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“Surfing Etiquette on Maui”photo

Jeb Kramer is our IT Systems Manager at Destination Resorts Hawaii and when not fixing our computers, we know he’s somewhere out surfing in Maui. As a seasoned surfer, he shares these tips for surfing on Maui.

Surfing in Hawaii is a serious venture. After all, this is Hawaii, home to the best surf and best surfers in the world. But there are a few things you need to know before paddling out. For experienced surfers, the following is a sort of “code of conduct” for surfing in Hawaii:

Be humble, respectful and patient! It’s considered disrespectful to just paddle out and try to catch the first wave you see. Some surf breaks are very sacred to the locals who have been surfing there for generations. Take your time, watch for awhile and respect the lineup and you will likely be invited into a wave from someone who shares the love of surfing and has noticed your patience. Having a local surfer offer you a wave is the best way to be included into a lineup. For the most part, surfers are laid back, happy people. Show a little aloha and say hello. Smiles and eye contact go a long way here. And if you make a mistake, offer a quick and sincere apology.

Always check in with the lifeguard, ask if you can surf at that beach and let them know what your ability level is. When in doubt, don’t paddle out! There’s always another area that is more suitable for you.

Most surf breaks have a channel and instead of paddling directly into the waves, look for the current that will easily get you to the lineup. Watch what others are doing, where they get in and out, and which way they are surfing. This helps you stay out of the way of other surfers and saves your energy.

Don’t walk on or touch the reef. The coral and lava reefs are sensitive ecosystems and you could destroy the reef or get cut on sharp coral.

Avoid injuring other surfers from getting hit by your board by making sure no one is around you before releasing your board. If you cannot control your board, you need to surf in a less crowded area.

The surfer at the peak of the wave always has the right-of-way, so don’t even think of dropping in on someone else’s wave. Considered a serious offense, it could end your surf session in a hurry.

It’s your responsibility to stay out of the way. If you are too far inside and can’t get over the shoulder without cutting off another surfer, you need to turn into the breaking wave, behind the surfer and just take on the whitewash.

When you do decide to go for a wave, give it 100%! You’ll be more likely to catch the wave and even if you wipeout, at least you committed yourself. It’s the best way to earn respect and to let the lineup know that you are a serious surfer. If you are at the peak and don’t go all out, chances are you’ll miss the wave. The surfers won’t let that happen twice - you can expect others to start dropping in on you. It’s better to chance it and enjoy the wipeout. It really is part of the fun! Whether you catch the wave or the wave catches you, you’re surfing in Maui!




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