How to respond to aggro localism at a crowded point break.
It’s been a little hectic out in the water these last few weeks with the east coast points lighting up and the WSL in town. Most days, an adherence to surf etiquette holds back complete chaos. Other days it doesn’t. Frustrations build, tempers flare and, very occasionally, fists fly. For locals, it means dealing with an invasion of tourists when the waves finally get good. For travellers it can mean driving eight hours to surf a dream wave only to be burnt by a gap-toothed local who explains: “I fucking live here cunt.”
How to respond? Some suggestions…
The Educator. Perfect for teachers, parents, soccer coaches, clubbies and the interfering elderly. Deliver with a scolding tone and a booming, across-the-lineup pitch. “Just because you live here doesn’t mean you can drop in. You’ve let yourself down, you’ve let your town down and you’ve given localism a bad name. Come back here young fellow – I haven’t finished. You should be able to get waves without burning. Shame, shame, shame.”
The Pacifist Philosopher. Great for folks who see conflict as a way to improve themselves and the world. Channel Nelson Mandela or, better still, quote him directly. “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Attribute that shit. Then go in for a hug.
The Sarcastic. Unready or unable to go to war, The Sarcastic wields irony like a broadsword. The delivery here is all ironic sunshine and rainbows. “So sorry for getting in the way. I am a such vagina like you say. And you were born right here? Did you have dolphins for mid-wives? Are you a Merman? Did David Attenborough document it? Tell me more.”
The Bullshit Artist. Significant age gap required, facial scars helpful. The tone is cheerful but distinctly menacing. “You’re a local are ya? Born and bred here myself. Haven’t been around for a while. Been in prison. Hey, was your old girl hanging around the pub in the 90s? Pretty sure I’m your dad.”
The Shadow Boxer. A last resort. The aim here is to avoid violence by suggesting its imminence. Your testing a nuclear bomb to show you have one. If you do include a threat be specific, realistic and succinct. “Do that again and I’ll punch you in the nose,” might work. Or it might get you belted.
Choose wisely. And remember: fighting over waves is incredibly lame and never worth it.