The 7 Deadly Sins of Surfing | Bad Habits That Will Make Surfers Think You’re a Dick

Are you (or anyone you know) guilty of any of these deadly sins?

If you don’t want other surfers to greet you like this, read on…

Surfing is about fun and about joy. It is about the feel of being in the ocean and riding nature’s own power. Of course the problem with all that is that sometimes humans get in the way.

Here is a list of surfing’s seven deadly sins, the perpetrators of any of these deserve to go straight to hell. (For fuller guidance on what’s acceptable and what’s not, check out our basic guide to surfing etiquette and our article explaining more surfing ‘rules’).

1) The Drop-In

Dropping in on another surfer still remains the sport’s ultimate cardinal sin. When a surfers drops in (or takes off) on another surfer who is already riding the wave, he or she is effectively is trying to dismantle the very essence of surfing.

“If drop-ins were acceptable, there would be anarchy.”

The lineup would degenerate into a chaotic, dangerous mess of injury, insult and multiplicity with absolutely no winners.

You see waves can really only be enjoyed by one person, that’s why the drop in rule exists.

Sure there are a few exceptions, like when the surf is either below 2 feet, or above 20 feet, but 99 per cent of the time any drop in is the lowest, dirtiest act in surfing.

2) The Snake

Closely linked to the drop in, the snake can be executed without a wave even being ridden.

In the lineup, in an ideal world, surfers will place themselves in a line and await their turn. Surfers will be aware who rode the last wave and operate a type of queue system.

To snake someone is to ignore this queue and instead paddle to the very “inside” or start of the queue. Again to snake is to ignore the fundamental rules of the lineup, a blatant, often hostile act that threatens the stability of the established order.

Less overt than the drop in, yet no less damaging, the snake is dirty act and one that should be punished, preferably by beheading.

3) The Aqua Turd

The sign reads ‘aqua turds are prohibited.’ Photo:

Sometimes you might get caught short in the surf. Your bowel movements are out of sync with your wave movements and there is absolutely nothing you can do but relieve yourself in the lineup. This act is commonly known as the aqua turd.

Now while this may be labeled a natural event, and sure it’s the way fish go about their business, there is still no place in surfing for the aqua turd.

Someone else’s human mini-submarines can wreck a session, if not an entire holiday, and should not be tolerated in the lineup.

Unless of course it’s one of these waves with a hilarious name like shit pipe…

4) Mass Aqua turds

Surfers Against Sewage have been campaigning against the pollution of the oceans for years. Photo:

Of course if a single surfer dropping the kids off at the pool in the lineup is pretty dirty, a systematic unleashing of millions of litres of untreated sewage into our oceans is downright diabolical.

Yet this is what is happening on most European coastlines, with governments refusing to both upgrade antiquated sewage systems or place the pipes that flush the effluent into the ocean further out into the ocean.

The continued polluting of our precious oceans, despite technology being available to remedy the situation, might be the biggest and dirtiest act of all.

5) The Wax Borrow

Classic wax borrower technique – just happening to put their board down next to yours…

The wax borrow is one of surfing’s greatest crimes, one of its stealthy, low acts. The wax borrower can be seen stalking the car park of surf spots holding up their waxless board in a desperate way in the hope that someone will take pity on them.

Wax isn’t expensive and while the “caught short moment” can happen to the best of us from time to time, there is really no excuse for any surfer worth his salt not to be packing his own €3 cake of wax.

“Wax borrowers tend to be a repeat offenders”

And anyway, the wax borrow isn’t usually an accidental one-off. Wax borrowers tend to be a repeat offenders, never seeing the need to be wax self-sufficient when everyone else is.

The final straw, just when you though the wax borrower couldn’t get any lower, is when they take your last section of wax, scrape their board thoroughly and return a piece the size and consistency of a booger.

Death by wasps to the genitals is too lenient a punishment for such a crime.

6) The Waxed Windscreen

The aftermath of a wax attack at a beach carpark in British Columbia. Photo:

Perhaps the only more dirty act involving wax in surfing is the waxed windscreen.

This is a relatively common crime where one surfer, disgruntled with another surfer’s behaviour will vent his irritation by scrawling written abuse in wax on the other’s car.

If you were unaware, the removal of wax from a windscreen is a very tedious and painstaking affair.

Ninety per cent of the time the main reason for a waxed windscreen is that a surfer has the temerity to live somewhere other than the beach he is surfing at. Apart from being a waste of wax, it is one of the most cowardly acts in surfing.

Even the greatest surfer of all time Kelly Slater has been a victim of this dirty act!

7) The Leash Pull

A rare and isolated dirty trick, but one nonetheless that still remains in the top echelon of dirty acts. The leash pull (or legrope pull if you come from Australia) is when a surfer grabs another surfer’s leash as he is paddling for a wave.

If done correctly the backward force of the pull will stop the paddler’s momentum and make him or her unable to catch the wave.

The most famous example of the leash pull can be seen in the seminally bad surf movie called North Shore.

In this instance the hero Rick Kane has his leash pulled in the final of the Pipe Masters by his nemesis Lance Burkhart (played by Laird Hamilton).

The dirty act doesn’t prevent our hero Rick (a Texan who learned to surf in the Arizona WavePool, as you do!) from prevailing, but it does mean that the leash pull can alternatively be called a Burkhart.

As in, “I can’t believe you just Burkharted me, that’s one of the dirtiest acts in surfing.”

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