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Local Surfer Dunks Grom At Salt Creek

Today's quandary of morality, localism and overreaction stems (unsurprisingly) from the South Orange County coast of Dana Point.

Yesterday, at Salt Creek, a kid mouthed off to a longtime local–a daily occurrence. The man reached his threshold and dunked the kid. His mom, who was watching from the sand called the police. Crime is rare in Dana Point. Police don't have much to worry about other than teenage kids getting stoned in parking lots and the occasional stolen iPad, so the cops responded in droves.

“We had a cop boat in the lineup, cop helicopters flying overhead and a dozen more lining the waterline headed up by our misguided youth ‘London’ scanning the lineup to get back at the elder that dunked him,” wrote life-long Salt Creek surfer, Ryan Divel. “Add up the manpower and fuel costs and I'm pretty sure we're into the tens of thousands of dollars range.”

Times have changed, no secret there. However, on both sides, this response is ridiculous. Nobody’s innocent, that much is clear, but it doesn’t sound like it was the grom's first offense. Based on the hundreds of comments on the thread, the kid has a reputation. Since the Polynesians first started whittling koa wood wee keikis have existed at the bottom of the pecking order. It takes years to earn a respectable spot in the lineup. Granted, Orange County lineups aren’t getting any less crowded. 

Where's Andy when you need him?

Then there’s the whole “localism” bit, where an old dude guy confronted and laid hands on a minor. We should all be mature enough to not swat a kid no matter how much of a pest they may be. Self-restraint isn't always easy, but it will keep the OC Sheriff off your back. Also, harsh words and a death glare will suffice.

London is coached by hall of fame Aussie surfer, Ian Cairns. Presumably, the family pays him good money. Regardless, it matters little how good of a surfer the kid is if he doesn’t have a solid head on his shoulders. 

“Maybe promoting #snakelondon is not the correct way to de-escalate the problem. Maybe hazing groms is not acceptable anymore. Maybe accepting the long-time practice of ‘locals’ owning a surf spot is a little archaic. Yeah, sure London needs to chill a little, but he's no different than thousands of other groms,” responded Cairns on the thread. “What if an ‘elder’ was proposing a worldwide vendetta on your kid? And it was being acted out in front of your eyes? Is it right? London and his family are good people. And maybe they are here to help us re-evaluate the hierarchal structure that condones this kind of bullying. But be certain, they are not going away, they will be calling the cops on anyone that lays hands on their kids and it will bring a public spotlight on petty localism in CA. Are you willing to step up and be an agent of positive change?”

Like I said, there's no innocence in this story. Folks need to take responsibility for their words and actions. London needs to be a more respectful surfer. Old guys can’t go whooping on kids. And maybe Facebook isn’t the place to air all these grievances. Like Cairns said, this should be a lesson for everyone.

“This bums me out,” chimed in WSL commentator Kaipo Guerro. “The sense of subculture and community seems to be lost in surfing. As a crew we were always able to govern our own. Elders naturally got respect and young surfers would benefit from the elder's knowledge. Unfortunate that we are now removed of that culture in some places. It's just fucking waves, the wind blows and more come.”

“Wambulance!” surmised old school power surfer, Mike Cruickshank.

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