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David Dorn“Safe Surfing is a matter of preparation, planning, and practice. When getting into an unfamiliar environment it is always best to study the ins and outs before jumping in the water. Here are a few hints, tips, rules & guidelines for anyone enjoying a surfing sport. Surf Safe and have fun”.  Aloha, David Dorn

Surfing Safety Tips- Surfers Right of Way.

  1. Always surf with a buddy = this increases your enjoyment and you chances for survival.

  2. Do not attempt to surf further than you can swim= If you loose your board you will be swimming.

  3. Always use a board Leash = your loose board is a danger to other surfers.

  4. If you get into trouble always stay with your board = Your board is your life preserver, and is more easily seen than your little coconut head.

  5. Wear a bright colored rashie or boardies, A bright surf board has better visibility.

  6. Don’t surf at night!

  7. Check your gear before going out, check leash, no dings, wetsuit etc. = open dings can cut you, and leaky wetsuits can become a hazard. Broken leashes are bad.

  8. Know the weather before you go. Check the marine warnings, thunderstorms, other events.

  9. Never surf in a thunderstorm, you could get hit by lightning, etc.

  10. Tell someone responsible where you are going and when you will be back, they should also know what you are wearing, your vehicle description. Someone who will call for a rescue should you not return home. (Float Plan).

  11. Know your area, study the area you are going to surf. If it is your first time, then ask a local, or at the very least watch and wait for a good 20-30mins to study the break where to enter/exit and paddle out and take off.

  12. If in Doubt, don’t go out! = Do not go out in conditions beyond your abilities. Don’t get in over your head, if there are only experts in the water, there is probably a reason. Also if there is no one else in the water there could also be a good reason for that too.

  13. If there are lifeguards, ask them about the conditions, and where it is good to surf. They will tell you of any hidden risks.

  14. Never surf in a swimming area.

  15. Avoid Crowds: People plus hazards creates risk, more people = more risk.

  16. Look for a less crowded wave, and you will be safer, and have more rides, and more fun.

  17. Give a wave get a wave!, remember to share the waves with others.

  18. Take a mental note of the other surfers in the lineup, and who’s turn it is.

  19. Watch who is surfing at the break and try to fit into the rotation without snaking any waves.

  20. Paddle around the break to get to the take off zone. Do not paddle through the ride zone, or you may ruin someone’s wave, or get run over. Go the long way round.

  21. Do not drop in. Do not take off on someone else’s wave.

  22. Know the surfing priority rules.

  23. Always come in if you are cut or bleeding.

  24. Do not surf after heavy rains, especially at river mouths.

  25. Come in BEFORE you get too tired to do so.

  26. When you are tired accidents are more likely to happen.

  27. Don’t mess with sharks, and sea lions, they are territorial and sometimes hungry.

  28. Always tell your buddy when you are catching your last wave.

  29. Wait for your buddy to come in, to make sure you both made it back safely.

  30. Call your responsible person with the “float plan”, and tell then when you made it back to shore, and that you are driving home.


Safe Surfing Skills:

  1. Learn to surf away from other people.

  2. Practice paddling and ducking under the waves.

  3. Know how to duck dive your board or turtle roll it to get through whitewater.

  4. Stay in control of your board.

  5. Do not let go of your board in a crowd.

  6. Never let go of your board if someone is behind you.

  7. Don’t take off on a wave if someone is in front of you.

  8. Do not surf close to other surfers, you may loose control.

  9. During a wipeout curl into a ball and protect your head and neck!!

  10. After a wipeout surface slowly with your hands up first in case your board is there.

  11. Do not hang out in the impact zone.


  1. Avoid accident at all costs.

  2. Give way to swimmers, and fishermen.

  3. The surfer paddling out should avoid the surfer coming in.

  4. The first surfer on the wave has the priority on the wave.

  5. If two surfers take off at the same time, the one closest to the peak has priority.

  6. On an A-frame wave, one surfer can go left and one right,

  7. You should call out “going left” (or right) as the case may be, to signal your intentions and avoid confusion.

  8. If someone is attempting to paddle onto a wave when you are already riding, you should make an audible “hoy” to let them know you are riding the wave (they may not see you).

  9. Be gracious, the other guy may be a beginner.

  10. Don’t hog all the waves!!

  11. Share the waves, be friendly, and be respectful.