surf rage

Surf Rage: the aggressive behavior some people have when they are windsurfing, kitesurfing or surfing. This is usually an abnormal circumstance as they are not like this except when on the water. This may be evident through rude gestures, insults and threats as well as acting in a way that is dangerous to others such as surfing too close or attacking them on shore after an encounter on the water.

Basically it is road rage for surfers. In short, it is a childish and selfish behavior which puts others at risk just so that they can have the space (be it the spot or the waves) for themselves.

It is easy to identify where this aggressive attitude comes from. Every surfer knows the pleasure of being on the water practically alone. Not having to watch out for other surfers makes the session much more enjoyable as you can focus on you own moves and fun. Even when there are rules established in terms of priority and people abiding by the rules of right of way, it still means we have to watch out for not running into each other.

Add to this the prejudice some people have about the individual sports such as surfers versus bodyboarders versus SUPers versus windsurfers versus kite surfers and you have a tense situation on the water indeed.

This prejudice comes from a variety of situations which has made another sport annoying for others. For example, just from what I have seen personally, surfers who can’t stand bodyboarders who get the wave for being closer to the peak only because they don’t have fins to watch out for in the shallow water when the wave draws back over the reef; windsurfers getting annoyed at surfers who are lying in the water in the wave where they are not seen and surfers getting annoyed at windsurfers for not seeing them and sailing too close, SUPers  being hated for the danger they pose when they wipeout with their monster boards; SUPers and long-boarders taking all the waves due to the extra volume, kite surfers being insulted for dropping their kites in areas that windsurfers need to head through in one go or end up on the rocks, kite surfers hating windsurfers for lying in the water where no one can see them when they are jumping, and windsurfers getting surprised by a kite surfer landing only a few metres next to them or in their sail; and the list goes on and on.

Every once in a while I fall prey to this reaction, but only getting annoyed at a person in particular for being selfish, ignorant, inexperienced or just unlucky. However, that is no reason to berate them or threaten them. We have all been in the way of someone else at some point or another and will do so in the future. Most of these are accidents, bad timing, not seeing, not looking or whatever reason. Getting riled up about it will not help but make the situation on the water more tense.

In short, we are sharing a space on the water which belongs to everyone. Most of the time people [insert annoying action here] because they genuinely didn’t see us or they don’t know the rules. Being an asshole about it won’t help anyone. If you are annoyed, tell the other person calmly when you get back to the beach. Most of the time breaking the rules and rights of way was a genuine mistake resulting in a scare or a missed wave and the instances that it was out of sheer selfishness are rare, except for in spots where the competitiveness has pushed the general attitude into a “me first” state.

Let me know what you think. What situations have you had?