Surfing Vancouver Island  

Localism at Jordan River BC   November 2007  


It amazes me, that at a time when Jordan River Surfers should finally be looking for common ground and uniting in an effort to retain the best possible access to the surf breaks in the area, individuals or groups would commit a series of criminal acts calculated and designed to intimidate BC Surfers from coming to JR. Crowd control by assault and vandalism. As a community, BC surfers keep wishing that the agro locals & oldtimers at JR would extend their influence to make JR a fun and orderly place to surf. Perhaps they don't have the will. Perhaps by being belligerent and isolating themselves from the rest of the surf community for decades they have lost the ability to actually influence things in the water. It's far easier to influence people when they respect and admire you. There are certainly lots of melow, peaceful surfbreaks in Canada and it is the consistent positive influence of the locals at those breaks that is responsible. When surfing at other areas in Canada you surf with some of the kindest and most polite people you'll ever meet, and when they say something in the water it carries weight and people listen. The tactics adopted by agro locals and oldtimers at JR haven't worked to increase order or decrease crowding.

Are the agro locals and oldtimers at JR incapable of change? I gotta say no because when you talk to individuals, you talk to totally normal decent people. When there's a group, it's not so good. Let's hope some among their ranks can change from being enforcers to being peacemakers and lead the way for their buddies, and all that surf at JR. The numbers of people in the water isn't going to decrease, so the key thing is for people to learn how to coexist in the water in peace. Over the last few years I think that's going in the right direction for the most part, a few bad manners and a shortage of surf etiquette aside, so stuff like the recent crimes committed against surfers at JR seems like a really discouraging setback.

Nov 1, 2007: criminal assault on Shane Deringer in front of West Coast Surfing Associates clubhouse & reportedly its membership

An unknown, assailant approached Shane on the beach in front of the clubhouse and berated Shane for taking photos at Jordan River, spat in his face, pushed him around, ripped his tripod from his camera and tried to wrestle the camera away from Shane. It is unclear wether the assailant intended to steal or destroy the camera. Apparently a group of people in front of the clubhouse looked on and even seemed to nod approval to the assailant. If this is so, these particular, individual surfers have no grounds by which to demand respect from anyone in the surfing community. If they are part of a group, that group's reputation has been marked by their lack of intervention. Shame.

The assailant was approximately 5'10, 180 lbs, early 30s and was wearing a wetsuit with the hood up so no hair colour was visible but he is recognizable. After the attack, Shane was unable to take a photo of his assailant as he was saving his camera from saltwater the assailant had splashed on it.

CoastalBC.com is offering a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of this assailant.

Nov 3, 2007: Vandalism, destruction of property belonging to Ed Garlinge - Jordan River, BC

Ed's truck - Jordan River, Nov 3, 2007: Vandalism, destruction of property
Ed's truck - Jordan River, Nov 3, 2007: Vandalism, destruction of property
Ed's truck - Jordan River, Nov 3, 2007: Vandalism, destruction of property
Ed's truck - Jordan River, Nov 3, 2007: Vandalism, destruction of property

Ed's truck - Jordan River, Nov 3, 2007: Vandalism, destruction of property

In the early morning of Saturday November 03, 2007 a vandal, medium build, reddish hair, wearing a wetsuit, carrying a bat and riding a blue bike smashed windows out of a truck belonging to Ed Garlinge. The truck was on the west side of the rivermouth in the pull out. Ed and company were in the water and unaware of the attack. This was done in front of 5 or 6 witnesses, at least one of whom tried to intervene. The intervenening witness was threatened with the bat and had to verbally back off the vandal. The arrival of more witnesess convinced the vandal to retreat. The vandal fled north in front of Shakies then cut through the parking lot at the north end of the strip where the road starts going up the hill. This all occurred before any shops were open at JR.

There seems to be ongoing progress on this case. Apparently there is a name & plenty of witnesses and this guy should surrender and repent. Check back for updates.


CBC interview with Ed Garlinge Tuesday, November 6, 2007 on the vandalism
- real media.ram

Police attended and observed the front passenger, rear passenger and the rear passenger side canopy windows had all been damaged. The bar which separates the canopy windows was also bent. The rear canopy window was also smashed. The front windshield has an indent which appeared to have been caused from a baseball bat. - SookeNewsMirror.com

I have heard a few half way justifications for this violence. That somehow these crime victims should have known what would happen when they showed up at Jordan River.

I've heard that that if they showed up at a big American break they would have got worse.

Clearly people with this attitude have not thought things out. Somehow in the early years of surfing at Jordan River some genius looked at the very worst element of the American surf culture model and decided to adopt it. He or they figured out that if they were hostile to outsiders they could chase outsiders away and have the waves to themselves. Why this works in the states is that local law enforcement are elected and therefore are subject to pressure from local voters. Any sheriff & his staff in an American surf town that arrests a prominent surfer has to wonder if it will affect his employment opportunities in the future. It's well-known that in many American surfing communities the sheriff's office turns a blind eye to acts of vandalism, assault, and battery against outsiders, and without any available recourse visiting surfers must bow to the will of the agro locals. Most Canadians find this model of behavior unacceptable and reject it. To a degree this atmosphere has survived at Jordan River because of its isolation, but mostly because their victims let them get away with it. Surfing localism is an under reported crime in BC. That is to say surfers do not report incidence to the RCMP. If surfers are dead set against contact with the cops, call crime stoppers and report every single incident that you are involved in, or witness, or hear about, and you can even do it anonymously on-line. When it involves a vehicle, report everything to ICBC. Let them gather incident reports so they may understand ongoing problems. Their burden of proof is less and they may well be able to hit a vandal right in his bank account. As Canadians we should not tolerate an active and violent criminal element within our surfing community and at our surfing breaks. That you have attacked someone because they should expect to be attacked if they don't live up to your misguided code of conduct, may not be something you want to say to a presiding judge.

I've heard that earning money from surfing is contrary to surf etiquette and so Ed should have expected something like this.

Very wrong. Surf etiquette has to do with getting into a lineup and getting along once you're there. Research it for yourself. You'll find most examples to be along the lines of surfrider.org.au etiquette page . Anyone dispensing aggression in the name of surf etiquette is quite completely misguided because surf etiquette is about order and manners and no part of that is aggression. The concept that an individual shouldn't earn money through surfing is an attitude you might expect from a "soul surfer". Tens of thousands of surfers earn their living surfing theses days, and none of them should expect to be attacked for it, least of all someone who teaches surf etiquette for a living. We need way more of that in the Canadain surf community. Most surfers, whatever personal choice they make in this respect, understand that they rely on the surf industry to keep them warm in the water and to build their boards for them. Accepting the advantages of modern surf equipment and then cherry picking a few elements of the surf industry that vex you and attacking them, seems like an unconsidered, narrow perspective. That you have attacked someone because they are in the surf industry, may not be something you want to share with a presiding judge.

I've heard that witnesses don't want to rat.

Peers rat on each other, owners manage.

Okay, what does that mean? Inmates rat on each other. Criminal conspirators rat on each other. School kids rat on each other. I am none of these. I am the co-owner of every piece of public property, land, highway, foreshore, and waterway in BC. The trusts that hold these public properties guarantees with some exceptions, free and unfettered access to these properties and waterways. For decades through my taxes I have paid for security which will enforce that guarantee of access. That access will be diminished if all co-owners do not demand and have free and unfettered access for all persons at all times under all circumstances. At times throughout our lives, circumstances arrange themselves so that it falls on each of us to take our turn and stand up for our collective rights. Each individual has to find a way that they can contribute to the common good and be comfortable with what they are doing, how they are doing it, and what they hope to accomplish.

I've heard that surfers shouldn't call in the cops.

This only works for the criminals and is the proven method to ensure escalating localism on the South Island. This is the criminal's favourite dream. Not calling the cops has been a disastrous policy for South Island surfers because this option holds no promise of a solution.

So what are the options to calling 911?

  • answer aggression with aggression, threats with threats and violence with violence. That's the way it is now and it's just way too much negativity.... ongoing, escalating, never ending.
  • take it and shut up about it. That's the way it is now for way too many British Columbians.
  • avoid Jordan River. That's the whole idea behind these crimes.
  • treat the old timers with more respect. People say that the general surfing public doesn't have enough respect for the locals at JR and this is the source of much of the friction and problems. This is absolutely wrong. South island surfers en mass, learned about surfing & respect from the South Island Locals. The problem occurs when BC surfers direct the brand of respect they have learned from South Island Locals back at them and it is invariable mistaken for disrespect and contempt. It's a vicious little circle that revisits its members time and time again. It has a different solution and that is for the agro locals to evolve their interaction with other BC Surfers.
  • so tell us. When there is a criminal act in the name of localism what effective recourse is there besides calling the cops?

At CoastalBC.com we are confident that the majority of BC surfers agree that people who employ violence as a method of crowd control at BC Surf Breaks are a repugnant aberration within Canadian Society. We don't believe that violent criminals should continue to assault and intimidate B.C. surfers or vandalize their vehicles in the name of crowd control. To this end, CoastalBC.com is offering up to $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone committing a criminal code offense in BC against a surfer, photographer, or beach goer as a method of crowd control, that is to say, an act of localism [total per incident/prosecution]. Further, if the evidence is in the form of audio video, or still photos, we will pay a portion of that reward upon receipt [& verification] for publication of those images, whether the case goes to trial or not.

Secondly CoastalBC.com is offering up to $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone committing a misdemeanor vandalism or destruction of property at a BC surf break against a surfer, photographer, or beach goer as a method of crowd control, that is to say, an act of localism [total per incident/prosecution]. Further, if the evidence is in the form of audio video, or still photos, we will pay a portion of that reward upon receipt [& verification] for publication of those images, whether the case goes to trial or not.

Rewards may be collected, returned to the reward fund, or paid to any registered non profit on your instruction.

We will also provide financial assistance for anyone that needs help with travel expenses to give testimony in any BC localism related trial.

Over the years all of my interactions with surfers at Jordan River and all other Canadian surf breaks have been good, to downright pleasant. Of course I have heard all the stories of violent & aggressive South Island localism over the decades. I devised a plan long ago that if I ever ran into crap like that, I would assure any thug that I would be back regularly, camera in hand. My plan was to bring a friend to shoot video surveillance of me shooting photos and being harassed or assaulted. I would also leave a video camera, recording in my vehicle with a wide angle lens pointed out. It seemed like a good strategy to gather video evidence of localism in action. I recognized I might have to take a few lumps, and that if I did not fight back, the video evidence would be far more powerful than if I did.

Video is undoubtedly the best source of evidence against localism in all its forms. When there is a clear video record of a crime, the chance of the guilty plea rises dramatically. Nobody wants to go to court, many don't even want to talk to a cop, but it's high time that B.C. surfers stop tolerating the escalating criminal element at Jordan River. Catch a criminal in the act at any BC surf break and it could get you $1000. CoastalBC will make every effort possible to pay out on as many reward situations as necessary and may those situations be few and far between. We will also try to make all resources necessary, available to the crown, to demonstrate the great effectiveness of giving localist thugs, long probationary periods with a conditional no-go to any surfing breaks in BC. Taking surfing away from people who commit crimes in the name of a surfing lifestyle, has been effective in many jurisdictions around the world. Canadian surf thugs need to know they can't act with impunity.

One last thing. If you have to go to the cops with a complaint you need to make something very clear to them.

You may be a big guy, totally able to take care of yourself but even in that case, every surfer in this position must make it very clear that you do not want to run into a suspect in the lineup and you do not want his arrest or the possibility of retaliation to interfere with your use of the area. The areas in question are remote and police responce times are slow. That the actions of your thug were aimed at the general public for the purpose of crowd control in the area and that your thug presents an ongoing threat to yourself and other surfers.

It is very important that the police understand the nature of localism in relation to your case and the brazen nature of these criminals that act so defiantly in front of witnesses, so they can place "no-go to surf breaks & no approaching surfers", conditions in the suspect's promise to appear order. That saves everyone from the thug while he awaits trial and if he breaks the conditions, he waits for his trial in remand. It is also something that would send a clear message to the surfing community at large, that law enforcement is capable of and willing to, deal with surf thugs.

If you want to help, if you demand free and unfettered access to BC public shorelines & waterways

  • Sooke RCMP 250-642-5241
  • Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)
  • leave tips online at bccrimestoppers.com or victoriacrimestoppers.com where you can also upload photo & video evidence
  • ICBC tips line 1-800-661-6844
  • send your photographic/video evidence to us.
  • Send us the story of your Jordan River incident, observation or comments. Include as much information as you can and we'll post it right here. [day, time, location who was there and if you want your name posted with it]

My Beach Localism - youtube.com

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