In all the years I’ve been involved in surfing one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the blatant, unrepentant and downright unpleasant racism that exists in our sport of kings.
I’m not talking about black, white or yellow. It’s a worse kind of racism, the racism that is localism, which is a real mouthful I can tell you.
The humble, unfortunate, inland-dwelling dweeb goes by a many monikers. In Cornwall Emmits, in Devon Grockles, in certain parts of Wales English Tossers, in Thurso Southerners around Polzeath Tarquins and a thousand more colourful and somewhat graphic adjectives not fit for a family friendly blog like this one.
In reality it’s these committed hordes that have the passion, are keener, and in reality keep the surf industries coffers full of beans. If a lot of so-called locals had to drive five hours for a surf would they bother? I think not. Would they drive three hours to surf onshore, dribbly, spume-ridden slop, purely because it’s a weekend and the only chance they get each week to get a saltwater fix? Errrm, probably not.
Would they take the time to learn the noble art of surf forecasting, utilising all available tools, to maximise their surf time? Probably not. They think the Isobar is a new drinking hole in Newquay. Why bother to learn when they can just look out the window or wait till someone calls to tell them it’s good.
The Grockle is pro-active and keen, the local doesn’t need to be. I don’t need to tell you who buys all the magazines that keep us media types in gravy. Ask any of the local pros who are splashed liberally through the mags if they buy or read them and they’ll say no. The most you can hope for is I flicked through it in Smiths. When you ask why the answer is invariably Dunno, can’t be bothered.
Spoilt, lazy and arrogant that’s what they are. The inherent superiority of locals is a sham, based on what? Ooh, well done you’ve got rich parents. That must make you a better person. How nice they could afford the ridiculous, stumped up house prices in the coastal zone.
Of course this is all rampant ranting generalisation, otherwise known as nonsense, which is a speciality of mine. There are perfectly nice locals of many generations heritage as well as total and utter arseholes, there are poor locals and there are super-duper keen locals who live and breathe surfing to a degree where normal relationships aren’t possible.
The whole spectrum of human existence exists as it does throughout life, there are plenty of nice locals and equally lovely Grockles.
That’s one of the problems with surfing: any idiot, be they sub-educated pikey scum, likely to set fire to you if you upset them, or just a proper mental can do it. There’s no entrance exam for locals or Grockles. Which is why you hear such waffle in surfing, no quality control see?
Don’t be down on the inland folk, they grease the wheels they make the surf world go round, making boards and wetties cheaper for all. Unless you can trace your ancestry back to its Celtic coastal roots then very few people really qualify as local. Your parents moving down from London when you were a nipper doesn’t make you a Cornishman.
No matter where you born in the UK you can't have been pooped out of mammy more than 45 miles from tidal waters.*
We're all locals really. Hug a grockle today.
*I was born 15 miles from the sea in Taunton, but gestated on the sea front road in Watchet. Just so you know.