Do Surfers Hate Beginners? 9 Tips To Avoid Being Hated

Do surfers hate beginners?

Have you heard the word “Kook” before? This dreaded word is used to describe beginner surfers, and if you didn’t know it by now, let me tell you – it is not a compliment.

Experienced surfers tend to look down on beginners, thinking they’re a nuisance in the water.

When it comes to surfing, there’s a lot more to it than just riding the waves. There’s also a surf etiquette that all surfers must follow in order to maintain harmony on the waves.

Unfortunately, not all new surfers are aware of this etiquette, leading them to be branded as ‘kooks’ by their fellow wave-riders.

Kooks are novice surfers who are oblivious to the strict code of etiquette that governs surfing, and they often end up causing frustration and annoyance for other surfers.

A kook is in particular someone who doesn’t respect the rules and disrupts the flow of waves.

While it may seem that experienced surfers hate beginners, it is not entirely true. Surfers just have a general dislike for anyone who doesn’t show respect for the sport and its rules.

You see, surfers don’t hate beginners. In fact, they welcome them (after all, we were all beginners once). But certain etiquette rules must be followed by anyone venturing into the water.

And when new surfers are unaware of these rules, they become kooks in the eyes of other surfers.

If you are a beginner and you’re wondering how surfers determine who’s a kook and who is not, keep on reading, we have 9 tips for you in order to not be hated.

Mistakes to Avoid For Beginner Surfers

Being a surfer is about more than just catching waves – it’s about being part of a community. In order to be respected by other surfers, it is important to understand the basics of surfing and the rules that come with it.

Here are 9 things that new surfers should avoid doing in order to blend in with the others and that they won’t hate you.

Enter The Water Without Observing The Area

As any surfer knows, paddling out to an overcrowded lineup can be a bad idea. Not because people will hate on you, but because you will stand out from the crowd, in a bad way.

That’s why it’s always important to analyze the current conditions before entering the ocean.

By taking note of where waves are breaking, how often sets are rolling in, and where other surfers are paddling out and sitting, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle.

Some surfers hate when the spot is crowded, especially when there are many beginners in it. However, if this is a beginner spot, the other surfers should be more forgiving.

Ignoring Other Surfers

When you’re in the water, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. This includes the other surfers around you and the local surfers in particular.

Being a beginner at anything comes with feelings of awkwardness, but it is always beneficial to push past these emotions and talk to those who are experienced.

This also goes for surfing; even though it may be difficult to strike up a conversation with other surfers on land and in the water.

Getting to know your fellow surfers has benefits beyond simply making friends – you will also garner useful tips and tricks.

Furthermore, it makes it harder for other surfers to hate on you when they are familiar with you.

And although many surfers use surfing as a time to disconnect from the outside world and connect with nature, that doesn’t mean you should not be nice.

When you enter a surf lineup and greet the other surfers, and engage in friendly conversation with them, you’re actually standing out from the crowd, while also showing that you are confident. Pretty much everyone loves confident people.

Hiding Your Surfing Level

Never try to act like someone or something you aren’t and that you know more than you do. Experienced surfers can see through that.

They won’t hate you, but they will defiantly not like you for it.

If you’re new to surfing, don’t be afraid to let people around you know. Other surfers may ignore you for that at first, but most surfers would rather help beginners so that they don’t make mistakes and cause problems for everyone else.

If you’re unsure about something – ask. Don’t be afraid. The best way to learn is by asking someone that knows better than you.

We were all beginners once and most experienced surfers will be happy to help. Furthermore, they can give you helpful tips on how to troubleshoot recurring problems.

Additionally, experienced surfers will share what things bother them most about inexperienced surfers. Put the ego aside, it’s beneficial for both of you.

Disrespecting The Locals

If you are surfing in a foreign country or different state, it is important to respect the locals. This means following their rules and not doing anything that would disrupt their way of surfing.

For example, if the locals tell you not to surf in a certain area, even if it sounds absurd, it’s better to stay away from conflict.

If you don’t, you will quickly become known as a kook and will be disrespected by both the locals and other surfers. You don’t want this to happen especially since some locals can be territorial.

Paddling In Front Of Other Surfers

This is perhaps the most common mistake that beginner surfers make. When paddling out to catch a wave, they will often paddle right in front of another surfer who is already riding the wave.

When paddling out to catch a wave, beginners will often cut across other surfers’ paths. This is extremely dangerous as it can cause collisions and injuries. Definitely, a reason for other surfers to hate beginners.

This not only disrupts the flow of the wave but is also considered very rude and disrespectful. If you are caught doing this might get you some angry looks (or worse) from the other surfers.

Never try to paddle through the lineup; it’s dangerous for both you and the other surfers. Paddle around the break so that you don’t go through the highest point of waves. This will be easier to get back on the lineup either.

Dropping In On Other Surfers

Dropping in on another surfer is one of the biggest no-no’s in surfing. When you drop in, you are essentially stealing someone else’s wave.

If someone catches a wave and you are paddling into them, then this is considered a major offense and you will be hated.

Instead, understand the rules of surfing. The most important one is that when a surfer is deeper in the ocean and has the potential for the longest ride – he has the first right to ride the wave.

Getting In The Way of Other Surfers

Experienced surfers who frequently need to avoid beginner surfers who cannot control their boards, are very unpleasant.

To avoid being hated by other surfers, try mastering duck diving, paddling quickly and strongly, understanding how waves work, and knowing where to paddle out.

These skills will help you stay out of the way of others and not interfere with them. Don’t be that guy that everyone needs to take extra care to avoid.

Forgetting About Your Board

When you’re surfing, always keep your board with you, whether you’re paddling out or falling off a wave. Never throw it away or forget about it. Make sure you know where it is and don’t it just float.

It can be tempting, especially when the waves are bigger, to duck dive underneath the water and throw away your board.

As it can be an acceptable move, it is also a very dangerous move when people are around you.

Your surfboard with the power of the waves can be a hard weapon that might hit other surfers and injure them.

It’s not very expectable to find someone’s else board just hit your head, but yet another reason for surfers to hate on you.

Remember that your board is part of you, so it’s your responsibility to take care of it at all times.

If the waves make you uneasy, stay on land.

If you do choose to surf, be mindful of others and act respectfully. Others will do the same.

Pass On The Legacy

If you are no longer a beginner or if you see someone else make a mistake, instead of shouting, yelling, or getting angry at them, try to embrace the aloha vibes – stay calm and help them out.

If you see someone struggling, give them some tips or just show them by surfing next to them.

They will definitely appreciate it and most definitely will stop doing the things that make everyone hate them. They didn’t know they were doing wrong in the first place.

Providing constructive criticism gives someone the chance to learn from their mistakes and become better.

It can be irritating, but keep in mind that everyone had to learn once and made the same errors as the surfer who is now frustrating you.

The more beginners learn from those with experience, the fewer accidents will happen on the water.


By understanding these beginner’s mistakes, you’ll be able to reduce the chance of having conflicts in the water and fewer surfers that will potentially hate on you.

The conclusion is that the surfing world can sometimes be confusing and complex. On one hand, it’s relaxing, carefree and the perfect activity to enjoy the waves and the sun.

On the other hand, it can be aggressive, with a lot of rules and etiquette that need to be followed.

But it might be just the magic of it. It is a full book of adventure, a combination of danger and beauty, just like in real life.

So, if you really want to surf – don’t let the haters stop you. Embrace the aloha spirit, be respectful and act accordingly and soon enough, you will make friends for life.

Who knows, maybe one day you will even become one of those who pass on the legacy to beginners.

Be respectful of others, understanding that they also want to have a good time. If everyone follows these simple tips, surfing will be more enjoyable for everyone involved.