfully so, they are complementary to one another.

yoga surf holiday
Yoga surf camps are popping up all over the world and we are proud to offer Yoga surf holidays at our Caribbean surf camp.

The reality of surfing, for beginners and experts alike, is that only about 10% of our time in the water is spent wave riding. 90% of our surf is usually spent either paddling for waves or sitting waiting for waves.

While yoga will improve your balance, which will enhance your ability to ride waves, the true benefit of yoga for surfers is increased paddle strength and injury prevention.

Unlike other training methods, yoga relies completely on one’s body weight to stabilize, stretch, and strengthen the body. The result is enormous strength gains in the small stabilizing muscle of the upper back and shoulders, the same muscles we engage to paddle.

At Swell Surf Camp, we’ve created a list of The Best Yoga Poses for Paddle Strength, to give you the tools you need to prepare for your next surf holiday. Keep reading to learn the best yoga poses for surfers which will increase your paddle strength and turn you into a wave catching machine.

The Best Yoga Poses for Surfers

1. Upward Facing Dog

Upward facing dog is one of the most recognizable yoga poses out there. When done properly, Upward Facing Dog will improve posture, strengthen the arms and wrists, stretch the chest, expand the lungs, firm the buttocks, and elongates the spine and abdomen.

Upward Facing DogHow to perform Upward Facing Dog:

Begin in the pushup position or high plank position. Lower yourself down into the bottom of the pushup position while shifting your feet so that the tops of your feet are now facing the ground.

From there, lift your chest off the floor and elongate your spine with a nice slow bend as your chest rises upwards. For surfers, this pose should feel natural as it essentially mimics the first step of a good pop up.

(Read our surf instruction blog post of  ‘surf technique the pop up‘ on this page)

2. Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing dog is another recognizable pose that engages your paddling muscles and is a great addition to any surf warm up.

Downward Facing DogHow to perform Downward Facing Dog:

Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Your knees should be directly below your hips at the same width, your wrists should be under your shoulders at the same width.

Spread your palms, keeping your index fingers parallel. Take a breath, as you exhale, lift your knees off the floor, keeping them slightly bent. Start to raise your tailbone to the sky. As you continue to breathe, push your quadriceps back and attempt to place your heels on the ground. The pose should be done with your head, neck, and spine in line and with firm arms.

3. Bow Pose

While it may look difficult, anyone can master the Bow Pose with proper instruction. The Bow Pose strengthens your back and core while stretching your ankles, abdomen, and neck. In addition to improving your paddle strength, the Bow Pose will ease back pain and improve your posture.

bow poseHow to Perform Bow Pose:

Lay down on your stomach. Curl your legs upwards while reaching back with your hands. Grab your ankles with your hands so that your body is bent like a bow. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

4. Locust Pose

The Locust Pose may just seem like a simple back bend, but it can strengthen the muscles around the spine, the buttocks, and the back. Making it a useful pose for surfers for both pre and post surf yoga sessions.

surf yoga locust poseHow to perform Locust Pose:

Lay on your stomach with your arms resting at the sides of your torso and your forehead on the floor. Turn your big toes towards each other to inwardly rotate your thighs. Exhale and lift your head, upper torso, arms, and legs away from the floor.

Only your lower ribs will remain in contact with the floor below you. Raise your arms parallel to the floor, stretching them backward. Gaze forward or slightly upward to keep the base of the skull lifted and the back of the neck long. Try to hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.

5. Balancing Table

The Balancing Table Pose will engage your core, upper back, and shoulders, making it one of the best poses for paddle strength, coordination, and core strength.

yoga Balancing TableHow to Perform Balancing Table:

Begin on your hands and knees in the Table Pose. Inhale, and reach your right leg back, extending your toes to the direction behind you. Your leg should be parallel to the floor. Inhale once more and bring your left arm up parallel to the floor. Hold for 3-6 slow breaths, exhale as you release. Repeat on the other side.

6. Extended Puppy Pose

A variation of Downward Dog, the Extended Puppy Pose stretches the upper back, spine, and shoulders while opening the chest. This pose also aids in the release of chronic tension in the neck and shoulders, making it the perfect addition to your post-surf cool down yoga session.

yoga Extended Puppy PoseHow to perform Extended Puppy Pose:

Begin in Tabletop (on all fours, with your hips directly over your knees and your shoulders over your wrists) Rest the tops of your feet on the floor with your toes pointed straight back. As you exhale, begin to walk your hands out in front of you. Allow your chest to sink towards the floor as you slowly release your forehead to the ground.

Press your palms firmly into the mat or the ground, and roll your elbows outward, keeping your palms on the mat. On your next inhalation, deepen into the stretch by reaching your hips up and back toward the wall behind you. Continue to let your chest sink down toward the floor. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths, release the pose by walking your hands back to the Table Top position.

7. Cow Faced Arms

Cow faced arms will help alleviate shoulder pain, specifically any rotator cuff impingements. If you have any sharp shoulder pain after a long day of surfing, this is the pose for you.

surf yoga Cow Faced Arms How to perform Cow Faced Arms:

While seated on the floor with crossed legs, grab a towel with your right hand, inhale your right hand to the sky. As you exhale, drop your right hand towards the back of your heart and reach up with your left hand to grab the dangling towel.

Release roll out your shoulders and repeat on the left. You should feel a gentle stretch on the front of the shoulder on the arm that is behind your back. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

8. Four Limb Staff Pose

The Four Limb Staff Pose builds the upper body and core strength necessary to surf successfully. Additionally, it lengthens the spine and strengthens the lower back muscles.

yoga Four Limb Staff Pose How to perform Four Limb Staff Pose:

Begin in a push-up position, with your fingers spread apart and a flat back. Exhale and keep the body in a straight line as you lower yourself downward, stopping 4-6 inches above the floor.

Bracing yourself with your weight forward above your palms, hold the position with a 90-degree bend at the elbows. Keep the shoulders at the same height as the elbows. Breath 1-4 breaths Release back into the push-up position or to a resting position on the floor.

9. Kneeling Crescent Lunge

The Kneeling Crescent Lunge will help release your tight hips after a long surf. The pose stretches the lungs, hips, neck, and abdomen.

Kneeling Crescent LungeHow to Perform Kneeling Crescent Lunge

With one foot in front of the other, begin in Warriors pose and lower the back knee to the ground. The front knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle, aligned with the ankle, the back knee should be pressed firmly into the floor. The hips are squared and pressed forward so there is a slight stretch on the hip flexors. The arms should be lifted and come together above the head, with hands together or apart.

More info (links to external websites, opens new window)

Surf & Yoga Retreat In The Caribbean

Whether you’re looking to take a surf yoga holiday or simply stay limber between paddle outs, Swell Surf Camp will give you the yoga and surf instruction you need to make the most out of your surf holiday. We offer 3 yoga classes per week for Swell clients.

surf yoga retreat

More info on the Yoga classes offered at Swell can be found on this page.

Q:I have never done Yoga before, can I join in the classes at Swell
A:Molly’s ( The Yoga Instructor at Swell)  teaching style is warm and supportive and she encourages students to explore beyond their perceived limitations by emphasising proper alignment to maximise performance and prevent injuries. You do not have to be a regular practitioner of Yoga to take and enjoy a yoga class at Swell.




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Best summer camps

best surf vacation

Spring has begun and we at Swell Surf Camp already get a lot of inquiries and bookings in for the summer.

Maybe it’s because we got mentions on a lot of external / independent websites for offering awesome summer surf camp holidays.

Mentions:

Needless to say we are very happy when we get a mention in the media, another thing to say is that we never pay for media coverage or let anyone have a free stay in return for a write up. These reviews of Swell Surf Camp are genuine.

What’s going on in Cabarete?

Winter has provided us with lots of top quality surf days at Playa Encuentro, and the kite surfers have also been happy days with plenty of windy afternoons. With summer coming up: if you have been wanting to learn kitesurfing, the next few months is the time to come over to Cabarete for a kite surfing lessons / course. Steady trade winds in the afternoon will be a steady fixture all the way until the end of August for kiteboarding

Want to learn to surf ? Summer months provide excellent learning conditions for beginners with waves in the waist to chest high range.

Did we mention the Yoga Surf Camp ?

Need more activities? have a look at the active adventure holiday page.

 

We hope to see you in Cabarete, the action sport’s capital of the Caribbean this summer.

For those interested in learning to kitesurf on their caribbean, here’s a good starter guide

If you are looking for more info on the seasons in the Dominican Republic:

Best time to visit the Dominican Republic

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