How to Deal With Localism at Surf Spots [or on ... well, you know]
Unfortunately, localism plagues many of the world's best surf spots. Understanding what it is and why it exists can help you avoid any unnecessary trouble.
Avoid surfing new breaks alone, especially if it is a popular break.
I wandered in, following someone with a dubious reputation. I was in an unfamiliar place, with in familiar characters. Fortunately, I was “sponsored” by someone with more concrete connections. When the former was ostracized, the latter took me under her wing. That bought me some air-cover, as she was “untouchable”
Realize that localism is a result of overcrowding. Therefore, the more crowded a break is, the more tension there is likely to be in the water. Because locals feel at home at the break and feel invaded by unfamiliar faces, they sometimes react in a negative manner to newcomers.
Especially if they have a couple years of history together; you are the FNG until the next FNG comes by
Realize also that surfing is a traveling sport, and nobody is meant to surf only those waves closest to home. You have just as much right to surf a wave at someone else's local break as that person has to surf the waves near your house.
Eventually, you’re going to get invited to a “meet-up” which is cool, because you get to actually see and touch and interact people who were previously 1s and 0s; heaven forbid you can’t make it though; or you miss a connection. Midnight Madness was my “debut” and worked out very well. Thankfully, I made some strong friendships that will carry on past this crisis
Watch the other surfers. If only a few people seem to be taking most of the waves, those people are most likely locals, familiar with the wave.
Simply: Beware Chatterboxes; they will steer the conversation as they see fit
Mark the surfers who seem like troublemakers and egomaniacs. These surfers usually make a lot of noise, bitching about the crowd or pouting about their wave. They usually talk loud to other locals to let non-locals know how "in" they are.
Give these arrogant surfers a little extra space. Don't drop in on their wave or paddle around them for the peak. Wait for them to take a wave, and then move to the peak position.
Plus above, needs no further comment
Be respectful, and concentrate on your surfing.
Remain calm if someone tries to come at you with irrational anger. Apologize if you did something wrong, but don't be a coward. Explain that you are only interested in surfing.
As I said, I gave total respect for those who trained with their calendars, schedules, gadgets and coaches, and so on. I even mocked myself as being a goofball, Zen-Core dork and NEVER tried to change anyone’s mind about how to train, what to strive for, how to challenge oneself … I do what works for me, and would never say to someone “I’m a purist! I run for fun! You’re missing the point!” If you know me, you know that I will duck, dodge, dive and bend, to avoid conflict. I am bamboo.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” - Bruce Lee
Take your next wave in, and call it a day if the vibe in the water begins to feel overly hostile.
“I’m outta here” Their loss. I will still keep in touch with those closest to me, but not there. That beach is spoiled.
No problem for me. I think I found someplace more deserving my attention
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