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I've been wanting to talk about this for a long time and I want to give my opinion about this surfing phenomenon called "localism".
We've all suffered localism in some way when we've been to beaches that are not our normal spot: the typical local that stands on the peak wave after wave without respecting the turns, who shouts if some clueless person even thinks of paddling the same wave, bad faces or loud comments in the water, etc... you know what I mean and surely some example comes to your mind.
Is this a justifiable attitude and does localism really contribute something to surfing? This is my opinion of how a good local should be and behave:
Good localism orders people at the peak with exemplarity, teaches respect and priorities. A good local motivates the beginner to catch more waves, to lose fear, to get in the right way and to understand the surf culture.
Bad localism, selfish and unpleasant, does not teach by example and does not contribute anything, neither to anyone nor to surfing in general. It creates bad vibes in the water, discourages the learner, leaves no room for error and believes it has more rights than those who come from outside.
It's not about arriving at a beach, being welcomed with open arms and being allowed to catch as many waves as you want. It's about when you arrive, you stand to one side, wait a bit, ask about the last wave or congratulate yourself for the tube or manoeuvre and little by little you let yourself go. Surfing is undoubtedly a sport of patience and it's not by surfing or trying to paddle out that you're going to make friends.
A good localism as I understand it, should as far as possible make you enjoy the waves and not spoil the session. If you make a mistake and apologise respectfully, the local has an obligation to leave it alone, not tell you to go to the shore, let alone shout at you or insult you. A good local will tell you to be careful next time, to look before you paddle, and then carry on.
Personally I know many locals who stand at the peak, catch 4 waves without respecting who was already in the water and leave. For me, a good local respects and makes himself respected, cleans his beach of rubbish and greets and is greeted when he enters.
It is also necessary to make an exercise of empathy and understand the position of the local who sees how every year more and more surf schools are created that attract thousands of people to try to surf and how year after year many people stay surfing on their beaches for long periods of time. It is understandable that they are a bit tense when the peaks become crowded as soon as the sea rises a little and when before off season there was no one left. It is worth noting that many of these local surfers are later teachers at the same surf schools, but we all understand that some of them want to surf in peace and quiet and not have anyone jumping their waves.
I would like to make special mention of the fact that a good local has the duty to clean his beach: I have rarely seen a "local" who, when he gets out of the water, picks up the plastic he finds on his way and who, after swimming, spends 10 minutes cleaning up his beach a bit. Some people call themselves locals, but they have only been lucky enough to be born next to the beach, but they don't take care of it and don't respect it.
Finally, a few tips: respect your surroundings, say hello when you enter, respect the priorities, clean what you can and enjoy the waves. You won't become a local, but you will be better than them.
Feel free to comment whatever you want.
Cheers and good waves,