Ghana Surfing
California Surf Guide | Santa Barbara

Here are the golden rules of surfing in summary:

The Ghana Surfer says: If you are serious about becoming a real surfer, then click on this link to The History of surfing rules. Study it, and it will pay diividends for the rest of your surfing life.

Have fun, but not at the expense of the other people in the water.

Don't drop in (this means don't catch a wave that someone else is already riding). The surfer on the inside (closest to the breaking part of the wave) has right of way.

Don't be a snake! (A snake is a surfer who constantly paddles to the inside, or turn inside someone after they started to paddle into a wave, and then invoke the drop in rule). In other words try not to be greedy.

Don't paddle through the line-up. (This means don't paddle out where the other surfers are riding, it's very dangerous for all involved).

When paddling out, the surfer riding the wave has right of way. If paddling out, try to stay out of the way. Never try to paddle in front of a surfer riding a wave, if in doubt, paddle into the white water and take the hit! You wouldn't walk in front of traffic, don't paddle in front of someone riding a wave. When paddling out do not paddle close behind other surfers, if a wave hits them you will wear their fins in your face, it's very painful.

Use common sense where crowds are an issue. If you turn up to a break that is already heavily crowded, then consider surfing somewhere else. Adding to an already frustrated and aggressive crowd won't help you or them.

Wear a leg rope. Occasionally you'll see a surfer in the water who is not using a leg rope, they are usually very experienced and rarely loose control, and they are the only exception to this rule.

Always hold on to your board when a wave hits you (throwing your board away and allowing your leg rope to do the job for you, is very dangerous to the other surfers in the water).

Never use your board as a weapon or as a means of protection from a possible collision. Many beginners will throw their boards in front of another surfer when afraid of a possible collision. This is incredibly dangerous.

These are the basic surfing rules that have been in force for many years out in the surf. Yet for the last ten years the surfing rules have been broken on a regular basis. The result is chaos.

You may turn up at a break, take a look and notice that nobody seems to be paying any attention to the basic surfing rules. This is a phenomenon that usually occurs at breaks where the ratio of beginners to more experienced surfers is too high. That is, there are more tourists and beginners on hire-boards in the water than experienced surfers.

This upsets the more experienced surfers, who then start to feel that the only way to deal with the situation is to ignore the surfing rules themselves, in order to get a wave.

From this point, the whole thing can spiral out of control and before you know it, you have complete chaos! people getting run over, dinged surfboards and frayed tempers.

Does The Ghana Surfer dare to suggest that visitors should stop going to these places? Absolutely not! We just need to address the situation, and this web site is a start.

It is also quite common to see the whole system break down even when there are no beginners in the water. This usually happens when the surf is big and there are only a few places rideable in a given area. Then the population of experienced surfers becomes concentrated on one break, everyone's adrenalin is pumping, egos become inflated, a percentage of the crowd gets greedy and the pressure on the locals becomes enormous. All hell breaks loose.

Don't worry if this all sounds a bit daunting, it's really not a big problem if you know what you are doing. The beginnings of this web site have simply been aimed at identifying the current problems. The rest of the site is not only a practical and easy-to-learn surfing guide for beginner surfers, it is also a guide to being part of the solution.