Here's a great letter I received from Mauitomo in Hawaii. This girl is stoked about paddle surfing and says something so important that I felt it needed to be brought to the front page for us all to see:
"Hello, I am in Japan. I was introduced to your site from my friend, and was surprised to see your Baja shots of last swell. I think I was at that exact spot ( but I am not certain) I was standup paddling that day, those were the biggest waves I'd ever been on with a standup paddle board. I was scared shitless at first but I definitely had the best waves I have ever had in my very short standup experience. It was mindblowing. What a perfect wave, I cannot wait to go back there.
There were no other paddlers around and I was very very courteous of regular surfers so they won't have any feeling against SUP. I only stayed in the water when there are a few surfers and always let them have any waves they wanted and I only caught a few. That was what I learned from some of the good (and courteous) standup paddlers back home on Maui. I hope others will do the same so they won't kick us out from that beautiful spot."
The idea that we should pass on the important lesson of courtesy is a big and important one. Many stand up paddlers have decades of surfing experience under their belts, most of us have spent years paying dues and learning surfing's unwritten codes before we started paddle surfing. If you get a chance, pass these lessons on. If the opportunity arises, take a moment to drop a pearl of wisdom on a new stand up paddler. Simple things like right of way, or taking the whitewash instead of trying to race a riding surfer for the shoulder. Common courtesy: take a few give a few, paddle away from a pack of surfers on a good peak, find your own wave- the kind of things that won you a spot at your local break. Share the knowledge, spread the stoke and surf your brains out! Thanks MauiTomo- you're welcome to surf with us here in San Diego anytime!