Stab Magazine | It’s Time To Refine Localism

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It’s Time To Refine Localism

It’s not dead, just different. 

style // May 5, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Something happened this week.

Salt Creek. A man. A child. An unauthorised baptism that quickly led to a couple helicopters, one boat and a fuckload of dudes with badges all staring out into that Orange County sunset. The end result was the most concerted effort to snake London since the second World War. If you missed the story, you can read it here.

The incident received plenty of hype and the baptizer was commonly referred to as “a local.” I’m sure he was a local. I’m also sure this wasn’t an act of localism — it was a response to disrespect. However, it may still spark a conversation about localism’s place in the 2017 world of surf.

Times have changed. For better. For worse. For both. Some lineups are nearing a level of obesity that no amount of acai bowls or Peter Tosh songs could amend. But you are also currently two clicks away from an interactive map detailing surf spots in Gabon. In a case like that, it can be hard to discern pitfall from perk.

Perk or pitfall, this is a world where everything is documented. Some of you may have documented your breakfast this morning and a lot of you will point a camera at the ocean today. Nothing — no matter how boring, bland, vulgar or violent — goes unseen. And careers in law aren’t dwindling, which brings us back into localism.

Historically, localism has been about causing damage. To bodies. To emotions. To property. It didn’t matter if you were keying a car or key-bumping your way into a savage assault on a stranger’s ego, harm was the ticket. Turns out cameras dig harm. Lawyers do too.

So I’m going to say the tried and trusted methods of localism don’t work in this generation. Times change. If it didn’t, we’d be finger painting in caves with singed pubes. I don’t know if the old way was right or wrong, but I do know that this is a problem that can no longer be solved with the simplicity of throwing a brick through a windshield.

And that doesn’t mean localism is dead.

Off the top of my head, I can think of five very good waves that have become learn-to-surf spots and are now borderline un-surfable to the common man on the common day. That’s a flaw. That’s illogical. You can learn to surf on anything. And hey, speaking of logic, we should use it to govern modern localism.

For example, if you grew up at a wave that is accessible and also travel to surf waves that are accessible, you have no right to tell any decent, respectful surfer they can’t touch your spot. Look at Pipeline these days — anyone can paddle out, but the right people are getting the right waves. So, just get the right waves at your spot and don’t complain. If you can’t do that, it’s probably because you’re some hunchback fuck who can’t make a proper tube.

Now, there’s no overarching strategy to modernise localism in an effective way. It’s case-by-case. Like it always has been and will be. Decades ago, nobody thought they’d read that sentence. Days ago, nobody ever thought they’d see an advertisement like the above promoting a World Tour event. But, then again, times change. Noticed a theme here?

In these changed times, the best way to approach a problem is to come up with a solution that makes sense for all parties and take every step towards that. Sound simple? It’s not. Mostly because of emotion — there’s a reason why people are still bloodying each other over 100 days after Donald Trump was sworn in as the President of the United States of America and that reason is not change.

So, localise. But be smart. Be respectful. Let anybody experience the casual joy of surfing. Then let anybody who experiences the addictive bliss of surfing deal with degeneration and debt, and let them respectfully surf your wave when they’re ready.

We should change the word though. “Localism” sounds too harsh. I propose 198 pounds of boom. Or is that already taken?


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