There has been so much said about traveling surfers, and their legendary or disgraceful habits while staying with friends.

If you meet someone on the road, in the water, or while traveling, and that person invites you to come stay, there are a few basic rules that one should stick to, in order for the whole experience to be pleasant and comfortable for all. Despite the general hygiene guidelines (shower regularly, don’t wash your undies in the kitchen sink etc.), the whole exercise can be broken down into four fundamentals. Get these your right, and you’ll be welcomed back forever. 

Bring something, anything.

When you arrive at your mate’s house, no matter how close you are, or if you've only shared one session at Nias together, you’ve got to bring something with you. It doesn't matter what it is. It does not have to be expensive like a bottle of Johnny Walker, and it does not need to have sentimental value like a tie-dyed t-shirt from Byron Bay, it should just be totally practical. My last guest bought a large packet of avocado pears, a massive jar of honey, some sugar, and a bottle of average red wine. The wife was stoked with the wine, the kids climbed all over the honey, and I’m partial to some guacamole. Smiles all around. 

Do something, anything.

Take the dog for a walk, or play with the kids, or empty the trash or wash the dishes if your host has yet to discover the magic of the dishwashing machine. Just don’t spend your time at a guests’ house lying on the couch updating Instagram, burning through their data downloading music or moaning about your life. You might have a knack for making sick toasted sandwiches, or you might be a whizz at Eggs Benedict. You just need to get involved with the running of the house in some small way. It’ll hardly be noticed if you do, but it will be glaringly obvious and will piss people off if you don’t  

Don’t be a prick in the water…

If you’re a guest at someone’s house, you’re also a guest at that person’s local break, so you need to be cool in the water as well. If someone burns you, or acts like an idiot in the water, don’t lash out until you find out exactly whom the person is and what his or her backstory is. It might be your hosts’ best friend or it might be the local alpha male ready to clobber all outsiders. Best to speak to your mate after an altercation to just check if there is anything you need to know before holding your ground on a second transgression.

Don't be a prick on the piss…

If you’re a traveling surfer hanging out with a friend in his hometown, chances are you’re going to go for a drink or two at the local pub. This could lead on to a big night, as is prone to happen with surfers the world over. Remember that no matter how loose the night gets, you have to show a level of decorum throughout, because after a wild night, you have the opportunity to flee town the very next day while your host has no chance whatsoever. So don’t hit on any of the local girls unless you have checked that they’re not married to any of your hosts’ best friends, don’t trash talk any of the local bar-fly types – they might be legends – and don’t start fighting with anyone until you have their back story as well. Every little neighbourhood has an ocean of secrets and you’d be the fool to rush in if you haven’t taken the time to get a bit more acquainted with the scene.      

Stick to those four basic premises and you’ll be invited back again and again.