Photo credits: Antonio Muglia
Being a surf pioneer nowadays ain’t easy. Imagine: you are an experienced surfer with 30 years surfing experience all around the globe. Not a pro, but can handle heavy conditions having fun at the same time.
The spot that you pioneered can produce world class waves and gets 1/5 of the crowd of an equivalent more renowned spot.
Some of your best surfing memories belong to here: mornings alone in the water under heavy blue water before getting to work; fear, excitement, joy, satisfaction, frustration, all feelings that just make a perfect love story. These emotions are all connected to this place, that in some way at the end you feel like yours. However in the deep of your heart you know that it’s not.
It’s open sea. It belongs to everyone. It gives the same feelings and emotions to anyone able to elaborate and perceive them. This is the reality. You know that, you are aware, you respect that fact as surfer and as human being.
What happens then when you go there one late afternoon… conditions are not great: little onshore wind, tiny chops, head high, 4 guys out. You wear your boardshorts, wax the board. When you are ready to go in suddenly a stranger surfer is coming, someone never seen before. He parks next to you, have a quick look at the waves then ask you about the access to the spot through the reef.
He looks a nice guy, willing to catch some waves without giving trouble to anyone. Therefore what would you tell him?
- You tell him that the break is “only local” and kindly invite him to surf somewhere else, not allowing any reply;
- He’s welcome to surf, just remind him that he’s enjoying a spot of pristine beauty, really loved by local surfers and people who discovered it. So you ask him to surf with extreme respect, never sneaking anyone, avoid paddling in if there is someone on the peak, and to surf according his abilities without putting anyone at risk;
- You welcome him and tell him the information he needs, you got deep knowledge of the wave and you know how to surf at your homebreak even though Mr. Slater paddles in;
Would you act as point 1, 2 or 3?
Surfing is a weird sport: we love to share our surfing memories and we less love to share the spots that we love and that’s because the playground has so many factors that can turn an epic day into an horrible one. Unfortunately the crowd plays a big role here.
I hope you enjoyed the topic of this week that want to start a debate about a situation very common nowadays: the overcrowding of many quality surf spots, especially points, which, depending on the conditions, can be saturated with only 10 guys out.
My goal here is to get you into the perspective of a surfer with three decades of experience. He’s pioneer of a place near his home, surfed for years and enjoyed by a small circle of people, who suddenly receives a visit from a stranger. A very normal fact that anyway alters an existing balance and that will lead to changes in the immediate future.
Comment and let us know how you would react in his position.
Talk to you next week, keep riding!