Locals Only: How Tough Is Our Surf Turf War?

Share your surf-side experiences.

Are local surfers good about sharing the waves? (Patch file photo)
Are local surfers good about sharing the waves? (Patch file photo)
Surf culture is a part of just about every Southern California beach town. And part of that culture often includes a "locals only" attitude resident surfers take in regards to "their" waves.

While waves may be endless, only so many surfers can ride each and regulars don't appreciate having to share with newcomers who may or may not follow local etiquette, drop in on another riders' wave, mess up the lineup or simply crowd the beach.

Last week, the "locals only" issue came up on two So Cal Patch sites. From nearby Santa Monica, Martin Squires posted a blog about what he called Venice Beach hooligans who threaten visiting surfers, vandalize cars and steal property.

In La Jolla, editor Michelle Mowad spotted an online claim by a former surf shop employee who allegedly witnessed another employee injecting blood into rental surfboards in an effort to get sharks to eat tourist surfers hogging up the local surf lineup.

Admittedly, the latter smells a bit fishy, and when Patch reached out to the employee making the claim, we didn't hear back, but it does make us wonder what kinds of actions you've seen here. Are our locals good about sharing the waves? Could they be better? What's the most outrageous thing you've seen or heard about?
lwhitl2185 January 21, 2014 at 01:30 AM
I have been surfing for more than 40 years from Florida, around the entire So. Pacific rim and So Cal. - dealing with the real locals – the wildlife - and the pretend locals – human beings. In those years I have had to talk sharks out of eating me and have been rushed by sharks several times. One shark circled me 3 times with its head out of the water and that dead dolls eye looking me over. I convinced it that I wouldn't be tasty and am still here. In all my years of surfing in So.Cal - my fellow surfers have been the most hostile and threatening at times. There were days that it is a miracle someone didn't die. I once had two older surfers – late 40s early 50s confront me on the beach. I had committed an unforgivable sin according to them. I had screamed with absolute joy at a tube ride where I was covered up for several seconds. “ We don’t yell around here boy and if you ever come around again we will put you down” They explained. I am a complete bunny and more than likely would take a beating rather than hurt another person but in this case I blurted out,” I don’t fight till there’s a winner; I fight till there is a death!” Total bluff but they decided it wasn't worth the risk and I got some great waves that day and no-one said a word. Ha! It’s truly unfortunate the way we behave sometimes when in fact we live relatively carefree lives. There was one beautiful spring day several years ago while I was out surfing 2 to 3 ft. perfect little sandbar waves when a dolphin jumped across the front of my surfboard. I could have touched him as he passed and he looked me straight in the eye. My friend started screaming shark and in panic began paddling toward shore like a madman. The dolphin began circling me with his head out of the water checking me out. Suddenly, I felt something bump against my leg and to my amazement there were two babies rubbing against my leg with Mom just along the other side. The two babies were spinning and gurgling and the sense of life and joy was tremendous. The Mother was lifting her head and spurting water, cackling in that high voice. I said to her,” You are a great Mom and you have beautiful babies.” She answered with a head bob and chattering. We were having a conversation where neither understood the language but we both understood the spirit. It was wonderful. I complimented dad for playing it safe and guarding from just far enough away in case he was needed. We talked for a few moments and then the male flipped his head and the group slowly began to move off. I again thanked them for trusting me and the male did a spinning jump as if to say,” Your welcome.” This is the magic that can happen if you appreciate and respect the gifts nature can give. It would be nice if we humans could share rather than declare ownership.


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