A teenager and two adults have been shot at while surfing in New Zealand. The three were surfing at Albatross Point, off the Taharoa coast to the west of the North Island when the shooting happened.

The break, which is in a typically picturesque yet remote area, is plagued by localism - a form or territorialism common in some more militant surfers who don’t want people they don’t approve of surfing in their spots. Albatross Point is considered by many who surf it as “invitation only”.

The three victims traveled out to the break on jet skis, and while in the water, the 14 year old and two adults with him were shot upon by two people on the shore. Local police have confirmed that they are investigating the incident.

"Localism - aggressive hostility towards strangers - is not uncommon in surfing"

It has been reported that the three surfers heard two initial shots but assumed they were accidental misfires by local hunters. However, a third shot landed just metres from the group, and the teenager realised they were actually being deliberately targeted. The three then spotted the two men on the shore that they believe to be responsible, who then started shouting abuse at them.

Speaking on behalf of the local police, Senior Constable Jonathan Maoate told the press “The identity of the people on the ridgeline is unknown at this stage. We are ensuring the victims are supported and are making a number of enquiries to establish the circumstances. This includes speaking with people in the community. Police would like to remind people that the ocean is for everyone’s use and enjoyment.”

Localism - aggressive hostility towards strangers - is not uncommon in surfing communities around the world. Surfers can be very protective of certain spots in the ocean, and for varying reasons. Often, it’s because the quality of the surf in a given spot can be very good, and they don’t want to share the waves with large crowds.

However, sometimes surfers are vehemently protective of certain areas because it’s just too dangerous for inexperienced surfers to handle. And sometimes, such as with the river break along the Eisbach in central Munich, locals harass and intimidate inexperienced surfers because, while authorities tolerate surfing there, locals know one serious injury could see the spot shut down permanently.

In January this year, a surfer in Britain had his van vandalised by furious locals after he published photos online of a secret spot in Plymouth. His tyres were punctured and his van had the words “surf snitch” and “kook” painted on it, along with receiving threats of physical harm online.

H/T: The Guardian

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