Grumpy old men?

How's this opinion piece over at Pacific Longboarder! Here is an excerpt from the article:
Tourists who travel across the globe to surf Sunshine Coast waves are leaving with a sour taste in their mouths after being abused by locals who believe they own the breaks.
And it's not just visitors who are being targeted, according to a long-time surfer who claims older surfers are the worst offenders. Damon Bereziat said the attitude, language and aggression of some older surfers was sad.
"I can only hope that when I reach late 40s, 50s and beyond I will never behave like that. You blokes have forgotten what surfing is all about and you should be ashamed of yourselves," Mr Bereziat said.
He said the problem was especially rife at Noosa's Tea Tree Bay.
"It saddens me to be witness to the 'elders' of the local variety unashamedly bullying anyone younger, female, less experienced or visiting surfers who patiently wait their turn for the opportunity to catch a wave.
Mr Bereziat said he could understand that local surfers were being swamped by disrespectful visiting surfers and had become protective of what they saw as "their" break. But he said it would be nice to see more manners in the surf.
Former professional surfer Robbie Sherwell, of Alexandra Headland based XL Surfing Academy, said some local surfers did feel ownership of surf breaks.
"At the same time I don't like it but I understand where they're coming from," he said. "They live there and have all these people coming to surf where they live. Noosa is just too crowded now. It's not just the locals who are causing problems though . . . I've heard of fights in the car park between visitors."
In the past, I've made it pretty clear what I think about this kind of localism and bullying behaviour - ie. it's lame. I've also written about experiences I've had at Noosa where I was most certainly hassled and threatened by an aggressive 'local' guy, but where I was also made to feel welcome by some lovely men. And earlier this year, I had a really fun surf at Alex Headland, and was told that there had been a couple of older guys sitting on the inside cheering and hooting my waves. It was my first time surfing there and I was the only woman out on a decent-sized day, so like everywhere, I guess it can be a mixed bag of experiences.
This opinion piece on PLB seems a bit out of the blue, with no clear discussion of what the point the author is really trying to make. Maybe there has been recent discussion of these issues amongst the local community, or in the local news? I'm not sure. If the point is 'Don't be an asshole', then good - I'm totally on board. The point, in the case, seems to be that this kind of behaviour is chasing away tourists, who are an important part of the Sunshine Coast economy, which, while not less relevant seems like a slightly different kettle of fish, with a slightly different (less altruistic, more self-serving) agenda. I'm still on board with the 'don't be an asshole' bit, but I guess the local economy stuff seems slightly far-fetched to me. Well, whatever the point, if what he says is true then I reckon surfing on the Sunshine Coast just got a little bit more tricky for Damon Bereziat.


  1. So sad…
    Enjoy life out there. Hate fights! Let´s be all friends!
    Localism for the sake of it suck. Respect wins, in both directions.

  2. Man, is that whole thing tricky. And as old as the hills. As things get more crowded people get more aggressive as fear creeps in. Keep on keeping on is all you can do. Become the water.


  4. Yeah. It is tricky. I get that sometimes dropping in happens and, well, hell! I do it myself sometimes. But I think the story here is a bit different. It's about localism, entitlement and exclusion. But it really is hard because generally I find that it's only ever one or at most, two, people who behave like that, yet their behaviour permeates the water and the lineup like a toxin. It sucks. I used to fight it, but these days, I'm tired and sad, and have no interest in being anywhere near such people, so I move away. The thing too is that, in the end, the surfers who are more experienced, skilled and knowledgable get the most waves anyway, so the aggression is kind of pointless.

    As you say, Toddy, keep on keeping on is the best way to go.

  5. P.S. Nice tumblr, Carlos! Beautiful images.

  6. Oh yeah. I figure those guys just adhere to #2. Which is always a funny one to justify.

  7. Hello there.
    I'm an old fart trying to learn how to surf. Just the other day I was at Little Cove and an old ( and very ugly!!) guy was kind of bulling everyone around him. He told us (my mate and me) that his wave were HIS and we had to go back to our f* country. We were speechless.
    But a part from that, this was the first time it happened to me. Usually I always meet cool guys and girls and I just enjoy the day. (maybe it's because I'm so bad that I still share my waves with kids??)

  8. Hey F, so bummed to hear that, but stoked that you know it's an anomaly. Because I think it is too!


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