Thursday, September 11, 2008

Surfing Etiquette

Probably the biggest thing I was concerned about coming into this trip was dealing with experienced and/or local surfers.

I had worries that a newbie as well as a blindingly white tourist would do a lot to cramp their style. I'm totally okay with a fair amount of localism. It's only fair really, I could imagine living and surfing here and constantly fighting with new surfers who know little if anything about the sport. Nic coached me a bit on the finer points of surfing etiquette and my pal google tried to fill in the gaps.

The most important thing is to not drop-in on anybody. This basically means whoever is closer to where the wave is breaking (and on his feet) gets the right of way. At the same time, some level of respect should be given to the local surfers who are capable of ripping up every wave they come across. It is generally bad form to join a lineup of experienced surfers if you are just learning, so it's better to hang out on the shoulder of the wave or closer in to shore and try to gain balance there. The problem here is that the good surfers use the entire wave and pretty much any time there is a surfer to your left -- which is almost always, you are considered to be dropping in on them.

I was starting to get frustrated to the point of not wanting to surf after getting called off 4 or 5 consecutive waves which I had caught. Thankfully it turns out there seems to be a bit of an unwritten rule out in Sayulita -- or perhaps it just works out this way naturally. The early morning is apparently gringo hour. There is only a handful of surfers and only a couple pretty good ones. None of the really aggro guys are out which makes it much more mellow and fun for a beginner. By starting early, the day's schedule gets bumped up and your post-siesta surfing can then take place while everyone else is resting. But man, there are a few REALLY good surfers here, and not coincidentally they are the most aggressive as well.

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