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Strong history of surfing localism

A lot of people nowadays has to face localism, just like I do.
In this article, you’ll find the story of surfing localism and some of the aspects of it. Remember, there is no good or bad about what it’s going to be written. We will just show you how it all started and how it is keeping going.

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Surfing localism

The history of surfing localism is deeply intertwined with the growth and evolution of surfing as a sport and culture. Localism emerged as a response to various factors, including overcrowding at popular surf breaks, the desire to protect surf spots from outside influences, and the formation of tight-knit surfing communities. Here’s an overview of the history of surfing localism:

  1. Origins in Hawaii: Surfing originated in ancient Polynesia and was reintroduced to the world by the Hawaiian Islanders. In ancient Hawaiian society, surfing was deeply rooted in the culture and held spiritual significance. Surfing was primarily practiced by the local Hawaiians, and they had a strong connection to their surf breaks. Outsiders were often unwelcome or faced certain restrictions.
  2. Rise of Modern Surfing: In the early 20th century, surfing experienced a revival and spread to California and other parts of the world. As the sport gained popularity, more people began to participate, leading to increased crowds in the lineup.
  3. Localism in California: In the 1960s and 1970s, California witnessed the emergence of localism as a response to overcrowding and territorial disputes. Local surfers in areas such as Malibu, Rincon, and other iconic breaks began to assert their dominance and protect their waves from non-locals. The goal was to maintain a sense of order, preserve the unique surf culture, and ensure that locals had priority in the water.
  4. Australian Localism: Australia also experienced localism in its surfing communities. In the 1970s and 1980s, some surf spots along the Australian coast developed reputations for aggressive localism. Non-locals faced hostility and were often subjected to verbal and physical confrontations.
  5. Regional Variations: Localism practices varied across different regions and breaks. Some were relatively mild, with locals simply asserting their presence and enjoying priority in the lineup. In contrast, other spots experienced more extreme forms of localism, where intimidation, violence, and vandalism were used to deter non-locals.
  6. Impact of Media: The media played a role in amplifying the reputation of localism. Stories of localism incidents and territorial clashes captured public attention and perpetuated the idea that certain surf spots were off-limits to outsiders.
  7. Negative Backlash: Over time, the negative aspects of localism became more apparent. Incidents of aggression, violence, and discrimination tarnished the image of the surfing community. Many recognized the need for change and started advocating for a more inclusive and respectful surfing environment.
  8. Shift towards Inclusivity: In recent decades, there has been a growing movement to promote inclusivity, respect, and sharing the waves among all surfers. Surfing organizations, local communities, and surfers themselves have been working towards creating a more welcoming and harmonious surfing culture.
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While localism initially served as a means to protect surf breaks and foster a sense of community, the negative aspects of exclusivity and aggression have prompted a shift towards more inclusive practices. Today, many surfers strive to balance the preservation of local culture and identity with promoting a positive and respectful surfing experience for all.

In the next articles, we will try to see the positive localism and the negative localism in surfing.
Whenever and wherever you go, you’ll always find some goods and bads aspects of localism, but remember, wherever you’re from, adapt yourself to where you are, ask to people how the spots works, where to go, what to do in case of something happens and enjoy your time with your friends and new ones.

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