Title: Re-defining localism: an ethnography of human territoriality in the surf

Authors: Lindsay E. Usher; Deborah Kerstetter

Addresses: Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies, Human Movement Sciences Department, Old Dominion University, Student Recreation Center, Room 1003, Norfolk, VA 23529-0196, USA ' Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, The Pennsylvania State University, 801 Ford Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA

Abstract: Surf tourism is a growing segment of the tourism industry that is affecting many developing countries as surfers travel to find perfect, uncrowded waves. With the influx of tourists, local surfers often feel the need to defend the waves they surf every day. This phenomenon is known as localism, which is a form of human territoriality. This ethnographic study analyses localism using a territoriality framework in one surf tourism destination on the coast of Nicaragua. It is based on two months of field work, including observations and interviews, with local surfers, resident foreigners and tourists in and around the Popoyo Reef surf break. The findings show that localism is far more complex than previously conceived by many surfers. Not all local surfers felt the same about the space and while they did exhibit ownership, defined boundaries and regulated behaviour in the surf, they were still willing to share the space with others.

Keywords: surf tourism; surfing; localism; human territoriality; Nicaragua; ethnography; local surfers; developing countries; indigenous communities; tourism anthropology; ownership; defined boundaries; regulated behaviour; sharing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2015.071930

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2015 Vol.4 No.3, pp.286 - 302

Received: 30 Sep 2013
Accepted: 16 Apr 2014

Published online: 24 Sep 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article