The Earth Says Hello

Whenever I am faced with the decision about whether I should make it a long night out or a dawn patrol I have always chosen the latter.  To me there is little better than getting in the water and surfing just as the sun is breaking the horizon.  Crowds are usually at a minimum, and the wind almost always stays light so that conditions are clean and glassy.

This morning was no different. After almost two weeks without waves every surfer I know was waiting for the small swell that came our way today. This was evidenced by the number of people who were in the water with me at 6:00 am. The local crowd was in effect, with Travis “Big Hack,” “Step-Down” James and “Long Board” Dean all sitting at one of my favorite spots exchanging waves.  I was happy to join them.

The waves were small and summery.  It was like a few drops of water on the tongue while wandering the desert; just enough to keep you going but not enough to quench the thirst.

There were a few other faces that I did not recognize.  While waiting for a set I overheard their conversation, and I realized that localism is not dead, especially for the dawn patrol crowd.  One of the guys was barking about “some Guido who has been on the beach all summer, yelling and barking out orders to his friends and family.”  The guy went on with much vigor about how he “hopes to see him in the water one day.”

At Least For the DP

I would say that this alarmed me somewhat, but this was dawn patrol.  This was local hour, and I was somewhat glad that there was an inclination to regulate in the pack.  In fairness to everyone else, I will go squeeze in among the herbs and kooks for an afternoon session when the tide drops after 2:00 pm, and I fully expect a free for all of tourists and Bennies. 

That will be fine.  Locals can play nice in the sandbox then, just as long as we have the dawn patrol intact.

  1. Karen says:

    such inane concepts… “localism” is an anachronism. We are all humans and share the earth and sea. THis division is based on capitalism and the exploitation of resources… the same warped mentality that leads to BP gushes and the like that poison our common oceans… so dumb, the self righteous non-sense that allows peons in their slave-wage jobs to feel superior in some small section of life… it is really perverted and sick and should not be encouraged in anyway sir.
    “regulate”? How about talk with respect to your fellow surfers instead of this idiotic preconception.
    And yes I am on the LIRR at 4AM to get to my sea from my neighborhood. So dumb these suppositions….

    • M says:

      This is the greatest comment ever! Thanks for keeping it real. You are so right that “localism” is driven by the ego, which does nothing but create an artifical divide.

      I am not sure if I would equate wanting to get a few in some solitude at sunrise with BP… but hell, it might very well be a microcosmic representaion of a similar thought pattern. Nothing but the man keeping us down… or us keeping the man down… or the man being down keeping the down man…

      Of course, we love and respect all surfers here, and anyone rocking on the LIRR to get the next swell deserves extra respect. Especially since the LIRR does not come to Jersey.

      Keep the stoke.

  2. steven says:

    I’ve never surfed Jersey, but I’ve surfed San Diego since ’98. It took a couple of years of regular sessions to become a “local” at my favorite workday spot, Tourmaline, one of the best, friendliest albeit most crowded longboard breaks south of San-O (convenient, consistent, close). Although localism gets a bad rap, I have to say that sometimes it has it’s place. A great example is PB Point. It’s a very good wave when it’s “on” and also a very dangerous wave; lots of table top size reef sections and boils. It also happens to be right next to, and in view of, Tourmaline, so it get’s more than it’s share of “visitors”.

    Now I’m not saying I like the locals at the Point, or condone their antics, but I do understand their point (no pun intended). It doesn’t even need to be big to be dangerous. When it’s heavy and breaking outside, there is no room for error, or people without the required skills to be out there dropping in and generally being a hazard. They endanger not only themselves, but also the people who have spent the time to learn the intricacies of that particular break.

    Anyone with the desire and patience can work their way into the lineup. It requires humility, respect, and the ability to sit back, watch, learn, and take an occasional leftover until you EARN the respect of those in the water that know what they are doing there. I would argue that without some sort of hierarchy there would be more injuries and problems.

    The other side of the coin is Tourmaline. The older locals are like an extended family. They are happy to share the place with anyone and are more than happy to guide new surfers along the path to proper surf behavior. The more you hang around, watch and listen, the more you learn and quicker you grow as a citizen of the line up. No fights, no vibe, just a great place to enjoy yourself among others.

    At it’s best, localism is a kind of guiding hand that helps introduce new surfers to the etiquette and nuances of a particular spot. At it’s worst, it’s nothing more than petty imperialism, with all the ego driven violence and bullshit that comes with it.

    • M says:

      This is great point about localism. In this situation at our “local” break, we surf between a rock jetty and a massive drain pipe. It is not ideal for crowds to say the least as the take-off spot is tight. Add to this the fact that a handful of people surf the break all winter in 20 dergee temps and there is an absolutle feel of earning your wings.

      Sure we can make room… but do we really want to.

      Mast Surfboards look great by the way.

  3. mike says:

    enjoyed it. Nice and light.

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