What’s in a name? Well, a lot actually. Over the course of the past few weeks, we have had a number of messages asking for names, and or locations of various waves we have shared over social media, and throughout the pages of our latest issue. This is not a new phenomenon. For the most part, we have attempted a lighthearted approach in dealing with such requests. Unfortunately, sarcastic humor is sometimes misconstrued. Scroll through the feed of any surf publication and the perpetual battle between spot preservation and outright naming is ever present. As a magazine, we walk a fine line. Obviously, our goal is to share the best images and stories we can. However, this all has to be done without giving too much away. It’s not that we are trying to alienate some people. It ultimately comes down to trust and respect, nothing more, nothing less. Let’s use fishing as an analogy. You wouldn’t just geo-tag your favorite fishing hole, would you? No, of course not. Not because you’re a selfish person. No, because you don’t trust people to show your honey hole the same respect you do. Whether your fears are founded in overfishing, littering, or even the potential to piss off the landowner who gives you access. You ultimately care passionately for the area and are well within your rights to be protective. Surf spots are the same in many ways. Sure, if you have put in a modest amount of effort to separate yourself from the crowds, and surf alone, you’re probably going to be bummed when you show up to more people in the water. What is an even bigger bummer is when your access to an area is revoked because of a few bad apples. We have all been a little loose-lipped at times, giving spots away. Maybe it’s after a few beers at the local pub, or on vacation when you meet a fellow Canadian surfer. Usually, this information is presented after a certain amount of trust is formed. This bond is far more uncommon and complicated to form in cyberspace. Maybe that’s because we know some people are shameless, and would happily name-drop a spot for a few extra likes.
The point I’m trying to make is, don’t take it personally. Please don’t be offended. Ultimately we have nothing to gain in giving up spots, and everything to lose. If you have a genuine interest in traveling to an area an exploring its surf potential, let me share a few honest tips. First, do a little research. Google Earth is invaluable. You can even see waves breaking in some of the imagery; it’s really that easy. Travel solo if at all possible. You are way less threatening to a local lineup as a solo surfer. Be friendly and polite, this seems obvious, but it’s often overlooked. It’s truly amazing how far a smile or small talk will get you in a lineup. Remember that some people have invested a huge amount of time and resources to find new waves. They have probably even sacrificed many swells in the name of exploration. A sense of entitlement will get you nowhere. There truly is no such this as a free lunch. Show some interest and willingness to put in some work, and you will be that much closer to finding some new waves.