Machete Madness




What’s the proper way to confront someone you have an issue with? Well, generally speaking, the polite thing to do is to calmly discuss your differences like a mature, cardigan-wearing adult. You talk it out. You resolve your dilemma with communication. It may sound boring, but it’s what adults are supposed to do… or at least that’s what Mr. Rogers led me to believe. Now that I’m an adult (eh… close enough), I’m starting to realize that the neighborhood isn’t always as beautiful as he made it sound.

Case in point, you’ve probably already seen this video around the Web by now, but I’ll sum it up quickly: Last month, a disgruntled kayaker down in Costa Rica attacked two SUPs (stand up paddlers) with a machete. Why? Well, there are few reasons floating around the Internet, but nothing concrete. The popular theory is that the kayaker might have been angry at the SUPs for being careless with their sizable boards, thus creating a potential danger for others in the water. So, how did he respond? He went after them with a machete—I guess he was just doing his part to make sure the beach was as family friendly as possible. Anyway, some anonymous beachgoer pulled a George Holliday and filmed the whole thing.

So, let’s just go ahead and take a stab (couldn’t resist) at trying to comprehend this whole mess, shall we?

First off, unless you’re confronting the undead or you’re pursuing work as a pirate, settling your disputes with an oversized butter knife is not the way to go. Plus, as you can tell, a machete isn't all that effective as a SUP-sinking weapon (it bounced off the board like a baseball thrown underhand at an M1 Abrams tank). Honestly, it was kind of a let down. I was hoping the board might split in two like the Titanic (cue massive explosion and dramatic, Lord of the Rings music), but alas, Mr. Pirate Penzance was not the swashbuckler I thought he was.

Anyway, what you can probably take from that blurry video is that the whole “SUP controversy” — that stand up paddlers are generally careless and oblivious to the fact they’re piloting floating Cadillacs — is still ringing true. However, are SUPs really the scourge that they’re made out to be? Honestly, no. Sure, there are occasionally SUPs who are negligent, but there are also other surfers (longboarders, shortboarders, etc.), who are just as bad. An issue of carelessness doesn’t really stem from what kind of board a surfer is riding; it typically originates with the surfer himself.

So, all in all, SUPs aren’t that bad… they’ve just got a bum rap. Also, one should never try and solve their social problems with cutlery — it’ll just result in you getting made fun of in another country. Thank God for the Internet. 

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A Guide to the South Bay Surf and Action Sports Scene

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My name is Stefan Slater, and I’ll be your guide to the South Bay surf and action sports scene. My blog, Catching Air, features all of the info you need to know about this engaging (and sometimes eccentric) sports community. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the water.  

Stefan is a freelance writer, and has been surfing since he was 13. 

For more news on the LA surf scene, check out his website: www.stefanaslater.com

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