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What’s the fuss about dropping in?

Two surfers react after a drop in
Meet Karen the kook in this article and find out about dropping in.

For those of you still waxing your boards in newbie-land, ‘dropping in’ is what happens when a surfer catches a wave that another surfer is already riding. Imagine you’re about to take the first bite of a juicy burger, and someone swoops in and snatches it from your hands. That’s dropping in, my friends, but with more saltwater and less ketchup. Great, now I’m hungry, brb!

The Unwritten Surf Rules

Surfing, much like a secret society, has its unwritten rules. The most golden of them all? The surfer closest to the peak of the wave (that’s the highest point, for the uninitiated) gets dibs. It’s a simple rule, but in the heat of the moment, with the sun in your eyes and the waves calling your name, even the most zen surfers can forget their manners.

The Secret Art of Wave Snatching

Now, let’s get into the juicy part – the snaking. Some surfers, bless their rebellious hearts, just can’t resist the temptation of a perfect wave, even if it’s already claimed. They’ll paddle like they’re escaping a sea monster, eyes locked on the prize, and whoosh – they drop in, leaving the rightful wave-owner spluttering in their wake. It’s a bold move, a bit like stealing the last slice of pizza, but with more chance of a wipeout. If it’s a Hawaiian pizza, though, f*ck it. 

Why It’s Not Cool

Apart from ruffling feathers and potentially causing a surfboard showdown, dropping in is dangerous. Two surfers on one wave is like a dance-off gone wrong – there’s a high chance of crashing, colliding, or taking an unplanned trip to the ocean floor. Not cool, bros and sis!

The Kook Factor

Look, we’re all kooks in a kook-ruled world. It’s a simple as that. The best surfer is the one having the most fun, and goofing around… but some guys and gals do take this sport seriously, and here’s why.

… you finish your shitty, monotonous day shift at your job and you’ve been dreaming about that curl on the ocean surface all day. It’s glassy, it’s clean, it’s empty, it’s warm. Ahhhh. You beat the traffic, high-five your gnarly boss on the way out, beat the traffic, walk down those f*cking steps and there you are… the first one in.

Suddenly, an arsenal of surfers arrive carrying their surfboards as ammo. With good intentions surely, but these kooks are about to ruin your day, and you’ve not even caught your wave of the day.

You paddle. Look left, tilt the board to start making your pop-up and turn as smooth as silk. You pop up and BAM! Karen of there’s coming along for the ride. Shit, Karen the kook doesn’t know the rules. You collide and crash. She gets fussy, unleashing a wave of complaints your way about how you don’t own the beach. 

Well, you’re the more experienced surfer, so what do you do? She’s right; you don’t own the beach, but you did have priority and were closest to the peak. You want to explore, as your days been ruined. Again. But you don’t, you stay calm and explain the rules to her. Hey she’s kinda cute so you make friends too. Happily ever after!

Most times, the above scenario never happens. And why should it? You had a shitty day, and your wave was ruined. But guess what, there’s another wave coming, and Karen’s now on the other side of the bay.

Karen, find your own space

On a crowded bay, there’s never enough space, but if you’re new and have a little grain of intelligence, learn away from the more experienced rippers, please. Play, have fun, fall, nosedive, laugh and learn, but without crashing into a short boarder. 

We’re all kooks in our own way. Embrace it, learn from it, and then, for the love of waves, stop doing it! Oh and this applies to both Karen and our salty surfer above. You might sometimes find better waves outside the main commotion of kooks. 

Avoiding the Drop-In Drama

Here’s a pro tip: keep your eyes peeled. Watch the waves, know your position, and respect the lineup. Remember, it’s all about timing and courtesy. If you do accidentally drop in, a simple apology goes a long way. A smile, a nod, maybe an offering of a post-surf taco – it’s the surfer’s way of saying “my bad.”

The Takeaway

Dropping in is the surfing faux pas that can turn a chill day at the beach into a scene from a soap opera. It’s part comedy, part drama, and all parts avoidable. So, let’s keep the waves friendly, the vibes high, and remember – the ocean is big enough for all of us, but the waves? Well, they’re best ridden solo.

Surf safe, laugh often, and remember, the best wave of your life is still out there. Just make sure it’s not already someone else’s. Happy surfing!

Know Da Rulez

Let’s channel our inner Sterling Spencer here, YOU KNOW DA RULEZ:

  1. Furthest Out Rule: The surfer who is furthest out or who has been waiting the longest has priority for the next wave.
  2. Inside Position Rule: If two surfers are paddling for the same wave, the one closest to the peak (the highest point of the wave) has the right of way.
  3. First to Feet Rule: The first surfer to get to their feet and start riding the wave has priority.
  4. Riding Direction Rule: A surfer riding a wave has priority over others who are paddling out. Paddling surfers must yield and avoid the rider’s path.

Do Not Drop In: Dropping in (taking off on a wave that another surfer is already riding) is a breach of etiquette and can be dangerous. Always give way to the surfer who is already on the wave.


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Meet Karen the kook in this article and find out about dropping in.