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.