It's a story of localism that could have turned to drama. This happened last Thursday on the coast of Taharoa in New Zealand. A father, his friend and his 14-year-old son were shot three times in the middle of a session.
The 3 surfers had decided to offer themselves a session on this very isolated spot of Albatross Point, recognized for its not very welcoming premises. But while the 3 surfers took advantage of the nice conditions offered by the spot that day, they were shot 3 times by people located in the hill (3 or 4 meters from them according to the police).
If "normally", the acts of localism are limited to a windshield full of wax, a tire or two punctured or a slap which flew away, this time, the situation is much more serious. It's not even localism anymore. It's attempted murder.)
The 3 surfers: a father, his son and a friend, are from Te Awamutu, a small village in the interior of the country about 1 hour from the spot where the accident took place. Asked by the local newspaper Stuff, the surfers said they thought the first shot must have been a stray bullet from a hunter. But as soon as a second and third shot followed, they realized that they were indeed the target of the individuals.
"The second shot was much closer than the first and the third landed even closer," said Sergeant Andy Connors.
The three surfers (shocked but safe) told the police that they saw people shouting at them aggressively just after the shooting. Unfortunately, they have not been able to distinguish the faces of these two people and for the moment, the police are not able to prove whether or not they are the perpetrators of the shots.
The spot in question is known as Albatross Point, a wave very similar to that of Raglan (without the number of surfers on it). A wave that the locals describe as an "invitation wave".
"In the time I've known this place and the people who surf it, I can tell you that it's a wave that you surf only if you're invited," told Stab a local from Raglan, "It's one of those places in New Zealand that is not yet affected by tourism and building construction. The people who live here were born here. And unfortunately, this accident will draw attention to the place.
A much less violent explanation than what follows: "If people invite you to surf there, okay you can go. That's how it works. If you are not allowed to come or are not offered anything, you should not think that you have the right to surf this wave.
Initial reports suggest that this is not the first time this practice has been used to protect this spot. "Several fishermen have already been shot. It's been going on for years," one could read on Facebook, commenting on a post posted by the local police.
At this stage of the investigation, the shooters have not yet been arrested. If the deterrent effect certainly worked on these 3 unfortunate surfers (imagine, getting shot at at at 14 because you're surfing...) the accident might highlight this hitherto ignored part of the New Zealand coast.