Localism always has been and always will be prevalent in society. Everything that has breath somehow feels as though it owns special rights and privileges to its place of birth.
Surfers are no exception, holding a territorial resentment toward those who dare ride the waves upon which they were raised. In Isla Vista, there are no true locals; the city is composed of students from all over the country, and if a resident isn’t a student, there’s a good chance that their father or grandfather was. Because localism can’t be developed around here, students hold onto their NorCal/SoCal identities, defending their home brakes and the surfers who reside there.
Who does it better?
Tough call. The endless rivalry between NorCal and SoCal is on the rise in the surfing world. As far back as Californians can remember, the Southern half has claimed itself the sunny, stoked out slice, while the Northern region holds tight to its hella gnar-gnar ties. The endless dispute over which area births better surfers, rips harder and has a more epic wave isn’t fading away. It is close to impossible to try and persuade a surfer that the “other side” – his or her half of the California coast – isn’t all they have been brought up to believe. For some reason, people stand up for their half of California as if there were an age-old war yet to be fought, whipping out their local lingo and in doing so making the others want to hurl. But which half has the better waves, conditions and surf life? We’d all like to know, but it depends whether the loser is willing to back down and let it go.
As of this past year, SoCal’s Huntington Beach has trademarked the title “Surf City, USA” over the NorCal rival Santa Cruz, which has used the name for its colder waters for a long time. Huntington Beach hosts the yearly U.S. Open of Surfing and is home to one of the finest surfing museums in California. Does this mean that SoCal wins? Not quite.
Museums are cute, and surf comps are nice, but that doesn’t prove that SoCal beats the NorCal swell. SoCal does have warmer waters where surfers cruise in trunks year-round if possible, giving off that warm, summery SoCal vibe. But it’s the northern, colder coast where waves pick up, requiring more gear and commitment.
So far, it comes down to what you’re willing to sacrifice for surf. Do you want to dress up in your cute hoodie, wetsuit and booties and look like a black ninja to catch that fast, consistent barrel and get lost in a judo world? Or would you rather chill out in the comfort of warm, easy-going surf, requiring little effort or ninja style.
What’s up with NorCal and those buckets? Really, do have so much crap to help you surf that you have to bring it in a bucket wherever you go? That’s beside the point, but a little sketchy. Question is, do you know the meaning of patience or do you charge every wave that comes your way?
If the dispute of where the real surfers come from is ever going to be resolved, a surf contest is the only way. A competition between surfers who have grown up in either upper or lower California, where they have learned and loved to surf, is the only fair way to which half of California is home to the real surfers. This should probably take place at UCSB sometime soon so we can decide for ourselves who’s got the hella raddest “Surf City.” All you kids decided to go to school in the beautiful town of Santa Barbara, so it’s about time you give up what you’ve previously thought and start searching for the best waves you can find here. The true surfers hope you won’t find them. No one cares if you’re NorCal or SoCal; suck up your pride and surf.
If not, get off of these waves. Really – go home.