Surfing is one big happy, chilled out vibe. It's all about getting the most amount of fun in this nature-assisted past-time. It's free if you have a board, a suit and some wax. Surfers are laid back and relaxed individuals. Errr, well it turns out that not all stereotypes are true, go figure.
Localism makes my arse twitch. It really does, there is no excuse for it anywhere in the world and I don't care what argument you use to pretend that it's okay. Anyone who practices bullying based on geographic location can suck eggs. (Not sure what that actually means but it sounds good) I realise that there are those who have been swallowing this locals' tripe for so long that they believe it to be true. You know that saying "If you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth." In my humble opinion, this can be the only way that normally rational and logical individuals can spout such utter poop.
Why bring this subject up again? One I know that does no good to discuss, as people will not be moved one way or the other. It is due to a shift in the tectonic plates of surfers, something I have been noticing for a while now. That localism is on the up and not among those you might expect but instead, the groms and kids. Worrying, right?
So the world is becoming more crowded, surfing is booming, surf camps are everywhere and there is less space for everyone in the water. This is the world that we live in, we have to accept it. To try and go against this fact is futile, it's like trying to turn back time or win the lottery the first time you play it. It will make no difference how hard you try, it just won't make any difference. Let us take that as red, shall we?
My own views on this are just so, but upon raising this sticky subject with a number of my surfing amigos I got a very mixed picture. It turns out we are not all on the same page with this. I might just add, at this point that by 'amigos' I mean rational, logical people who I choose to spend time with, I surf with and I count as, well, friends. I found myself in an unbelievable, almost paradoxical conversation in which I seemed to be the only voice of reason.
What had sparked all this off was an incident that had happened in one of the car parks of a not too hard to find 'secret' or 'locals' wave. (May I just add that there is nothing to tell anyone not to surf here who isn't a local). On the day in question there, the waves were fun size, and while not being a beginner friendly wave, it was far from life-threatening. Some beginners who just happened to be foreigners paddled out and started surfing, got smashed and while not meaning to might have got in the way of some of the other guys surfing. Some words were said and all was cool. Upon getting out of the water, they found that all their tyres had been slashed on their car. They were not too pleased and had to call the tow truck, but while waiting they walked around accusing some of the local guys surfing of doing the slashing, which obviously annoyed a few of them, some more words were said and the whole thing teetered on the edge of something nasty. Fortunately, sanity prevailed, the 'peacemaker' role was filled and no permanent damage was done. After some asking around and a little investigation, it turned out that it was the groms of a local (who were not even surfing that day) that thought they were doing the right thing. They had overheard their dad saying something about locals and tourists and, well, what can I say, kids are what you make them and boys (as these were) just want to impress their dads.
The fact is groms and kids look up to the older surfers or parents and glean bits of information and opinions from them. They don't know why they think that way, but just as in any other facet of life, they emulate those they respect and look up to. We, as adults and surfers have a responsibility. I myself have a couple of boys and try to teach them the same manners my dear old mum instilled in me out of the water, so why should it stop there? Sharing, being polite, helping others are all things we should practice on dry land and in wet sea.
It might be too late for my generation, who knew the waves to be more empty and surfing a little less complicated, but let us leave it there and not pass on this oh so complicated and sticky trait, it does not have to be hereditary. There is no healing for us but there is hope for the kids if we show them the right way.
And as all stories should have a moral, it turns out that the beginners in my above story got their tyres replaced and turned up again at the same spot to surf undeterred and full of the love for waves and learning.
As a wise man once said, "You can't stop change, it is the only constant."