What nobody knows about surf localism and violence

By  | 
kelly slater


If you can believe it, there is somewhat of an ugly side to an otherwise unique sport—surfing. Territorial surf gangs, as well as individuals, have been harassing intruders to their coveted beaches for decades. They turn to bullying, aggressive behavior, and sometimes even violence to protect their preferred spots to surf at. It’s important to understand proper etiquette when it comes to trying out new spots to catch some waves, and what to do if you’re met with some unfriendly fellow surfers.

Read the situation

When approaching a new spot you’ve never been to before, try to get a feel of the vibe in the air. Is everyone laughing and having a good time? Or are they serious and maybe even aggressive with their words and actions? Knowing how the locals feel about you being there is an asset.

Be friendly

No one likes a newcomer that feels entitled and has a bad attitude. Smile and talk to them when appropriate. That way, you have a better chance of being accepted and welcomed back.

Surf with a friend

Arrive with a friend or two, but not a huge group either. There is strength in numbers, so you are less likely to be picked on if you have someone else with you.

Control your negative emotions

Try to stay calm even when irrational anger makes an appearance. If other surfers are getting territorial and rude, keep your head on straight and don’t blow up. Anger doesn’t help anyone.

Keep your distance

If you notice that certain individuals or groups are becoming excessively aggressive or violent, just stay away. Risking fights and injuries is not worth that one good break, when you could easily find another to surf at.

Spot locals

Chances are, you will be able to identify the people who are out at the same spots all the time. Show these people some added respect and friendliness to ensure your peaceful place.

Surfing can be a really fun and active sport, but make sure you keep an eye out for surf localism and violence that could come with it. Surf safely!

Lauren is a part-time editorial and graphic contributor at 301 Digital Media who has a strange obsession with cats and a love for Drake that will never be reciprocated. Follow her on Instagram: @lpetermeyer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *