Free for all in the lineup

Do the math. There are a limited number of really good waves that break in North County throughout the year. Most of those waves break at the premier surf spots: Cardiff Reef and Swami’s and the total probably doesn’t exceed a few thousand. Now, consider that there are many times more wave riders than there are good waves, many who consider these spots their home breaks and thousands more who travel from as far away as Texas, Florida and Japan to surf here. Add to that the countless campers and day-trippers, and you began to get the picture. If each of us had just one good wave per year (and we all want more than that) the wave deficit would still approach a number in the vicinity of the national debt. In short, there are not enough good waves to go around.
I suppose we could go to some sort of rationing program, where each surfer takes turns in the lineup, as the 40-plus riders sit and wait their turn between rides. That being unlikely, the wave goes to the surfer with the most paddle power.
Before you lift that poison pen, let me assure you that this is no longboard, SUP, or kayak bash, but a desperate plea for self-regulation in the lineup. One big problem in our time is that the old rule — the surfer closest to the curl gets the wave — does not apply when a surfer with a 10-foot board and a paddle can catch a wave while it’s still a swell and someone on sub-six flyers needs to wait until a wave is nearly breaking on them, before they can drop in. Everyone knows that quiet and sometimes not so quiet resentment is building in the surf community — so, what to do?
To my knowledge there are three options on the board: 1) An outright ban on the use of paddle vehicles from the surf. I don’t like this idea, since it seems like a restriction on the pursuit of happiness, requires outside enforcement and restricts the fun of an entire caste of wave riders.
2) Assign designated spots for paddle surfers. This one also has difficulties, since the out-of-the-way surf spots will be the spots designated for paddlers. This will turn overflow parking areas into standing-room-only surf spots, and put even more pressure on North County’s main breaks: Cardiff and Swami’s.
3) Any paddle-driven vehicle will be required to stay a certain number of feet away from non-paddle-driven vehicles. Works for me, but I don’t ride a paddle-driven vehicle.
None of the above solutions work for everybody, but something should be done before violence erupts in the lineup. My hope would be for a meeting between city and state officials, paddle proponents and those opposing their use. Rodney King’s famous question echoes in my head and hopefully it will be answered in the affirmative, once the spray clears. In the meantime, sharing waves with those on smaller surf craft will go a long ways toward mending hurt feelings.

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  1. down the line says:

    For sure, none of the solutions Chris outlined are going to work for everybody; still, one word in the last line of the article is somewhat of a synopsis of the overall problem: "sharing." Living and commenting from Maui, I am privy to the over-explosion of stand-up paddlers (some are friends of mine) in the line-ups all over the island. I do harbor animosity of sorts to the SUPS because of a strong lack of "sharing" with other water craft (I surf short, long, and all boards in between). In a recently-released book on "Auntie" Rell Sunn, she, in so many words, acknowledges that for every way you ride, you should give three away. I don’t see that happening here on Maui, nor at the North County breaks that I have surfed over the last few years.

  2. down the line says:

    For sure, none of the solutions Chris outlined are going to work for everybody; still, one word in the last line of the article is somewhat of a synopsis of the overall problem: "sharing." Living and commenting from Maui, I am privy to the over-explosion of stand-up paddlers (some are friends of mine) in the line-ups all over the island. I do harbor animosity of sorts to the SUPS because of a strong lack of "sharing" with other water craft (I surf short, long, and all boards in between). In a recently-released book on "Auntie" Rell Sunn, she, in so many words, acknowledges that for every WAVE you ride, you should give three away. I don’t see that happening here on Maui, nor at the North County breaks that I have surfed over the last few years.
    Read more: Coast News Group – Free for all in the lineup

  3. mayday86 says:

    i hate SUP’s they are usually very stupid or ignorant of their surroundings, here is the unwritten rule by which all REAL surfes should go by. Let yur surfig do the talking, just drop in on these clowns every chance you get, no words, no gestures need to be said, drop in and they will flop. Look no one with a paddle belongs anywhere near a break which is dominated with surfers, paddles give an unfair advantage. SUPs were meant to be for training purposes only, not for the lame ass who will never get real surfing.
    I am no brawler and a very decent chap, but injustice does get me going and nay SUP in alineup is taking his chances, anyone with any sense would realize that "hey I’m the only one with a broom out here". I sat and watched at rincon on a smaller day this SUP taking all the waves and all the good chaps in the water just leting him get away with it. I had enough, I dropped in on him, and made it very obvious that it was intentional without saying a word and made him flop. Guess what…he moved away. Brother we don’t need no stinking city or county officials making rules for us, just go back to the way things used to be and I mean if someone is stupid enough or b razen enough to mix in a lineup of surfers he is taking his chances and deserves what he gets

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