Is this the future of localism?
Do you recall last summer when a teenager at Salt Creek, a gorgeous slice of sand in Orange County’s champagne escape of Dana Point, California, was slapped for his transgressions against an older surfer?
The story was the most hotly debated topics on BeachGrit in 2017, creating a schism between surfers on whether grom abuse is ever warranted and, in this case, whether it deserved police intervention.
The real winner in the whole drama was Michael Ciaramella, whose story about London Almida on BeachGrit summoned Christian Fletcher into the fray and ultimately led to a compelling interview.
Even the teen’s dad, Chris Almida, was moved to post an outpouring on the Facebook page of London’s coach Ian Cairns.
The incident at Salt Creek last week involving my family has brought many issues to the surface both positive and negative and I have decided that there is nothing to be gained for anyone by further action on my part and as such I have no intention to pursue any legal recourse. While I respectfully disagree with the idea that bullying is ever justified or that violence is merited as a response to “disrespect” or misbehavior, I can appreciate that others have a different view. It has been very hard to hear this negative feedback and I have run through the gamut of responses from defensive to anger to righteous indignation and finally to resolution that this must be made right.
One bit of feedback that has rung true is that I need to take a deep look in the mirror and see what part I am playing in the creation of this dynamic. In looking deeply at what I have role modeled I can see the many ways that I have been selfish, aggressive, entitled and easily offended. While I tend to exhibit these traits in a passive aggressive manner they are none the less what I have unwittingly role modeled to my son. This behavior has set my wife into a mode of protection within our family that has been expressed outwardly when the same dynamic plays out in the wider world. For my part I do apologize – first to my family, to my friends and peers and to the surf community as a whole. My lack of acknowledgement and ownership of this behavior has ultimately created this situation and the blame lies squarely with me. I will continue to dive into the root of these issues and work to unravel this behavior and do better for my sons, wife and all.
In respect to London, he has as you may imagine, had to face some serious introspection and participate in some very difficult conversations. He has had to take ownership of how others have experienced him both positively and negatively. London is a good kid with no negative intentions and he will be working hard to show this by his actions and engagement with others.
In peace and aloha and with hope for a new beginning for all involved I offer my apology.”
Well, it appears, possibly, as if London hasn’t quite grasped the concept of respecting proper lineup etiquette. Sources in southern California say Almida has continued dropping in on long-time locals without fear of repercussion. These same sources claim the reason he doesn’t fear any blowback is because his mother, waiting on the beach, is allegedly very quick to call local police.
Fed up with the antics and not wanting to wait till the kid turns 18, where it’d be less of a legal battle to give him a physical deterrent for surfing without traditional manners, an online petition has been started to ban Almida and his family from Salt Creek under the guise that they drain taxpayers dollars with the various police calls etc.
Is this the future of localism? In an age where a smartphone video can be cut, edited, and posted to social media to instantly create a trial of public opinion, is this the only way to curb violence and bad behavior?
If you like this sort of bloodless bureaucratic revolution, you can sign here!