Wave Wars: Surfing's Violent Subculture

"People who typically live near a [good surfing spot] end up claiming it as their own because of the proximity," said Peralta. "And when people come to that spot who don't live there, they're looked at as invaders.

"These people do have a personal connection to their spots -- typically, they've grown up there -- and they claim it as their own, even when it really isn't," said Peralta.

But Peralta emphasized that surf rage doesn't always turn violent -- much of the communication between surfers is usually in the water.

"They're so good [at surfing] it's hard to get [a wave]," said Peralta, who added that he wouldn't go as far as to refer to these territorial surfers as gangs. "They're a pack in the water -- they monopolize the waves and humiliate people [with their talent]. They know the system."

Surfers Are Misunderstood, Some Say

George, who was at the Malibu beach where the McConaughey fight broke out, told ABCNEWS.com that, while these types of incidents garner a lot of media attention, they still are not the norm for the surfer community.

"Surfers, by nature, are passive because what they want more than anything is to ride the waves," said George. "But in any subculture dominated by men, you're going to find guys that are aggressive, and, in some cases, violent."

Andrew Couldwell, editor and founder of surfing Web site Clubofthewaves.com, said that, while the media may want to pigeonhole surfers as territorial, there are, in reality, lots of different types of surfers.

"There are some surfers who see it as a sport and some who enjoy the riding of a wave as an escape and like the culture of it all," said Couldwell. "Some surfers are loners in that it's a personal time for them and will not speak at all in the water; others are friendly and chatty, some are forgiving, and some are aggressive.

"As long as you stick to good 'surf etiquette' -- that is, considering other people out in the water waiting for the wave -- you should have no trouble," added Couldwell. "But, like anything in life, unfortunately, there are troublemakers.

"Sometimes things can happen, verbally or physically," said Couldwell, who explained how localism is known for being especially bad on parts of the North Shore of Hawaii.

But Couldwell insists that violence isn't a regular thing and that most surfers never experience aggressive localism.

George and Peralta agreed, and added that, until artificial reefs are built to create more surf breaks and accommodate everyone, it is imperative for the more aggressive surfers to realize that everyone has a right to ride the waves.

"These waves belong to the Earth and not to us," said Peralta. "We're just lucky enough to ride them."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5246486. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5246486. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5246486. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5246486. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5246486. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5246486.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...