local knowledge

"My sun, my sand, my surf, GO HOME!"

I read a lot of stories about
locals and localism

I consider of myself as a local
of several spots really
but more than just surf spots
as much as
the small strip of coast where
I grew up
and still reside

I like to think of a local as someone who works to develop,
over a period of time,
some knowledge of the history of a place.
A feeling for the local topography
and some feel of how it is moving in geological time

In terms of the meeting of land and ocean
how is that interface changing?
Since it is always in flux
always moving
there is quite a bit to take in

Then there is knowledge of the
flora and fauna of a place,
as well as
things like climate.
Are we in a drought this year?
Last year? The last five years?

Explicitly important to surfing and surfers
but equally important to fisherman and sailors
What swells reach the coast?
What directions do they come from?
Where are the swells born and what seasons produce which swells?
Oh and how is the wind that time of year?

So a more than a brief and passing knowledge of
the characteristics of a place

not just where the locals park
(although that's good too)

not just a drinking relationship
with the current pack of Alpha males

should characterize
a true local

I hope the next thing
I read about locals
is that they organized
a "Clean Up the Beach" day


from drowning
by paying attention
to some visiting non-locals actions
and by using their "local knowledge"
to identify a dangerous situation
and safely extracted a visitor from harms way.

As to the locals behavior in the water
try to keep in mind
that no one owns the waves
not even the locals
(well maybe the fish, marine mammals, resident crustaceans and sea birds)
and that everyone out
is there
for the same reasons you are.

So share,

When you work to develop
a sense of place
you can appreciate
the beach
the water
and the day
as much as the waves.


pranaglider said…
I've always liked this picture

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