At what point do you tell a local to fuck off, for instance?
The other week I wrote an article about Surf Europe magazine hating Spain.
When I realised no one had understood it, I began to wonder: am I too smart for BeachGrit or does my writing suck?
Anyway, this morning I was out at a Spanish beachbreak, feeling self-conscious about my fanboy-red Reynolds-shortarm steamer (since I snapped my ACL I no longer surf at the level such a wetsuit requires).
This embarrassment, plus the fact that I’m not a local, meant that when a bald man paddled aggressively past me to catch the best wave of the set I kept my mouth shut and let him have it.
Despite the cuckold, I accepted my status as a flamboyant nobody.
To take my mind off the sudden injustice, I turned my thoughts to BeachGrit, becaming so engrossed with Storm Boy’s constructive criticism of my writing debut —“Fuck me dead you cunts will publish just about anything”— that I almost missed the snake paddling back out and settling down next to me, without acknowledgment.
For the next twenty minutes, with every wave Señor caught, my resentment grew. Tired of picking up scraps, I returned to the outside peak to wait my turn, an immovable red object against a backdrop of onshore three-footers and bemused Spaniards.
Finally, finally, it was my turn to go a semi-decent righthander.
Señor had other plans, and tried to snake me again at the last minute. He wasn’t getting away with it this time though, and we both ended up paddling out to meet the wave. As if noticing my presence for the first time, he snarled and swung around, thrashing over the tail of my board to get to the inside.
Kicking up a bunch of water in my face, I decided to grab his leg rope.We both missed the wave and he began waving his arms.
“Que haces?” I asked.
“What am I doing? What am I doing!? What the fuck are you doing?!!” he screamed in Spanish.
“You paddled straight across me”.
I gestured at the mangled tail of my board.
“Bullshit! You were staring out at sea! I paddled first!”
“I was in the perfect spot, waiting for the wave to come to me. I had priority”.
Was it worth trying to reason with someone like this?
“Prioridad? Hah! Prioridad en tu casa…”
Priority? he laughed — priority in your house.
I refrained from pointing out there wasn’t a house in sight and went home shaking. Never have I got such a kick out of surfing mediocre waves.
Tell me your thoughts.
- If you show respect but get none in return, does that warrant a revenge snake/drop in/leash pull?
- Is a subtle snake any better than a blatant snake?
- Is learning to snake and not-be-snaked a mark of your experience and skill level or a reflection of how greedy and self-entitled you are?