Burning a backpaddler

Chilly Willy

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2004
2,758
3,622
USA New Jersey
Ugh -- here we go with yet another priority/enforcement thread. Today's dawn patrol was a bit of a stoke-sucker. Shortboarder paddles out and sits inside of me, but he's farther out on the shoulder. A wave comes in and we both paddle for it. Priority is mine at this point (plus I had been patiently waiting a while and he just paddled back out), but he paddles around me so that he's now in position over me. Classic case of backpaddling. I stubbornly go anyway and burn him. As I paddle back out, he says, "What was that all about?!" I told him that he paddled around me, which he disputed as preposterous and said the person on the inside always has priority. Okay, fine, I really could have sworn you were sitting over there two seconds ago. Sorry, you get the next wave then.

I have to admit, I kind of wish I just shrugged it off and let him go. I shouldn't have burned. Or maybe at least wait for the second or third infraction before acting. I ended up feeling like the turd in the punchbowl that brought down everyone else's session (even though I don't know how many people actually saw/heard the exchange). It just sent my energy in the wrong direction, or maybe my energy was already in the wrong direction and I didn't realize it? Either way, regrettable. And the waves weren't even really that stellar to get grumpy over it. (End of surfing confessional.)

How do you guys handle that kind of thing and not feel awkward about it afterwards?
 

Driftwood

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2014
1,630
1,591
France
I understand how you feel, and negative energy when surfing is just a bummer, but...

I certainly don't thing you're in the wrong here. Backpaddling is so common and just low-down - ruining decent rotation in the lineup and keeping everyone on edge. Maybe in an ideal world waiting for it to happen again to make sure it wasn't some weird kind of honest mistake would have been nice. I sure wouldn't lose any sleep over this one though, especially seeing his reaction and denial.

Backpaddlers, like those who take off behind you and then holler for priority because they were deeper, always make me think of those who search for little technicalities and loopholes to burn others. Technically maybe justifiable but morally way off.

You did just fine.
 

Skegg

Well-Known Member
Oct 7, 2021
188
348
Maine
I have to agree. Those who routinely backpaddle know exactly what they're doing. Reading the circumstances can be tricky. It's not always easy to tell a backpaddle from a reposition, and I don't condone routine burning, but consistent backpaddling is easy to spot and it tends to come with a bad attitude well on display.

Yes, a conversation is better. Yes, providing a second chance is good practice. Yes, the dude had it coming. Had a situation like this last weekend, guy back paddled me again and again. I let him go on one, but I took the next one. He threw a fit and whined about it a bunch but also stopped backpaddling me. Didn't talk to him, didn't need to, he knew what he was doing. If you don't give respect you cannot expect to be respected.
 
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Human

Well-Known Member
Nov 20, 2016
360
660
Oceanside
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This is a daily occurrence in Southern California. Sometimes you've just gotta choose your battles.
 

Surfertom

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2004
533
323
Hermosa Beach, California
. . . It just sent my energy in the wrong direction, or maybe my energy was already in the wrong direction and I didn't realize it? Either way, regrettable. And the waves weren't even really that stellar to get grumpy over it. (End of surfing confessional.)

How do you guys handle that kind of thing and not feel awkward about it afterwards?

I get in the same place you did when it happens. Glad I stood up for myself, at the same time doubting my timing, should I have seen if it was more than once. This shit leaves me in a downer for a while after. I love his denial. Yup, seen that too.

Hang in there.

ST
 




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