Recently I received a typical and predictable letter from a Californian who was upset over a tiny, unidentified photograph of “his spot that I had published in a now-defunct women’s surf magazine.
Unedited excerpt from the letter:
“we have surfed that spot for over 35 years and have kept a pretty good watch over it. i was very dissapointed to see that you published a picture of a sacred place like that in the magazines. We live in a very tight nit area and exploitation is not allowed. so my question for you is why did you do such a thing? what did you get out of publishing pictures of our surf spot…it does not belong in the surf industry….
So I asked myself (no stranger to California’s “localized and/or “secret spots): How is it considered “exploitation if a spot isn’t identified/mapped in a surf magazine, and how does a spot like the one this gentleman referred to–a very well-known reef clearly visible from Highway 1–“not belong in the surf industry? (Hey, which spots do “belong in the surf industry, anyway?)
Dear reader, ask yourself: Because a person has surfed a spot more than you have, and because he/she lives closer to it than you do, does that innately grant this person the right to dictate what may or may be done regarding the spot? Does it give this person, one surfer in a world of millions, the right to forbid photography (exploitation?) of an ancient wave that truthfully is no secret spot, particularly if it breaks in plain view of thousands of non-local surfers who drive past it every year–a wave that, on the right swell, has dozens (if not hundreds) of those same non-local surfers checking and/or surfing it?
Kew’s Corner wants to know: Do you preside over a “sacred road-side surf spot in your area? If so, please explain, and how do you prevent it from being exploited, and why?
Send all opinions, rants, love letters, spam, hate mail, fight/death threats, and photos (oh no!) of your exclusive wave to: email@example.com.
And stay tuned to transworldsurf.com!