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Localism


April 26, 2010 | Words By: Chris S

the-wreck-byron-smallI’m a fairly fortunate surfer – I’ve very rarely encountered localism and even when I have, it’s been pretty mild and mainly down to people being ignorant of the unwritten code of surfing.

I’m hoping that’s because when I’m in the water I’m pretty laid back. I never snake. I only ever drop in by accident – and I’ll always pull out and apologise. I’ll always give a local priority. I try to be nice and chat to people in between sets.

I’ve hit some pretty crowded and localised breaks during my travels – and indeed at home – and I’ve never really had any bad vibes in the water. Until today, when some obnoxious local decided to be a right dickhead and ruined my session.

I’d gone for a mid-morning surf at The Wreck in Byron – the waves were pretty small compared with the last few days (it’s been pumping) but there were some nice sets rolling through and a lot of them were clearly lefts – stoked.

the-wreck-byronI paddled out no worries, avoiding the dumping sandbank, and set myself up among the small group already out – mainly longboarders but with a few smaller sticks out there too. I sat there for a while waiting for the pack to rotate and picked a nice wave rolling in as my first.

I was sat quite far out and was clearly paddling early and going to peel left.

Then some freaking local dude snaked right in as I was  mid-pop. The next thing I know, he’s peeled right and collided with my board!

Him peeling right caught me well off-guard – the right-hand side of the Wreck contains all manner of twisted metal and nasty stuff, so it’s only really a right at high tide.

We both decked it, and on surfacing I did some damage control (despite him being in the wrong). I apologised and expected him to say “no worries” and us both to paddle back out and get on with our session, simply writing off that wave. I guessed it was an honest mistake, the result of a lack of communication.

Not likely.

This guy squared right up to me and started mouthing off – then started pushing me around.

WTF?!

HE snaked me.

HE collided with me.

No boards were dinged, and no-one was hurt. So what the hell was his deal?!

And on top of that he decided to go one further – telling me that he was going to be on my back all session and “making sure I didn’t get another wave”.

Jesus Christ – what sort of vibe is that?!

the-wreck-byron-2So I thought sod it. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with people being like that today and got out and moved to a different spot. But it’s still puzzling me now. Why, on a moderate day, with only a small pack out, would anyone get that worked up?

Chill the fuck out!

Let’s not forget why we surf – it’s our passion. Somewhere along the way, a minority of surfers forgot that. They forgot that we’re all in the same ocean; forgot that there’s plenty of waves; forgot the very basis on which surf culture is founded – laid-back people enjoying and harnessing nature to have fun.

Let’s not lose that vibe, people.

Keep the stoke.

Be forgiving.

…I’m sure karma will get that dickhead surfer though. Sweet, sweet karma!

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4 Comments


  1. I agree, this is a great post, and you’ve got an absolute solid point there. :)

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  2. some folks just seem to be assholes in spite of them self’s. this guys was soooo wrong. i’m sorry that your session was stressed, it happens and he will get his in time. i suppose he thought he was the local enforcer, instead of the local kuk…..

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  3. I hate localisim says:

    A gun on the beach in your towel cures localism

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  4. I had a similar experience today at Suffolk. This guy was red in the face, spitting everywhere.. I have seen it more in Byron that most beaches in Sydney, why? I’m just stoked to be surfing in this epic place, if someone snakes me fuck it, i’ll get the next wave! In my experience it’s always the guy that thinks he better than he is that blows up at anything that works against him getting every wave. Localism is a hoax, every surfer dreams of traveling right? It’s all good when these red neck pricks flick over to Bali and call that there local also… Who gives a shit where you’re from, just enjoy the water and respect your fellow board riders!

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  5. I had localism first hand today at Maroochydore, this one old guy kept hassling and snaking on every single set wave..he wasnt even a great surfer? I don't get it.. I just paddled away to another break. the surf was shit anyway… I could have smashed him and been up far assault charges but..in the end I just paddled away.. I actually felt a bit sorry for him. He must have a shit life to fight over 2ft waves?

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