The debate as to whether surfers living within walking distance of the beach should go surfing or not in places it hasn’t been banned, and whether those who are against should be quite as strident in their moral condemnation of those who do has been comprehensively covered in the surf media.
There has been much less of a debate as to whether anybody should be driving up and down the coast in the hunt for a wave, an apparent area of consensus among surfers.
So when world no.6 Kanoa Igarashi felt the ire of Peniche locals earlier this month, driving to the area’s more secluded breaks to surf and getting all 4 tyres slashed while in the water, you might have expected the Lisbon-based Japanese surfer to stick closer to home.
And yet apparently undeterred by the incident, reports came through this week that Igarashi drove the 400km from his home in Cascais to surf in the Algarve, where he was met with further disapproval from members of the local surfing community.
Former CT surfer Marlon Lipke reposted a video on his IG showing Kanoa surfing a 2ft onshore right while being heckled from the cliff by a local.
The chorus of disapproval translates as, “(If you) Live in Lagos? Can’t surf. I can’t surf, but the American can come and surf anyway.”
Marlon wrote: “I don’t even believe in all the media but I have respect for all the people going through hard times and I’m staying at home”
“And then you have idiots driving from Lisbon to the Algarve surfing our home spots and shitting on everything #norespect”
Other disapproving Algarve locals wasted little time in letting Kanoa know their feelings through an exchange of DM’s in which Kanoa made lengthy, reasoned explanations as to why he’d made the journey to surf, as well as explaining his vision of the new reality we’re set to be living in for the forseable future.
Unsurprisingly, his arguments were given very short shrift. “Next time you come here, you better hope you don’t run into me, etc etc.”
Meanwhile, a movement is underway in Portugal to allow people back in the sea from May 3rd. The Voltar Ao Mar (Return to the Sea) campaign has been widely shared by surfers in the country, calling for a reopening of beaches for surfing with 4m social distancing, 90 min session limits and ‘surf and leave’ limitations.
Notably, the poster carries the World Surf League branding and well as the Portuguese Surfing Association (ANS) logo.
How, when (and if) various lockdowns transition back to something resembling normality this spring/summer remains to be seen, although with noises coming out that international travel looks increasingly unlikely this year, it seems that 2020 might be the year surfing appreciated the homebreak more than ever.
Cover image: WSL