“Nearly every coastal town from Noosa to Bells has been affected by these fires, so the great Australian surfing adventure depicted in Morning of the Earth now looks more like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome."
A deep, dark heat sits over Australia. The rump of our continent burns. You’ve heard the high level stats. Millions of hectares, thousands of properties, dozens of lives taken. Thirty thousand koalas cooked.
But it goes further than that.
Stories of despair and near escapes that you won’t read about in the media are instead are traded in the line up, at the pub, on worksites. It’s estimated a third of the country’s population of twenty-five mill has been exposed to dangerous smoke levels.
As well, a vacuum of national leadership and a stilted response to the catastrophe has left a whole lotta Australians feeling helpless. Lost.
Many are taking things into their own hands.
In two days “the funniest woman on Instagram” Celeste Barber (yes, she of WSL fame) has raised more than $20 million for Australia’s volunteer firefighters via an online funding pledge.
And in the surf world, mysterious underground icon and purveyor of holy artefacts @surfcore2001 has commissioned a one-off run of shirts bearing his iconic label, with all profits going to the fireys and WIRES, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation charity.
Surfcore’s own childhood town was blasted by the fires back in November, as have so many other iconic surf communities before and since then.
“Nearly every coastal town from Noosa to Bells has been affected by these fires, so the great Australian surfing adventure depicted in Morning of the Earth now looks more like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” said Core from his bunker somewhere in the Byron Bay hinterland.
He decided to act.
But what he initially thought would be a trickle of responses has turned into an outpouring of support through the aperture of Australian power surf nostalgia.
Buy in from the core has been overwhelming.
Nineties headliners Margo, Trent Munro, Mick Lowe, Jeremy Byles have all made purchases, along with countless everyday followers.
And so have the A-listers: Slater, Gilmore, Taj, Craig Ando, Luke Egan, the Gudangs.
Even Jessie Milley Dyer put it an order from her Santa Monica high castle.
In less than 24 hours Surfcore has already raised $40,000 for the cause.
“I never wanted to see a VAL or corporate reptile donning my sacred sigils (Maurice Cole tribute logo and Matt Hoy cranking a raucous nooner on the back). But I think I’m ok with a few real estate moguls and WSL employees running the shirt knowing the money is going somewhere good.”
Core reckons getting behind the effort is a no-brainer.
“The act of surfing is as immersed in nature as you can get. Actually, I once saw a photo of a guy with his dick in a beehive, so maybe surfing is a close second. But the Australian east coast to me is the most beautiful and pristine coastal ecosystem on earth, and to see it scorched like this is crushing. Anything we can do to help douse the flames and get our land and people rebuilding is a good thing.”
And to the leaders of Australia, the current high priest of lowbrow surf culture says this:
“Tell your story walking, cunts. Tools down, we want you off site. Our country is in a national crisis, the death toll is rising and our Prime Minister is mincing about Hawaii hoping to brush shoulders with Kelly and his sociopathic soul brother Gabs. Fuckwit behaviour.
I mean, Scomo’s not provoking a ground war in the Middle East, but he’s having a shocker none the less.”
Fifty bucks, Australian.
Cut off will be Tuesday at noon(er) AEDT so get in quick.