Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Worst People at the Beach

The ocean is huge, but not huge enough, apparently, for everyone to share it nicely. When there are a lot of people who want to use the water in different ways, conflict among opposing groups is inevitable. But which group of water users is the worst; the grouchiest, the grumpiest, the most obnoxious, territorial, self-absorbed, reckless, annoying, and/or dangerous? I'll let YOU decide, with the new poll in the sidebar and the "voters guide" below.

VOTERS' GUIDE - Note: Visual aids have been selected for entertainment value and may be only vaguely relevant

*Is it recreational fishermen? Camraderie among the brotherhood of anglers is usually pretty good, uniting generations, ethnic groups, and once-in-a-while gender. Yet, recreational fishers can have a somewhat inflated sense of entitlement with regards to "their" fish, "their" turf, "their" water, etc. Occasionially this leads to "rod rage" (the cousin of road rage and 'roid rage). Why, just the other day at the Fort Pierce Jetty, a fisherman irked by the close-passes of some kiteboarders deliberately cast a heavy lure at one, horribly entangling it in the woman's hair.

*But maybe it's the kiteboarders' fault? They do tend to get awfully caught up in their own showing-off, they take up a ton of space on the water and on the beach, and whether they're in control or not, they always seem like an accident waiting impatiently to happen.

*It's hard to turn a critical eye to ones' self, but windsurfers like me might not be the sweetest sharers, either. Our sail-side blind spots and myopic, zoned-out speeding make us like errant asteroids on collision trajectories with whoever or whatever else is on the water. Even on the beach, our scythe-like fins, battering ram boards, and swinging mast-lances are a menace to passers by.

*But what's up with those aimless beach-goers and looky-loos crowding like lemmings around the water's edge, right in the way of our more serious recreation? Why must they torment us with their blank stares, and the same, stupid questions over and over. "Lotta para-boarders out today, huh? Are there any sharks in this lake?"

*One group most people can agree to hate are the jet-skiers. Noisy, stupid, instant-gratification water-play for those without the skill to bait a hook, the fitness to pull a paddle, or the focus to balance on a board. But darn if those overpowered water-hornets aren't fun when you actually ride one yourself.

*The opposite of jet-skiers are the surfers. Surely they must be the most peaceful, low-key, in-tune players in the ocean? Nope. They've got a ridiculous, Lord-Of-The-Flies - style pecking order for who gets "their" waves. They're quick to administer verbal assaults and aquatic beatdowns among their own, and even quicker to gang up on other water users who might stray into their turf.

So, who is it gonna be?


dan said...

Please show the video clip of the Fort Pierce fisherman casting and hooking the kite-boarder in the head. Was there any wagering involved and were other fishermen also attempting to gash a KB? Did this pull the KB off the board? Was there any cheering from the other fishermen when the guy was impaled? How deep was the hook in his skull? Was there massive bleeding? Did the fisherman and the KB have a beer afterwards and plan to get together sometime? Thanks for a great article.
Take good care (especially in Fort Pierce),

PeconicPuffin said...

There's no doubt that the answer has to be jetskiers. All the other categories may contain some bad apples...as does windsurfing (very few, but we have a small share of clowns.) Just the sound of jetskies is offensive, and they certainly seem to be asshole magnets. I read a great quote over ten years ago:
"90 percent of jetskiers ruin it for the other 10%"

-Michael (who was wavesailing about 100 yards from some surfcasting fishermen a few days ago in tight quarters...we all made it work.)

Johnny Douglass said...

Do you remember when you accidentally caught a jetski when we were trolling in our little motorboat? That was poetic justice. Only time I've ever seen a reel literally smoke when the drag pulled out fast.

Sergey Menshikov said...

Very entertaining article and videos - I had a great laugh!

I remember symbolic justice was served when Andy Brandt easily overtook a jetski during camp lesson in Rio Vista - they just could not open it up in a chop :)

John I said...

There are some comments with a good bit of merit over on the iWindian forum. Still, I voted a nasty on jet skiers. They have the heaviest things going pretty darn fast, and they jump waves without enough safety to others in mind. Oh, and they pollute the worst too. James, please email me something, I lost your address in too hasty a purge, last go about...