Here's an opinion piece from local surfer Jaryd Mason about the state of the summer line-up's. A perennial problem without a solution in sight it seems. Here's Jaryd's thoughts on the matter:
"This summer saw the usual increase in PE’s “surfing population”. Combined with a serious wave drought, Pipe has looked more like an “anything that floats contest” than a surf spot. Yea, you’re always going to get the surfing purist who will tell you that Pipe NEVER gets waves, but let’s face it, most of us surf there anyway!
So along with the crowds comes the odd kook or two, or in PE’s case, ten! These kooks come along with their weapons of mass destruction (flying surfboards) and huge egos in the water. Combine this with a lack of “surfing knowledge”, and you have a rather unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous, situation. Surfing is by nature a dangerous sport, but it shouldn’t be a contact sport!
I’ve given writing this article for Millerslocal plenty of thought as have realised that it could a sensitive topic. I thought it’d be easy to write about, but it isn’t. Everyone has their own views/opinions on this. These are my views and I hope I don’t offend anyone by expressing them.
Tossing/shooting boards has become a regular sight in the water. Shooting a surf board at someone is WRONG and DANGEROUS! Surfboards are not footballs, you don’t shoot them! Even if you’re trying to avoid someone, don’t toss your board away. Shooting your board at an oncoming surfer is even worse, even if you think you’re doing it to try avoid a collision.
If you can’t duckdive, then Eskimo roll, or at least hold onto your board. If you can’t duckdive or Eskimo roll, you’re going to be a hazard in the water, and shouldn’t really be out at a busy surf spot. I reckon that other surfers have the right to ask someone to move if they’re a hazard, as it’s for the safety of everyone in the water. It’s actually pretty selfish if the hazardous surfer refuses to move as they’re putting other surfers at risk! Beginners need to respect that, and understand that they may be out of their depth and endangering everyone in the water, including themselves.
One of the worst things to do is to shoot your board at another surfer out of spite. Whether someone has dropped in on you or not, you should never intentionally shoot your board at them! I had a situation in the water the other day where someone tried to shoot his board at me cos he claimed that I was taking all the waves! The surfer who shot his board at me was way off the main peak and could barely surf. I think that people like that should have NO place in a line up!
I’ve chatted to some other local surfers about the lack of etiquette in PE’s breaks over the summer period. Most agree on the general lack of respect shown in the water and that “new surfers” don’t have the correct “surfing knowledge”.
I was lucky enough to have surfing as a school sport. It helped me understand what was wrong and right in the water. We were lectured by our coaches when we were out of line and by other surfers. I used to be so scared of the local surfers when I first started out (no names mentioned!).
I also had my fair share of mishaps and lectures from other surfers in the water. When I was about 15 I remember screaming at a surfer at Millers who had dropped in on me. He was about 50 or so and wasn’t having some random school kid give him attitude. Needless to say he shared a bit of his mind with me that day and I don’t think I’ve ever screamed at an older surfer since! In the end I think the tuning helped me learn my place in the line up. I wouldn’t dare snake someone older than me especially if they were a better surfer.
I saw dropping in as a kind of death sentence too! What worries me is that same respect no longer exists in the line up. I’m talking about is the respect beginners should have for more experienced surfers. The kind of respect which anyone should have for a more senior member of a sports team. The kind of respect which you should have for someone older than you! The respect you should have for local surfers if you’ve never surfed that spot before!I reckon that part of the reason for this lack of respect is that local surfers are not showing beginners the way.
It’s like raising a child and never telling them stealing is wrong. By explaining that stealing is wrong and by setting a good example they will respect you. The same goes for surfing rules and MANNERS!
Snaking is a massive issue in all line ups. Let’s face it, we all snake each other. Among friends snaking can be quite fun, especially when the waves aren’t good and there’s some good banter in the water. I’ll admit that I snake all the time! But here’s the thing which I found hard to write about...What do you do if someone who can’t surf well keeps snaking you? What do you do if you paddle past that surfer because they are not in the right spot for the wave and they tune you? Surely it’s a case of respect and the better surfer gets the wave?
There is such a fine line between being a wave hog and catching your fair share of waves. It is hard to judge and to figure out who is wrong or right, who is “allowed” more waves. I reckon that the people who surf a break all the time are entitled to a few more waves than the surfers who are new to the wave or new to the sport.
It’s how all breaks work, you could call it localism, but again there is a fine line between localism and respecting the locals at a spot! Back to my story about the guy who tuned me and tried shooting his board at me. He was nowhere near the main peak on the day. I’d say at least 10m away from the actual line up. Was I wrong to paddle past him all the time? In my opinion, if someone is not in the right place to catch a wave you have the right to paddle past them and sit in the actual line up. Especially if the other person can’t surf. I know that everyone won’t agree with me on this, but that’s just my opinion.
If you accidently drop in on someone or do something wrong then apologise. Everyone gets into bad situations at times and sincere apologies go a long way to preventing conflict in the water.
The only way beginners will learn how to behave in the water is if they get told when they are out of line. If they give attitude then well...I’m not one for violence, but then they deserve a fat klap! The only way we can keep breaks safe and orderly is if surfers take responsibility and ensure everyone out there knows what they’re doing! It sucks! But I don’t see any other way around this problem!
We can’t sit back and do nothing about this because then I think it will just get worse! So the next time someone drops in on you, shoots their board or deliberately snakes you. Let them know what they have done wrong!
By not correcting beginners things could get out of control at our surf breaks and people could get hurt. I know that as surfers we need to be chilled and laid back, but there is nothing chilled and laid back about getting stitches in your pip from a flying surfboard. It is the only way beginners will learn and you will be doing the rest of the line up a favour!
Let’s try help other surfers when we can, and make sure they learn the ins and outs of surfing, because in the end WE ALL LOVE SURFING!
I’m keen to hear people’s opinions on this. As I said, I may be wrong and I accept that. These are just my views."
Written by Jaryd Mason.
Check out the Surf Guide for a quick brush up on lineup etiquette.