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right of way RIGHT OF WAY RULES
FOR KAYAK SURFERS

Adapted by Mike Francisco & Revised by Tom Holtey

From an article originally adapted by Mike Francisco, from Surf Ski Quarterly vol. 2 no. 4 authored by Robert Saunders. Edited & reprinted with permission of Scott Eaton, President of Paddlesurfers International and official spokesman for SOSKA.


A SURFER WHO FIRST CATCHES OR RIDES ONTO AN UNBROKEN SECTION OR WAVE HAS RIGHT OF WAY ON THAT UNBROKEN SECTION

1.A wave that is partially broken or just starting to break should be considered to be unbroken for the purpose of these rules.

2. Usually when more than one surfer attempts to catch a wave at the same time, the one closest to the point where the wave first breaks (the critical point) will catch it first and have right of way.

3. Once a surfer has caught a wave, another surfer may not paddle inside and take-off in a more critical section.

4. The point when a surfer can be considered to have caught a wave is when he/she stops paddling, kicking, or stroking and continues to move down or along the wave under force of gravity.

A SURFER HAS NO RIGHT OF WAY IF TAKING-OFF IN A COMPLETELY BROKEN SECTION OF WAVE

5. If a surfer can ride from a completely broken section to a unbroken section that is not already being ridden, they will then be entitled to right of way.

A SURFER RIDING A COMPLETELY BROKEN WAVE SECTION SUCH THAT PROGRESS TOWARD THE SHOULDER HAS CEASED, HAS NO ENTITLEMENT TO ANY UNBROKEN PART OF THE WAVE.

6. A surfer can gain right of way if able to ride out of the white water onto a unoccupied, unbroken wave section.

A SURFER TAKING-OFF ON ONE SIDE OF A PEAK HAS NO RIGHT OF WAY OVER A SURFER WHO HAS ALREADY CAUGHT OR IS RIDING THE OTHER SHOULDER.

7. This means a surfer cannot cross under the peak to the opposite shoulder if it is already occupied.

A WAVE RIDER MUST AVOID ALL OTHER SWIMMERS OR SURFERS WHO ARE EITHER STATIONARY OR PADDLING OUT

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Those paddling out must make a concerted effort to avoid interfering with the wave rider. This may mean heading straight into the broken section. Don't try to race over the shoulder unless you wish to become a shish-kebob!

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Originally published online by the San Onofre Surf Kayak Association. Reprinted with permission of Scott Eaton, President of Paddlesurfers International and official spokesman for SOSKA.

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