Thursday, December 20, 2007

Surfing's Unwritten Code

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!


Anonymous said...

wow, what a surprise, thanks for putting my comment. just one thing, I would make a very ugly guy , I am only 5ft and wear bikinis.
I will be here in Japan for couple more days and then back to maui in time for another big swell ( hopefully it won't be too windy but we all know that doen't happen very often)
happy holidays and keep paddling!

John Ashley said...

"I am only 5ft and wear bikinis."


And a Merry Christmas to you!

Anonymous said...

thanks for those wise words,
some breaks here in san diego county are already reaching a point where violence is likely to occur because of SUP surfers pushing an overcrowded break past the safety point with experienced stand up guys in the water with complete novice stand up guys and a pack of 30 regular surfers or more. last saturday i felt sick to my stomach watching cardiff reef with guys breaking every rule you just shared, putting others in danger.
I hope this 'trend' dies out and the real sup guys can enjoy it without it reaching the breaking point. what can I say i'm an optimist.

John Ashley said...

Hey Anonymous- I agree.

Something is bound to happen at those crowded breaks where beginners think it's just fine to paddle out into a functioning pack of good surfers. I don't know what the answer is but I'm not going to be part of the problem.

I'm looking for waves where nobody else wants them- and when they do, I move on.

We've got to spread the word on this because, as you've said, the tension level is rising.

Plenty of spots, just down the beach...

John Ashley said...

Um okay- I need to post a correction here- I totally mis-read MauiTomo's letter- I thought MauiTomo was goofing around with me and saying "he" wore bikinis when in reality MauiTomo really does wear bikinis and she charges macking Baja point surf. I apologize MauiTomo!

Now this says a lot about me.

1. I have to admit that I may be a little close minded and gender-centric! I'll work on it. Sorry ladies!

2. What kind of warped sense of humor do I have to assume that guys are writing me telling me they wear bikinis? I may have some interesting issues to work out.

srfnff said...

Hey John,
Not to worry...I misread that too. I thought it was a little strange that he wore bikinis...I too thought he was kidding around or it was some sort of lingo or slang. Anyway I live in the Scruz, so what's the big deal about guys in bikinis anyway?

I thought your remark was just kinda quirky and a jest in return. I got your sense of humor.

Now that being said doesn't mean you don't have some issues to work out...after all, you SUP surf don't you? Heh-heh...