Ten rules of surfing

Local dudes and dudettes on the do's and don'ts of hanging ten.

Matt Schwartz


Adam Nelson

Do: Carry your board on the subway
"Carrying a board is better than owning a dog," insists Adam Nelson, CEO of Workhouse Publicity. "It gives you instant recognition, it projects wanderlust and can be used to defend yourself against subway crime."

Don't: Let anyone borrow your board
"I let my boyfriend borrow my beautiful new board and he came out of the water with a huge chunk missing after a newbie ran into him," says Winnie Beattie, president of Siren PR. "The worst part is my boyfriend is a much better surfer than I am, so no one will believe that this is his fault. People just assume I ran into a rock."

Don't: Be modest
"Some towns have ordinances against changing out of your suit in public—even if you're wrapped in a towel—but I just do it anyway," says Old Soul surfboard maker Joe Freeman. "I don't think it's really a big deal and it's easier than changing in your car."

Joe Freeman

Do: Look on the bright side of things
"When I fall a lot I'll start to get bummed out on myself," says photographer Matt Schwartz, of She Hit Pause Studios. "But then I realize that it's a Thursday afternoon and I'm in the ocean on a beautiful day. It's a tough sport but at least I'm not chained to a desk."

Don't: Turn your surfboard into a billboard
"I recently saw a bright yellow board created by the Bic lighter company," says Nelson. "I'm still on the fence as to whether that's good or bad or just ugly."

Don't: Make your board look ghetto
"I've seen homemade graffiti that's looked pretty bad," says Schwartz. "When I was in California I saw some gang stuff scribbled on boards, or people would just write things on with a Sharpie."

Do: Pee in your wet suit
It's not a myth. Everyone we asked admitted to doing it—without even the slightest hesitation.

Winnie Beattie

Do: Be prepared to drink some water
"There have been days that are nonstop wipeouts," Schwartz says. "One day in particular, I probably swallowed ten gallons of water."

Don't: Be afraid of a little blood
"Exotic locales have reefs that can cut you," says Freeman. "I was in Indonesia for a while and I got cut a lot. It hurts taking care of the wound because you have to brush it with, like, a toothbrush to get all the reef out or else it will get really infected. You just gotta suck it up."

Don't: Get into a fight
"Dropping in on another surfer is the cardinal rule of what you shouldn't do, and that's when people start getting into fistfights in the water," warns Freeman. "I've seen it happen plenty of times."