Surf Safety and Etiquette:
With an increasing number of
people moving to the coasts, it is inevitable that more people
will be using the coastal waters. In
the United States,
"people have been migrating to the coasts since World War
II ... more than half of the nationís population lives in
coastal counties, which make up just 11 percent of the land area
of the lower 48 states, and the density of people in coastal
counties is several times that of other parts of the country. By
the year 2025, three out of every four Americans will live
within a hourís drive of the shoreline (1)."
Recognizing these changes
and the impacts on coastal recreation, the UNCW Surf Club is
committed to promoting safety and consideration in the waters (2).
Please see below for things to keep in mind when enjoying the
- Look out for swimmers and
other surfers in your area.
- When possible, look around
before abandoning your board. Please consider other people's
safety in the water.
- Pay attention to the
lifeguards. They're out there for everyone's safety.
- Use a leash when surfing
you get caught in a rip do NOT try to paddle against it --
paddle across it.
- Learn to
identify rips, wind changes and other hazards. This may
reduce your risk and will help you become a better surfer.
Please see Break
the Grip of the Rip for some great additional
- If you get
into trouble always stay with your board - - it is your
- It's a good
idea to check with local residents, surf shops, or
lifeguards for possible hazards in the water.
- Only surf
waves of a size and power suitable to your ability - - do
not get too confident.
- Please clean up your mess.
Trash inevitably ends up in the water, and can harm you and
- Don't surf alone (3).
others in trouble.
paddling for a wave always check to see if another surfer is
already on the wave. If there is another surfer already
riding the wave it is that person's wave and you should not
drop in on him/her.
- A surfer
riding a wave has priority over a surfer paddling out. It is
the responsibility of the surfer paddling out to avoid the
collision, either paddle towards the white water or dive
under the wave to avoid the approaching surfer.
- A surfer on
a wave should also recognize surfers paddling out. In some
cases, the surfer riding the wave may be more able to avoid
a collision with those paddling out. Nonetheless, paddlers
should do their best to get out of the way, but the idea
stressed here is safety.
- When two
surfers catch the same wave the surfer closest to the pocket
or breaking part of the wave, has priority and the other
surfer should pull off the wave.
- If two
surfers catch the same wave the surfer who is up and riding
first, all other things being equal, has priority.
of Wrightsville Beach
- includes information
on summer surfing restrictions and includes a map
designating the rotating surfing
definitive guide to surfing nice with others.
Code of Ethics
- from NEsurf.com, includes diagrams and information on
Bill of Rights
- from Surfline.com. See the site's Surfology
section for more information on weather and forecasting,
how-to's, and terminologies.
Current Information -
sponsored by North Carolina Sea Grant and the National
Weather Service, the site includes information on
identifying rip currents, rip current forecasts, along with
posters and brochures on promoting rip current awareness.
Also see the National Weather Service webpage: Break
the Grip of the Rip
Safety and Public Information -
sponsored by the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA).
and Water Safety -
sponsored by the United States Coast Guard.
Weber and Judith Gradwohl. The
Wealth of Oceans. (New York
Norton and Company, 1995), 135.
2. For further information on the dynamics of life along the
nation's coastlines, please see NOAA's State
of the Coast Report, which
provides scientific and technical information on the health of
the nation's coastal areas. (last accessed March 5, 2003).
3. "New Jersey surfer Daniel Fraunhofer drowns while
surfing alone in chilly 4-foot beachbreak near the jetty off of
Spring Beach after apparently being hit on the head by his
9'6" board. A search is launched when his board is found
lying on the beach with a snapped leash in the late afternoon.
The Coast Guard locates the 28-year-old experienced surfer a
half-mile out to sea, still alive but unconscious, and too late
for resuscitation efforts." Big Waves: This Day in
(last accessed March 4, 2003).
About the UNCW Surf Club:
With its earliest foundations dating back to 1977, the UNCW Surf
Club is a young and rising organization since its recent renewal
in 2001. The purpose of the UNCW Surf Club is to provide a a
surf-oriented, recreational, instructional, competitive, and
conservation-minded organization for current UNCW students,
faculty, and staff. For more information on the history of the
Surf Club, please see the Club's