Surfing Etiquette 101
It's possible that if it's a weekday in Winter, or if you're just plain lucky, you might well get a good clean break to yourself in Malta but if there is anything other than an empty lineup, the same etiquette applies as it does anywhere else in Europe. To avoid tensions out back, it's best to abide by the (usually) unwritten rules. Rights of Way It's a rule everyone knows and yet, just like on the road, it still seems to happen worldwide. Don't drop in. Whoever is closest to the peak when taking a wave has right of way. If that's not you, sit back and wait for the next. If two of you are equally as close to the peak, communicate, shout 'left' or 'right' and stick to what you've said. First to their feet has priority in this instance. Keep it Leashed Yes, we know it's a pain when the surf is big but try to always keep your leash on. No-one wants the fin cut to the head that's inevitable if you can't keep hold of your board. Don't be 'That Guy' There's always one; snaking across the wave to reach the peak. No, technically you're not dropping in, but it's still not on! The Paddle Out Be sure to paddle wide so you're not impeding anyone else's wave. Avoid the peak wherever necessary. More importantly (especially when we're talking about surfing in Malta), keep an eye on the currents. Tides may not be important, but there are plenty of strong currents in play at several of the most popular breaks.
One Big Day at Ghallis Point
It may come less frequently than we'd like but, once in a while, the wind whips up in the right direction, the conditions are right, and the JohnSlots Surf Team and other members of Malta's small surfing community find themselves in the right place at the right time. Ghallis Point can create one heck of a wave and, located near Bahar ic-Caghaq- on the coastline between Sliema and St Pauls Bay, it's one spot that is easily accessible for most. In November a tropical storm, which had formed over the east of Tunisia, moved its way over to Malta late in the afternoon. For most, it was chaos- uprooted trees, demolished buildings and disruptions to power all across the island. But, once the worst of it was over, the swell arrived. Once word had spread, people began flocking from all over the island, boards on roofs, cameras in hand and getting their wetsuits on as quick as they could manage. But, for a brief period, it was just the JohnSlots surf team; sat in the car watching the most perfect sets roll in. The first ones in, we had the pick of the best waves and, though it was a relentless paddle out, it was worth every second. By far the best surf either of us had seen in Malta (so far, at least). The rest of the afternoon just merges into a blur but, needless to say, three hours later and the sun was going down to two very happy but exhausted guys. I think everyone slept pretty well that night.