Usually for a newbie surfer, the first 1 to 3 years is just trying to learn the basics and stay out of the way of other surfers. But how do you know where to be or which way to go if you don't understand the ocean ?
If a surfer is coming at you, it might be better to go to his/her PAST not to his/her FUTURE. In other words, go to where they're been not to where they're going. ( and if you going to ride a shortboard, be able to duck dive properly. If you can't duck dive, YOU shouldn't be riding a shortboard )
It is the person on the shoulder responsibility to move out of the way of the rider already on the wave or inside of you. Don't just sit there......... MOVE !!
Making a rider change his path to avoid hitting you is wrong.
Sometimes an advanced surfer can make it around one person in the way. But getting around two or three people in a small area is difficult. Try not to bunch up.
Here I am about to come off a bottom turn and driving up the face. The person in front just sat up on his board, he didn't paddle forward.
Forcing me to straighten out to avoid getting hit by his the tail of his board as his board flattens out on the back side of the wave.
Newbies and Beginners need to learn about the ocean and waves, they need to learn how surfers trim across the waves face and not only go straight in to the beach. If not, how can you stay out of the way if you don't know which way is what ?
If your surf instructor tells you "just paddle for the wave, the good surfer will go around you", then it's time to find a new surf instructor.
If you do get in someones way, make sure to say "Sorry" and learn better where to be and what to do if the situation happens again. ( and if you do cause a collision , offer to pay for any damages )
please check out http://starb.on.coocan.jp/daily/daily0.html to see more.