How does wave priority work in surfing?

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How can you tell when a surfer has right of way over another wave rider? What is priority in surfing?

Surfing is the sport of catching waves before they break. As a result, surfers need to position themselves in the lineup so that they can catch the rollers in the right spot, i.e., where they start to break.

Every wave breaks to the right or left and, like in any civilized street system, there are rules for each player. However, the ocean has no police power or ticketing systems.

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