And so it rears its ugly head again. The topic of VIOLENCE IN SURFING is once again in the mainstream press, this time courtesy of an article in the Good Weekend. There’s even talk of cops regulating lineups and licenses being required to operate surfboards. In my mind that equals a massive win for KOOKS. Because, y’see, it’s really not that hard to avoid getting punched in the head. Anyone who knows a bit about surf history and culture, who’s travelled a bit, and who enjoys the sport for what it’s worth ( i.e freedom) knows that violence, while part of the culture, is only around if you go looking for it. Follow these simple steps and we guarantee you’ll never end up on the wrong end of right hand ever again.
1. Just because it was an accident doesn’t make it okay
Dropping in is the cardinal sin and just because it was an accident doesn’t make it okay. In surfing there are very few accidents. Every act is the result of a decision you made, and if that decision was to not check your inside the second before you took off and it resulted in the burning of some poor bastid, then you owe that woman or man a sincere, face-to-face, heartfelt apology. Unless of course you meant to do it, in which case we’ll get to that. The same applies if you run someone over. It’s not an accident. You mightn’t have meant it but that is of little solace to the guy whose got your fin wedged in his skull. So best not to put people at risk for the sake of a wave or a turn. If you do, then be ready to deal with the consequences.
2. The world is not fair, and neither is surfing.
Drop all that bullshit about the waves belonging to everyone. That’s kook talk. Surfing has a tonne of rules and if you choose to ignore them, you choose to run the risk of getting punched in the head. Put simply, surfing is best understood as belonging to those who are the most skilled at it. They get a bit more leeway in terms of the amount of waves they can catch and they’re also often the start point of the pecking order. They are not above the game, however, even know sometimes they think they are. Skill plays a huge part in deciding who gets which waves, the kind of waves and set ups you should be surfing, and how you’re going to be treated at those locations. One of the biggest challenges surfing faces is its lack of formal rules or regulations. Instead it is left up to the individual to decide what their skill level is and which waves they are suitable to surf. Humans are notoriously bad at being honest with themselves, however, and it’s for this reason the threat of humiliation, intimidation and, as a last resort, violence, is sometimes necessary. What else have we got?
3. Localism: It’s a thing. It’s always been a thing.
Getting hassled by gangs of affluent white men is never fun. And it doesn’t really get better regardless the colour, creed or incredibly bad body odour (BBO) of the local crew in question. You must realise, however, that they’re behaving this way because they feel like they have something to protect. And that’s understandable in some ways. What I’ve also observed, however, is that while you might be able to protect your own spot, protecting your car, with its beach-identifying stickers on it, when you try and surf somewhere else is much harder. So enjoy your spot, fools. If you’re not a local it’s probably best to lower your expectations when it comes to catching sets. Best bet is to give a couple away even though you’re in the spot, act humble, and hope ‘the boys’ respect your respect. If it’s a spot you plan on going back to, I wouldn’t compete too hard first time round.
4. Choose your battles
So you’ve just been burned on a set you waited 15 minutes for. The guy who did it don’t really surf that well, and he’s got tears of ink running down his face plus a giant swastika on his forehead. He also knows everyone in the lineup. What do you do? Easy. You do nothing. Simply join the queue again, keep smiling, keep vibing, and wait for another bomb. Flagrant burns are often little more than a symbolic gesture to remind you of your place in the pecking order. It’s not ideal, but what is also true is that people don’t tend to want violence so if you’re a humble, quiet, chiseller and just keep putting yourself in the spot, eventually the morality of the crowd will bend your way and you’ll be treated fairly. Though there’s also the problem of these guys…
5. The Outliers
Humanity always has outliers but you can’t generalise off the back of their behaviour. For every bit of violence there area a million sessions that go down without incident, proving beyond any doubt that our strong sense of culture is all that we need to hold surfing together. The following people, however, really shouldn’t exist.
- The local, bitter, angry kook, whose thirst for violence and domination of the lineup stems from his inadequacy on a surfboard.
- Straight-up talkin-to-’emselves loonies who are tolerated for no other reason then because speaking out against them would bring their psychopathic thirst for vengeance your way.
- The unemployed-local-shredder-drug-dealer who surfs all day every day and has caught two waves in every set since the autumn of ’94.
Article Stolen From TRACKS MAG DOT COM