Lindy Taverner

'Locals Only' surfing politics

2011-09-14 14:43
Sport24 columnist Lindy Taverner (File)
Lindy Taverner

Surfing is growing more popular every day and the water is becoming more crowded, with body boarders, Stand Up Paddlers (SUP) and surf skiers adding to the mix.

A simple system can go a long way to bring together so many people with differing abilities and cultures without discord.

In summation, this system includes the simple rules of the water which are to respect the surf etiquette and rules of any break’s line-up, never to hassle or drop in on other surfers and to realise you are probably a visitor at somebody else’s ‘home’.

Unfortunately, at some breaks there are underground society’s protecting 'their' waves. Threats and punch-ups are commonplace and some surfers have been known to carry knives and blades... scary stuff!

The violent incidences against non-locals have escalated to even locals having their cars "mistakenly" vandalised. The safest bet is to only park close by in a recognisable car.

These incidences don’t happen at all breaks, but mostly at reefs and 'secret' spots.

In the locals' defence, they live to surf at their favourite break and don’t want to be pushed aside by someone just arriving and taking over. It’s respect that they are wanting, but that needs to be earned not forced. This aggression should be rather channelled into actual surfing...

There are also some wonderful life lessons to be learnt from surfing. Legendary former surfing world champion, Shaun Tomson identified '12 simple lessons for riding through Life' in his book, The Surfer’s Code.  I’ve mentioned only a few here that are relevant, but they are all valuable lessons.

The first is ‘I Will Never Turn My Back on the Ocean’ has various meanings. It’s primarily about respect for the ocean, its power and the joy it provides. Another important meaning that can be deduced is to move forward in a positive way for oneself and others and not look over your shoulder and dwell on the past.

The lesson, ‘I Will Paddle around the Impact Zone’ is about how the ocean teaches us the right to exercise patience and when to seize opportunity. The impact zone is where the waves are breaking and is the most exciting and dangerous part of the ocean.  Paddling straight into the breaking wave jeopardises your and others safety. Take the time to look first and be considerate.

The determination to never give up on anything you believe in is beautifully put with the words ‘I Will Paddle Back Out’.

'I Will Watch Out for Other Surfers' is a reminder to not only have consideration, but also concern for other’s safety in the powerful ocean of life.

‘All Surfers are Joined by One Ocean’; we all share the same playground, let’s play nicely.

Lindy Taverner is the editor of the RUSH magazine that was based in the Eastern Cape and recently relocated to Cape Town. Previous issues and updated extreme sport news can be found on her site

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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