Respect, respect, and respect. "Haole, go home," they say., and it's hard to resist the temptation to get confrontational. Test your ability to respectfully catch waves in foreign waters, where waves aren't yours, even if you actually happen to hold priority.
You've already felt the power of surfing in your own surf spot. You know the beach, you know the peak and also the local crew. Surfing is easy when you're playing on home fields.
In holiday mode, or when the ocean's flat at your favorite point, things tend to be harder. If you've found a treasure of waves in a spot with a strong community of locals, caution is needed.
Take a look at 10 rules for surfing waves in non-local surf spots:
1. Put on the wetsuit near the locals: if there's a parking lot where everybody gears up, join them slowly. Do not show fear; nor over-respect. Stay cool and do your thing calmly;
2. Head to shore and warm-up by the water: locals will have the chance to check you out and cool their tempers. Do your exercises slowly, without any aggressive movements;
3. Paddle out slowly: you want to show everybody that you're not crazy for waves and that you're enjoying the atmosphere;
4. Say hello with your eyes and face: try to greet each local individually. Look straight into their eyes and be gentle without being too subservient;
5. Ask where the best place to take off is to enjoy the wave: the question is so obvious and human nature tends to be so generous that they will usually be willing to help you. Ask even if you already know the answer;
6. Show interest and express appreciation for the locals' skills: show you're watching their waves and, in the end, throw thumbs up for the best waves;
7. Hand your first priority waves: if they show they're going to drop in on you, calmly offer them the ride. When they paddle back, ask if you can get the next one with a gentle smile;
8. Paddle for the right wave with all your commitment: once you've gained their respect, it's important to show that you also surf well.. Go for it. Remember to always stare at the beach while preparing to take off. It signals your intent to the other surfers;
9. Paddle out and praise the quality of their wave: say something like, "Congratulations! You guys have an incredible quality wave here";
10. Invite a couple of local surfers for a round of beers: thank them for the hospitality and big up the entire surf break.;
Unsure if it'll work out? Only one way to find out and that's to give it a try.