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Article: Tahiti Surf Trip Etiquette: Tripping Atolls

Tahiti Surf Trip Etiquette: Tripping Atolls

Tahiti Surf Trip Etiquette: Tripping Atolls

Surfer under a wave over the coral reef

In the Surf

Smile and Say Hello : Before you catch your first wave, always paddle up to every surfer in the lineup (don’t rush over, though) and say hello/shake hands. This is customary around Tahiti and, really, a good practice of respect anywhere

Wait, What’s “Hello?”: You could say “Bonjour,” but Ia Orana (Ee-yoh Rah-nah), basically, “Aloha,” is even better. Learn it. Live it.

You Don’t Have Priority: Ease in to the lineup. Don’t rush to be in position, just because it’s firing. Let a couple set waves go to the locals, even if you happen to be deeper, and the act of generosity will 100% be returned

Be Patient: Swell a little lully at the moment? That’s because some of them travel 10,000 miles to get there. Wait on it, a push or pull in tide through the reef pass (and shift in wind) could make all the difference…and often does

Peace Offerings: Leave an extra board, leashes, boardshorts, or surf wax with the locals before you leave. It’s hard, if not impossible, for some of them to get any gear out on some of the farther atolls

Men in Grey Suits: See a shark? Don’t freak out. There’s tons of reef sharks around, most are not interested in you

Surfer in Tahiti with clouds
Jeff Johnson on a boat wearing a Roark boadshort.

On Board

Don’t Be a Stinker: Keep the bathroom doors closed so you don’t stink up the cabins. If ya can…go No. 2 in the sea.

East Last: Yeah, we know you’re hungry, so is everyone else. But rushing to fill your plate first is just bad form. Also, make sure there’s always enough chow for the crew

Beer Runs: If you think you’re running low on Hinanos….you’re already out. Have cash on hand ready to make a beer run across the lagoon to the nearest market

Hear No Evil: Ear plugs can help to fight sea sickness, (and pesky snorers), have some handy

Stay Hydrated: Not only on Hinanos, but, like, with water-water. Liquid IV powders help, too, for those 8-hr sesh days

Keep It Clean: The reef is alive, sharp and shallow out there. Bring a first aid kit for that

Eagle Eye: Bring binos or a monocular to spot mysto slabs off distant reef passes

Sunscreen: Always. Have a bunch and reapply often, especially to those spots (back of the legs and neck) you might normally miss

Surfer taking care of his surfboard
Diver in Tahiti