Ackerman Sounds Off!
After a recent session at an undisclosed big wave bommie, you were quite vocal in voicing your displeasure at the amount of people in the line up who were getting in the way. What was frustrating you?
It’s funny you know, I’ve come across as the grumpy one and yes I was but it was also a combination from not only me but others in the line-up. These days with the “power” of social media if you wanna call it that. Everyone’s so worried about their image and they don’t want to be portrayed as that grumpy guy in the line-up.
I’m frustrated by the lack of respect in line ups these days and lack of respect for these locations also.
What I mean by lack of respect in the line up is,
A) If you aren’t competent and / or its out of your league, please just move aside or ease your way into it. I’m seeing so many people these days going into stores like your Patagonia shops, purchasing an impact vest and instantly thinking they’re bullet proof.
B) Social media. Everyone knows you don’t post on the day of the swell, it’s so easy for someone to search the location of where the break is and screenshot the charts, sit and wait for similar numbers jump in the car with a bunch of mates and chase it. Now that’s all well and good chasing waves with friends. But when you’re all spamming it online on the day of the swell to feed your own ego? It’s not cool. It attracts incompetent people to waves that they seriously cannot handle. If shit hits the fan and you’re incompetent and or scared you’re only going to make matters worse. I cannot stress that enough!
In your opinion what is driving the increase in crowds in these types of waves?
Social media & Covid.
Unfortunately, we’re in a strange time where we’ve had our freedom taken away from us so to speak. At the same time we’ve also been given a lot more freedom in a way, at least in Australia. With things like Job keeper & loses of jobs, it’s like a once in a lifetime opportunity to go explore & still get paid whether you’re at work or not. The dream you could say!?
People have taken full advantage of that and why wouldn’t you? That’s where the problem comes into play. With social media having such a big presence in our day-to-day life, everyone feels the need to post everything they do. Now I’m not talking about everyone but a majority of. They’re travelling up or down the coast to post on their social platforms, making others want to travel to that spot as well and post it on their platform.
When you respect a coastline, which you should no matter where you go. However you see people come in trash the place, spam it online then leave, it’s disheartening. The locals become frustrated, you become frustrated, the line ups change. It goes from being a place where you’re all hooting each other in and pushing your own limits, to trying to get out of the way of people who are incompetent. You have really bad encounters because those who don’t know what they’re doing freak out and put not only themselves at risk but those around them. It becomes one giant headfuck.
In waves of consequence, how dangerous can people in the line up not knowing what they are doing be?
Massive!!! I cannot stress enough. If it’s out of your league, shit hits the fan, you are going to freak straight away and we all know in crazy situations you need to be cool calm & collect. Easier said than done at times. That’s where you become a liability more than anything else and a nuisance.
Now amplify that with multiple people surfing at places that are out of their league and it becomes frustrating for those who want to give it a crack. Constantly having to duck & weave those people. Always worrying about burning someone or not seeing someone because of your own frustration which could lead to someone getting in trouble because you’ve unintentionally burnt them, thinking that they have pulled back for the millionth time in the session, but you’ve got respect for each individual out there giving it a crack.
It’s a tough one and the reality unfortunately is, we will always have these issues. It doesn’t hurt to voice them though and hopefully those who are wanting to push their limits can see that or read these types of articles with an open mind and see where we’re coming from.
Can you give us any examples of any incidents or near misses you’ve experienced in busy line ups?
Personally, Ive been extremely lucky and haven’t had to many or witnessed to many either. In saying that, one near miss a few years ago very nearly cost me my own life. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was just a simple miscommunication that’s all.
It just goes to show how quick one wrong thing can turn into something extremely bad and / or worst-case scenario a fatality.
The worst incident I’ve been a part of was pre-covid. I won’t mention the location or names. It’s the perfect example of how quickly shit can hit the fan.
Someone got towed into a wave, not a very big one for this particular place & they come unstuck. From my view it didn’t look bad, but seconds later it was a two wave hold down, knocked unconscious and face down. Thankfully we got to him in time, a few rescues breaths and onto a boat quick smart. The ambulance guys told him once he became conscious, “those boys quick actions saved your life”. Thankfully he has since made a full recovery.
What do you think can be done to make these line ups safer?
Now this is a real hard one, because surfing is such an individual sport and we as surfers are known to be selfish as fuck.
In an ideal world; look out for each other, respect the line-up and who’s spent time out there, but the most over looked thing I personally feel is doing a course. Whether that’s a big wave course, first aid, something that you can be confident in for if shit hits the fan. You can response correctly and potentially save someone’s life if it comes down to it.
Watch the clip below for some of the action from the day, and hear Shane’s raw option at the end of the clip.https://youtu.be/XBumpXo-Us8