If you are new to the world of surfing, you have probably already noticed that surfers have a culture all of their own with rules and terminology that can be a bit difficult to understand when you are first starting out. Although the vast majority of experienced surfers are very friendly and accommodating to new surfers, it is a good idea to get a decent grasp of surfing language and etiquette before you try to get out there and share the waves with the big boys. Remember, it is never too late to learn how to surf, and you will find that your fellow surfers are generally more than welcome to give you a helping hand so long as you have taken the time to get to know the basics and not stepped on anybody’s toes.
From “hanging ten” to “cowabunga,” surfers have had their own private language every since the sport really started taking off in the United States during the 1950’s. These days, there are also a handful of technical terms that every new surfer needs to learn right off the bat: swells and breaks. A swell refers to the peak height of the waves during different parts of the day and season. When surfers speak of breaks, they are referring to the precised point in the water where incoming waves begin breaking and whether the waves are breaking to the left or the right from the perspective of an individual standing on the shore.
With the exception of surfing competitions, there are no clear cut rules when it comes to surfing, but there are definitely some basic dos and don’ts. The most important thing to bear in mind when you are sharing the water with some other surfers is that is considered extremely rude to try to take on wave that somebody else is riding. Not only can this lead to some heated arguments out in the water, it can also endanger the safety of your fellow surfers.