Sunday, December 27, 2009

Surf Writer Touches Swamis Contest

Chris Ahrens is one of our communities' assets. He keeps the surf community reflective and grounded and gives glimpses of the surf to the wider population. He writes stuff for Risen, a column for The Coast News, and books about surfers.

This week Chris wrote about contests at Swamis. Ahrens echos the Leucadia blog (because the Leucadia Blog is awesome):
...To me this is more about the rights of local citizens than Swami’s itself. While I believe that nobody has the right to rope off a public area to accommodate a few, many friends strongly disagree...

Chris addresses the propaganda about localism:

...Swami’s is now home to a variety of surfers from young up-and-comers to soulful rock dwelling guardians, to those who appear in response to the omnipresent surf cams that plaster its pretty face worldwide. Still, the place remains a fun, gentle break populated by a generally friendly group of wave riders, who look to escape the loud world that press us ever deeper into smaller corners.
...Since then a daily contest is held between those who ride big boards and small boards and those who sit in the outside pack waiting for set waves, which lately includes beginners brazenly snaking waves from the more skilled...
Friends from L.A. had a good laugh learning about the Swamis localism propaganda this weekend. In LA there are spots were the local crew gets high on Meth before paddling out. They aren't very friendly.
I'm pretty sure no one has had a knife pulled on them at Swamis. That happened in the LA line up. There are breaks near Santa Barbara where the local crew post "guards" along the paths to the breaks. The "guards" use physical intimidation to keep the waves uncrowed.

Then there is The Ranch. The last undeveloped stretch of private land in Southern California. According to surfline:
Couple these militant day-trippers with the numerous landowners who surf, and you've got a healthy crew of fiercely protective locals to contend with whenever a quality swell -- the area picks up both summer souths and winter norths -- hits. First timers boating or, arms willing, kayaking in, will almost certainly be met with scowls and frowns of disapproval, if not outright shouting and physical hostility.
If a contest is to be held as a symbolic act against localism the promoters have picked the wrong break. It would be much more interesting if they took the contest north. They would also get better waves, but this contest is not about surfing.

See Also: The localism card is propaganda to trick the public.


  1. Is that meth guy Beavis or Butthead?

  2. It has to be.... he is a spitting image of butthead. classic!

    Meathead lets go have a beer!

  3. Localism is easy to condemn. It is obvious that each of us have equal rights to the waves. Newcomers to any surf spot are entitled to waves, no matter how brilliantly or poorly they surf. That works until a novice paddles out a discount store surfboard, unaware that they are entering a dredging ledge where waves break over inches of water. Or opening day at Swami’s where the lineup is already dicey, and made more difficult by the droves of wide-eyed learners going over the falls, only to brag to their dates over dinner (yes, we have all overheard you) that they were ripping.

  4. some social norms are good. others are bad. Is there an ethical grounding behind the social norm of less skilled surfers going to the less crowded breaks to learn? There certainly is a utilitarian and Kantian argument that beginners should start on the bunny slopes.

    They get in the way, are dangerous, and do not benefit from sucking out bowling black diamond waves. What they do can be accomplished at Beacons. It takes years before they are even aware how many times they have ruined the for others by not knowing how to get out of the way or how to safely make a tricky wave.

  5. It's funny that all of a sudden the "localism" and "overcrowding" at swamis is an issue. Like someone's trying to justify the contest b.s. by saying Swamis was ruined a long time ago. You know the old squeaky wheel gets the grease, say a lie enough times and it becomes true song and dance.

    Just this morning I was reading on Surfline about Swamis and crowds in the captions of some recent photos.

    There are next to never Swamis shots on Surfline. Hmmm....

  6. 7:54
    Thanks for hipping me to that, dude.

    Give someone an inch of water and they take a whole set of waves. Now if people started to realize that humans were not meant to go in the ocean at all, the fish would sleep a lot better, and there wouldn't be any problem with wave hog celebrities claiming territory for themselves.

  7. Butthead is much scarier than the guy with the bayonet.


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