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LU

Lindsay Usher

Old Dominion University
Greedy Gringos and Lazy Locals: Analyzing Stereotype Narratives in a Central American Surf Town
Greedy Gringos and Lazy Locals: Analyzing Stereotype Narratives in a Central American Surf Town
Surf tourism has grown exponentially in Central America in the past two decades. With this growth has come an influx of foreign residents to the region, looking for a more relaxed lifestyle, proximity to world-class surf, and business opportunities. Despite surf media depictions of empty surf breaks in unpopulated, lush, tropical locations waiting to be “claimed,” these destinations are home to existing communities that have been there for generations with whom foreigners must coexist. There are often cultural differences between local residents and new foreign residents, resulting in cross-cultural conflict. The purpose of this study is to analyze stereotype narratives about local and foreign residents in a surf destination in Central America. I conducted interviews with local and foreign residents about tourism development, the surf break and interactions in the surf and the community. Foreigners characterized locals as unreliable, resentful and unmotivated. Locals characterized foreigners as controlling, annoyed by the local culture and wanting to stifle development. While there were some positive evaluations on each side, animosity was apparent in both narratives. The results demonstrate how foreigners continue to play the role of colonizers in global South surf destinations, but also provide evidence of local resistance to colonization.