Is It Ever OK To Pee In Your Wetsuit? A To Z Of Surfing Etiquette

Not rules, more like guidelines...

M – Muppet

See Kook

N – Natural Footer

See Goofy Footer

O – “Ooiiiiii”

The call most used to let another surfers know you are riding a wave to deter any form of drop ins.

Other calls maybe used, for example legendary Australian surfer Michael Peterson had a famous whistle that he used whilst traveling in the tube.

The “oiiiiiii” call is most common, however. It should be called loudly and with authority. Until you fall off, which etiquette dictates you sit nice and quiet for the rest of the surf.

P – Pee in your wetsuit

It is one of the great advantages of surfing that it is the only sport that allows you to urinate over yourself in complete comfort and with total confidence.

Not only is it an acceptable and respected part of surfing, it is one of its great joys.

Of course, the act must be only done in the water. To do so either on the way down to the water, or on the way back from a surf, is just plain weird.

R – Respect

Another key word in surfing etiquette that is a riddle wrapped in an enigma. We are told to respect the ocean and respect the locals.

Respect is supposed to be earned and not given. At the end of the day, by respecting yourself, respecting the rules of surfing and respecting all the surfers you are sharing the ocean with, you should be okay. Unless a local punches you in the head.

S – Snake

To snake someone is to paddle up past a surfer who has established their position on the inside. It is close to the drop-in in terms of surf crime, but much less easy to define.

In more orderly pointbreaks or reefs the act is much clearer to see, on shifty beachbreaks less so. Either way most surfers know when they are snaking someone, or whether they are being snaked. Try to avoid both at all costs.

T – Tube

The holy grail of surfing, the act of riding behind the curtain of a breaking wave, hidden from view and traveling inside vortex of the ocean.

Etiquette dictates that you should hoot anyone in the tube, while if you wanted to commit surfing’s most heinous act, you can drop in on someone whilst they are in the tube. An afterlife in hell, hopefully as a call centre operator in Birmingham, awaits.

U – Underground

An underground surfer is a someone who eschews the limelight and easy options. It is a surfer who will travel harder than most and skip some of life’s responsibilities to chase their surfing dream.

While the underground surfer will forgo meaningful relationships, financial security, basic hygiene and a career, he or she will surf more waves, of higher quality, than the rest of the above ground surf population.

Also see Respect.

V – Violence

See Localism

Photo via. mototrend

W – Waterman

A higher evolved form of surfer that can ride big waves, stand up paddleboard 200 miles, carry rocks on the bottom of the ocean and catch 400 kilogram tuna with his or her bare hands.

Laird Hamilton is a waterman’s highest profile example. Surf etiquette says we should treat them like gods. All be it gods that advertise American Express.


If you have come this far, not only should you be awarded for your patience and perseverance, you should also know have a comprehensive knowledge of the vague rules and bylaws of surfing’s etiquette.

Now all there is to do is forget everything I have written and simply go surfing.


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