A Black surfer is claiming that he was subjected to racist vandalism while trying to surf in Jupiter, Florida this week.
According to the Instagram account black.surfers, while Andrew Sherlock Mills was trying to enjoy a day on the water, a group of white surfers stole his board and then nailed it to a tree, telling the Black man he wasn’t welcome in area waters.
“This is how real the racism and hate is in Jupiter, Florida,” Mills told Black.surfers. “They can’t stand to see a Black man in their waters. I was told I’m not welcome. Stole my board when I turned my back and they did this. Said it was a message. They nailed it to the tree like a lynching.”
He continued, “I took the board down, stayed and surfed the whole day with a small board to show face. A few locals that were there were apologizing and agreed it was wrong. They did say, after what happened, I’m welcome to surf their waters freely and no one will bother me. I’m just going to leave it in God’s hands”
The Black.surfers IG account posted about the incident on their page, condemning racism and showing support for Mills.
“White supremacy is a sickness, a vile thing that rears its head in so many ways,” the page wrote. ”@sherlockdown is a Black surfer, father, and husband, and was subjected to racially motivated vandalism and a symbolic lynching of his board.”
The page also called on the community to help identify the men.
“[Mills] says it was someone from the Jupiter surf crew,” the page wrote. “For those in that area, that may know who did this, who do not want the actions of a few to stain the perception of their community, please come forward so we may demand an apology and acknowledgment of the pain they have caused.”
According to the Surfer blog The Inertia, racism in the surfing world isn’t anything new.
Unfortunately, this would be far from the first incident of racism in the world of surfing. Look no further than Miki Dora, a widely revered figure in the sport, proudly spray painting a swastika on his surfboards and declaring himself a white supremacist. For that matter, look at the entire Surf Nazi movement.
Although the sport has Polynesian origins, it was been adopted by white Americans who have since tried to make surfing their own.
Jess Ponting, founder and director of San Diego State University’s Center for Surf Research, told NBC News that white people have a history of trying to colonize surfing.
“The Outrigger Club in Waikiki in 1911 was a way of making this exclusive club for white people,” Ponting said. “It was also an attempt to appropriate surfing as a white sport, and in America it was kind of successful.”
It’s sad when you can’t even enjoy a hobby that was created by Black and Brown people because white racists decided they wanted it from themselves. First, it was jogging while Black, then driving while Black and now Black surfers have to watch their backs because of course waves are only for whites (That’s sarcasm by the way).
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