The topic that I have been dancing around and that inspires such high voltage discussions finally has a conclusion and it is a simple one.
You may be surprised to learn that my epiphany to a long sought question of localism and the wrongs and rights of the matter came while watching a video clip of Donald Trump. I know, weird right? I was watching it thinking, "This guy is a real wanker." Then I thought about the poor Americans (the sensible ones) having him as their head of state. Then I thought, I know quite a few Americans, and bar one, they are all super cool. That's what got me thinking.
It couldn't be simpler. There are assholes in this world, plain and simple. Perhaps it's a role that needs to be filled as does 'the class fool' or 'the bully', and this remains for ever, part of our need of contradiction. There has to be bad to appreciate good, pain to appreciate joy and so on. The same is true of the world of surf, the contradiction of the bliss of surfing with the bellend that makes up rules you must follow giving him more waves.
There are assholes peppered throughout life, the law of averages are that some of those assholes surf.
I put it to you that there are locals and tourists (or non locals) at any surf break in the world who could exist in harmony, the trick is to empathise with those in the water around you. Interact with the surfers that are sitting right next to you, it used to be that everyone in the water was sociable and would at the very least say hi, or acknowledge the others' presence. The secret is to acknowledge that there should not be a difference in attitude towards someone because of geographical lines between one's place of birth or geographical residence, and certainly no correlation between that and a pecking order for waves.
I have lived and surfed in many different countries in the world, both as a tourist and as a local (depending on your description of local) and there are all sorts of excuses people use for being selfish with regards to waves. They make up imaginary rules that mean they get more waves because of how long they have lived somewhere, or how close in km's or miles they live to a where the wave breaks. If you try and explain this to anyone who does not surf they would surely dismiss it as absolute lunacy.
Every coin has two sides, and the arguments have been made that the reason this megalomania exists is due to a need for it. I have to begrudgingly agree that I have also witnessed surf tourists either turning up 'en-mass' (in groups of 6 or more) and taking over a break when there are just two 'locals' out. They go out of their way to block people and work together to get more waves, it is more common than you think. It's not just groups of tourists but single guys or girls who rock up to a spot that could be harmonious (everyone taking their turn) and just start taking too many waves for themselves, paddling round people and dropping in.
So my realisation is that all these people are just the assholes of life. They are the Donald Trumps of the surf world, they are our cross to bear. My claim was to have a solution to accompany this realisation, a map trough this miasmic quagmire of a topic, well I have, of sorts:
1. Talk to people that are in the water, even a nod or a hello, then you see them as people, it's the first step to displaying empathy and respecting their need for waves, their addiction. Who knows you could even get talking and agree on stuff, like Donald Trump being a huge cock.
2. Call at least one person you don't know into a good wave. This is all about taking that empathy to a new level and acting on it, showing the others in the water that you care about their waves, it's infectious and before you know it everyone will be hooting and calling each other into waves. This actually works in most cases.
3. When checking a spot, watch carefully and see if there are any waves going spare and how many, if there are then that's how many people can get in. That way there will always be enough waves for those surfing there.Think of it as a nightclub that is full with a 'one in one out' policy. Having more surfers than waves and the session will quickly degenerate into frustration and words.
4. (more of a suggestion) If you got up late and the spots are all full then why not take some swim fins and do some bodysurfing on the inside, it may not be surfing on a board, but it still puts you out there picking off the closeouts that no one else wants or just surfing the little insiders. As we are very aware there is nothing worse than not getting in, but don't make others pay because you got up late.
To summarise, I will use an old saying my mum used to say over and over to my brother and myself growing up (and it feels weird to be quoting it in a surf mag) but here it is: 'treat others as you wish to be treated'. You can apply this to all walks of life I guess and its a saying that everyone can live by.
There you have it. I owe my gratitude to Donald the Trump for his inspiration in concluding this volatile subject. It also goes to show that everyone has their uses in life, even if it is being a bellend.