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Beach Grit

Watch: World’s Lamest Surf Assault!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Makes the Chas v Ashton imbroglio look like Foreman v Ali… 

A few days ago, a small crowd was surfing a two-foot windswell at First Jetty, Virginia Beach. It ain’t Pipe but what is.

As recorded by the Surfline cam, and posted on Instagram after the fact, we see a shortboarder, clearly someone who can surf, take off deep on the peak and go left. A longboarder wobbles down the face of the wave from the opposite side of the peak. As they collide, the shortboarder jumps over the other board and the longboarder stays on his craft before flopping off the back of the wave.

A non-event.

Shortly afterwards, the shortboarder, Alex Burdett, who is a twenty-eight-year-old tattoo artist at Ghost Ship Tattoo in town there, was cuffed in the middle of a job and jailed on a charge of assault and battery.

“I asked if I could finish the tattoo and he told me to find a way for them to come back another day,” says Alex, who now has to spend a thousand bucks on a lawyer and stay in Virginia Beach for the next month, missing any swells that hit nearby, but interstate, Cape Hatteras and a vacay in Nicaragua. “I have a completely clean record. It was the only time I’ve been in cuffs outside of the bedroom.”

The accuser, who felt the non-incident was worthy of state intervention, was a kid Alex had taught to surf ten years earlier, a filmer called Jordan Montgomery.

“I pushed him into his first wave. His parents don’t surf,” says Alex. “I saw him do his first floater.”

So talk us through the collision.

“The funny thing is, I fell off my board. I was avoiding a collision. If you look at the video, I’m on a five-two twin and he’s on a ten-foot longboard. He puts two hands on my shoulders and I jump over his board. I didn’t physically touch him. I’m goofy and he’s regular. I can’t jump backwards.

“When the cop turned up in the parking lot at work, I said to my boys, ‘Which one of you fuckers did something?’ No one thought it was me. I didn’t think it had…anything… to do with the incident in the water. As surfers, incidents in the water stay in the water. I thought I taught that to all the people I taught how to surf. If you want to say something, say something. It’s surfing. We should be brothers about it. And I didn’t even say anything in the water. I was a bit pissed that I had a ding in my board, I might’ve said, ‘Fuck’, at worst, but it was a little ding. It wasn’t like he’s fucked my girlfriend or anything.”

As it is, Alex has to hire a lawyer because even if the kid doesn’t turn up in court or tries to drop the charges, it’s The State of Virginia vs Alex Burdett.

How’s he feel about it?

“It was weird sitting in jail thinking about a kid I’d pushed into his first wave sending me to jail over… surfing. It’s insane.”

(If you’re in Virginia Beach and you like neo-traditional tattoos, a little Sailor Jerry spiced up with some realism, and presuming Alex don’t end up in the pen, you can contact him here.)

Watch a higher-res version of the collision and see what passes for assault and battery in 2017!

Do you think brave Ashton Goggans’ flight to the police after experiencing a mild shove from Chas Smith prompted his decision?

Or is it a longboarder thing?

(Note: Jordan Montgomery has been approached for comment.)