"You Were Never Here and We Never Surfed This Spot!"
This is essentially what I told a guy from my home break, a guy I like and respect, who showed up at The Place Which Shall Remain Nameless with another friend from the home break. Yes, I know no one owns the waves. However, there is a thing called "respect". I respect other people's breaks. I show that respect by not dragging everyone I know to their waves, especially when it's a spot I consider a treasure.
I'm slowly, but surely, getting some kind of reputation at TPWSRN. I want it to be a good one. I mind what I say. I mind what I do. I show the locals the respect they deserve (and sometimes don't deserve). I don't roll up with a posse in tow. I respect what they've got. I just go there and do my thing, whether it be on a mat, which is the usual case these days, or on a surfboard. Some of the people there know me by name now. Others remain crusty. That's fine. I'm establishing my reputation as a surfer and a person each time I'm there.
I met two folks from my home break up there today. I got a text from one of them asking if I was going to a break north of all of us. My reply was that the water was dirty, that I was heading to a different break in the opposite direction. The friend with whom I traded texts grew up in the area, so this place was not new to her. The other had never been. And, as I suspected, he was captivated. I knew he would be.
Throughout the session, I told him he couldn't tell his main surfing buddies that he'd been to the spot. Period. I wasn't playing. "Don't tell them you were here!" I said it more than once. I said it throughout the session. I couldn't have been more adamant.
Well, the guy with whom he usually surfs seems never to have heard of surf etiquette. Ever. He simply doesn't get it. He will go for every wave no matter what the situation. He can see you sitting there waiting your turn, knowing that you've patiently allowed others (including him) to take their waves. Then he'll paddle right back out next to you and jump up on the wave that was rightfully yours. Etiquette means nothing to him. There are surfers like that in the world. We all know one or two or more of them. For me, the best way to show respect to someone else's break is to not release a known surf offender into his or her surf community. I used to spend a lot of time surfing with someone who seems never to have learned the rules of etiquette. Did I tell her about TPWSRN? No. I surfed the place for almost a year year before she revealed to me that someone had taken her there. And I still didn't let on that I'd surfed there often. After years of having seen her drop in on people, run into people and tell me that people at certain breaks wanted to beat her up, there was no way I was going be the one who took her to this spot.
So, I told the guy from the home break not to tell his friends. They all tend to surf together. If he told one, the offender would find out. And they'd all probably tell several others. And so on. And so on. That is just unacceptable.
Today was my fifth straight day in the water. I rode prone on two different mats and rode upright on two different boards. On one of the five days, my board paid my dues to the surf gods . . . and even that session was one in which I got some decent rides that made me smile. I've had a good run of water time during this week. "Stoked" doesn't begin to describe how I'm left feeling after all of these consecutive days in the water. Thank you, surf gods, for smiling down on me. Thanks, too, for not allowing the rocks to do more damage to my beloved Almond.
Go find yourself some waves, people! Remember to respect the locals and their waves, whether you agree with that part of surf culture or not. If you're a local, be nice to the visitors who show you respect. In the end, we're one big tribe of people who love to ride waves.