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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Localism: Carved in Stone

On a recent visit to the Canary Islands I walked across the exposed lava reef and spotted a clear message carved into the rock "ONLY LOCAL". Surfers in the Canaries are known worldwide for being some of the most fiercely protective of their surf spots, so the carving didnt come as a surprise but it made me think about the issue.

Over recent years surfing has seen a growth explosion with well know surf breaks becoming swarmed with "surfers" wanting to be a part of the scene. Combine this with cheap air travel and the natural desire of surfers to explore we have a level of crowding that reaches saturation point at some spots. So its easy to see why localism can develop- we devote years surfing and getting to know and love our local breaks so if it gets crowded with kooks or inconsiderate surfers friction is going to occur.

Localism takes many forms from verbal exchanges in the line up, to waxing car windscreens, right through to violence to keep intruders away, but is this the way to go? Although conflict is understandable, all surfers travel and surf away from home, so at times, all of us fall into the "non-local" category so the way forward is to show respect when surfing away from your regular break. If we don't hog waves, dont turn up on mass, dont drop in and sit on the shoulder a while and pick a few waves off the vibe should remain a friendly one.

Perhaps its too late at some spots, but post us your comments as it'd be interesting to hear others opinions


Anonymous said...

I agree with this post. As long as there is proper surfing edict I think people can surf wherever they want. Be at home at your favorite spot, or away at your next favorite spot.

Chris. said...

Travel is one of the most fundamental things to do as a surfer.

A good 'local' keeps their eye out for drop-ins and agro. Surfing needs to be self-policed otherwise lawsuits and all that bullshit will be come the norm. Their is a line however and a 'locals only' policy runs against the grain and nature of surfing.

Interesting read here....

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