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5 Rules For Managing the Lineup - Weekly Wednesday Wisdom

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

It doesn't matter if you are at OB or Linda Mar the rules of the lineup is a part of surf culture everywhere. Here’s a list of 5 crucial practices:

1. The Proper Paddle Out You know what sucks? When you look behind you, shoreward, and see a guy or two paddling directly out through the break, right to the peak, instead of walking up or down the beach and paddling out around the break. This is of course much worse at a spot with a super-defined takeoff zone. Don’t do this, and, equally important, don’t let others get away with this by speaking up.

2. Mr. Paddle-For-Every-Wave Guy Just because you can catch a wave, doesn’t mean you should paddle for it! The rider with inside position ought to be allowed to catch the wave without the hassle. If they blow it, alright, next time go ahead and be a bit more aggressive. The peak doesn’t need to get any more competitive than it already is; if you can surf, you deserve the dignity of paddling into a wave unmolested.

3. Take Turns If somebody is paddling back out after just catching a wave—it’s not their turn. If you’re stroking out to the peak at the very beginning of your session and there are already people out—it’s not your turn. If you just windmill-paddled for a wave but didn’t catch it—you’ve lost your turn. Beginners have no idea how a rotation works. Many long-time surfers don’t either. The only way they will learn is if you tell them. It may get uncomfortable. That’s just fine. Often a terse “don’t even think about” is all it takes.

4. The Shadow It’s so nice to finally find an uncrowded peak, especially if you just paddled 50 yards to earn yourself some elbow room. Then along comes a solo paddler, who, for whatever reason, decides to sit five yards away from you. This is often extremely irritating. Nothing at all wrong with telling your new friend to keep it moving. Nobody likes clingy paddlers.

5. Lineup Magnets At big, open beachbreaks like OB, there’s often hundreds of yards of empty lineup. Sometimes, you just want to be by yourself, or with a friend or two. But then, you turn to the beach and see a couple surfers stroking out to say hi and sit on your peak. There’s plenty of room for them to find their own bar. You know what? Tell ‘em.

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