Its easy to be in a place for a period of time and start to feel that this place is now your home, but for some people, to be called a local you must have lived in and been a part of that community for least 20 years, while to others unless you were born there you will never be a local.
For us white folk, it’s clear that unless our parents are Thai and we were born in Thailand, then we are not locals. That's not to say we can't call Phuket home, which I'll be the first to put my hand up and say it is, but I do not consider myself a local, I'll always be a farang.
Phuket is a small island, but even so each beach has its own village and unless you are from that village you are not a ‘real’ local. This is also seen in the water, where we now introduce the term 'a territorial beach'.
You may have experienced this, either by being snaked on the wave time after time, had your car tires slashed in the car park, or being blatantly told to leave the beach and that you’re not welcome.
Don't take it personally, unfortunately it is one of surfing’s negative sides, and exists all over the world – not just Phuket. Saying that, Phuket has seen its share of local territorial incidences, but compared to other parts of the world it’s generally very friendly.
The fact that there is even such a thing like locals being territorial in the water contradicts what being a surfer is all about. The ocean and beach is for everyone, and as long as people respect each other in and out of the water then there is no reason why life can't be peachy.
Tim's Tip: When you go surfing in a new spot, respect the locals by saying hello, giving them the first wave and cheering them on as you do it.