Surf Journalist
Here are a few tourists. Always a few at the U.S. Open of Surfing. Photo: Lallande/

Here are a few tourists. Always a few at the U.S. Open of Surfing. Photo: Lallande/

The Inertia

Picture the worst tourists you know. The worst.

Are they just an eyesore? Innocuous, but kind of revolting, too: a pasty quartet of ginger-bred Griswolds begging for second-degree sunburn. Barking in Minnesotan over the last slab of saltwater taffy. Junior’s crying… because he’s got diarrhea and his family is ugly.

Are they slow? Slow in traffic mostly, but also slow at the ATM. Slow in the checkout line. Slow at noticing that rip current is sweeping the kids out to sea. Slow at ordering, consuming, paying for and leaving their meal.

Are they confused? Confused with how an automobile works, why the stoplights have three different colors and what is the meaning behind those cryptic road signs. Confused by the navigational conundrum that is a barrier island with only two true roads. Confused by sand, and why they’re stuck in it.


Are they just clueless? Do they mindlessly throw their cig butts out on the beach, recklessly cut surfers off on set waves, blindly cast their line into a bunch of grommets frolicking in the shorebreak and stupidly leave their cottage a wreck — all because they simply don’t know any better?

Are they angry? Do they give you the bird at the intersection? Scream at their spouses? Stiff you on the tip? Spank their children in the grocery store? Maybe for an encore they’ll start a fight with the bouncer tonight!

Would that be the worst?

No. The worst tourist is the one that stops coming around.

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