Many furious emails, messages, DMs regarding my flippant bastard position

Chas Smith on the ongoing disaster bigger than COVID-19: “Does death only matter when it potentially touches someone we know?”

Many have likely flown over bodies being thrown into pits on their way to a fine and fun surf vacation.

I am a flippant bastard, true, and horrible. Fallen, callous, an asshole to the nth degree and deserve all the scorn I’ve been dished plus so, so much more.



A surf journalist.

But this Coronavirus Apocalypse, this End of Times, will either be the hill we traipse over or the hill I die upon.

Many furious emails, messages, DMs regarding my flippant bastard position even though I myself am isolated.

Not surfing. Shut away in protection of others.

But I’m banking on the former.

That this will be a hill we traipse over then some of us will, should be embarrassed.

Now, let’s look.

Let’s think.

Worldwide death toll from China’s Great Gift is currently at 20k though climbing. Each a tragedy.

Each a travesty but would you like to know how many people died in Yemen during the last few years?

The vast majority equally innocent and from deaths much more traumatic?

Children by the wheelbarrow full?

Very near 200,000 in “directly target attacks” many more including starvation, lack of medicine, lack of care and lack of care.

A tragedy/travesty beyond scope yet so very few agitated people who screams about “self-isolation” and toeing that line knows or cares.

Many have likely flown over bodies being thrown into pits on their way to a fine and fun surf vacation.

So what?

Does death only matter when it potentially touches someone we know?

Does it matter only when our western hospitals are theoretically being overrun?

Tell me, please.

I’d love to know.

Dispatch from Bali: “The beach closures here feel like a worse sentence than the predicted zombie apocalypse!”

Is there any sight sadder than a surfer walking home from the beach with a freshly waxed, dry surfboard?

This is the first time anyone I know can remember when the Holy Day of Nyepi here in Bali was extended an additional 24 hours.

With an addendum that all beaches will be closed until further notice.

I woke up to the news this morning, March 26, expecting at least to be able to dash out to the local bottlo to replace my slab of beer.

No dice.

On an island that has the only international airport on earth that completely shuts down for a religious holiday, Nyepi is taken as seriously as you take yours. The Pecalang are out in force, the saronged neighborhood enforcers, making sure everybody continues to observe this New Year’s celebration and the brand new beach ban.

Among other things, Nyepi is also meant to bore the evil spirits of the island.

Bore them so badly that they will leave and find better human mischief elsewhere (Buckle up Sydney).

By the way, it’s only 1942 here in Bali. The Balinese calendar making us all much younger than we thought. The ultimate de-aging treatment.

It feels pretty good having a negative number as my age. A chance to begin again. And wrong all the rights I have committed in this world gone mad.

And speaking of mad, a friend of mine just told me a story.

Over the phone, of course.

To him, with the beach closures here feeling like a worse sentence than the predicted zombie apocalypse, he went for surf.

Or tried to.

The surf was one-to-two-foot today, sunny and straight offshore at Kuta Beach. A rarity during the monsoon.

My mate figures that if this is what global warming is gonna look like then “Greta can stand down”.

He also boasted about his all board quiver.

“I have everything from a hand board to a Hypto to a gun to a longboard. That way when it comes to waves, size never matters!”Echoing the thoughts of my Brother Sam who once said “There is never any bad surf, only bad boards”.

The Pecalang nabbed my mate anyway.

He tried to reason with them in the name of all surfers. In broken Indonesian no less.

It went something like this: His point was that it’s ok to close the beaches to “beach enthusiasts” and “surf bathers”.

He is nothing of the kind. He is only interested in the waves beyond the shorebreak.

And with an empty line-up being the safest place to be these days, he was only looking after his health.

You see? Yes, the Pecalang reasoned, in broken English no less, that made sense.

But didn’t he have to cross the closed beach to get to the waves?

This stumped my mate until he offered to paddle down a river into the surf, would that work?

Sure, they said, but have you ever tried paddling up a river to get home?

That was the end of it.

A small fine and a surfer walking home from the beach with a freshly waxed, dry surfboard.

Is their any sight sadder?

My mate says he is still thinking about how to get to the surf without crossing the beach.

He’s made it up to joining the military to become paratrooper or building a giant yo-yo or becoming a commercial fisherman.

But his river concept stuck with me. As a metaphor for the desire to go surfing. The surfona virus.

When it’s on, all we can think of is a one way ticket to ride.

But until we fill our quota, how often do we think about how to get home?

Now turn that around.

Our real home is the beach.

Now just how the hell are we gonna get back there?


Big Brother: New Zealand police commandeer surf cams to identify, arrest surfers out violating country’s draconian Coronavirus quarantine laws!

Welcome to 1984.

Imagine having bonked your head six weeks ago and falling into a coma from which you just woke. Asking for a newspaper you realize that martial law has gripped hold of the entire world, life is now an odd reflection of Blade Runner and police officers are using surf cams in New Zealand to identify and arrest surfers who dared paddle out into the water.

It’d be enough to knock you right out again.

To be quite honest, I’ve never trusted surf cams and to learn of their early adoption by law enforcement surprises very little but let’s go to New Zealand’s Stuff for more. The piece begins as all “surfing in the time of Coronavirus” do these days…

Surfers took to the waves in Raglan in spite of the coronavirus lockdown and calls from locals that no-one should be surfing.

Police spoke to surfers at Manu Bay on Thursday about how they got there, as driving to surf was not considered essential travel, acting Waikato District Commander Inspector Andrew Mortimore told Stuff.

Surfing – even solo – is a no-no while New Zealand is at alert level four and Raglan Point Boardriders chairperson Luke Hughes said they were asking people not to surf at Raglan.

Before veering wildly into dystopian totalitarianism…

Surf2Surf, which provides live cameras of New Zealand surf reports and swell forecasts, said police and NZ Coastguard are now using their cameras.

They were tweaking and adding some camera views for them and would be stopping their camera imagery to the public, as well as reports and forecasting.

And does this turn surprise you? That surf cams would be used for evil so quickly? Again, it doesn’t me. I’ve never trusted them or liked them and I think that Surfline should do the world a favor and shutter its website before American jackboots can be heard outside its Huntington Beach door.

I think the whole idea of “surf cams” should be revisited once this damned Chinese Surprise has run its course.

COMMIES! | Photo: @lostsurfboards

Matt Biolos temporarily shutters his iconic surfboard brand at Californian governor’s behest; turns on commie bastards!

"I didn’t want to close my surf shops, shaping facilities, glass shops, warehouse and lay off dozens of employees, but I did. It's the law. Even if I may disagree and call Newsom and Diane Feinstein Communists."

It’s been a while since the Bear Jew, San Clemente shaper to the stars Matt Biolos, has come out of his cage to play.

For the past decade Biolos, who shapes under the moniker Mayhem, has crafted a new image as a statesman of the game, well-respected, successful, a man of the industry, a world away from his punk image of the nineties.

Of course, now that armageddon in the form of a poisoned gift from China, has finally arrived Matt can afford to loose those once-famous lips, or as you’ll soon read, those fingers.

A few days ago, Matt let it fly at out-of-towners who had brought the authorities’ attention to Lowers, San Clemente’s premier wave, by hitting the place en masse. He’d already shuttered his iconic surfboard company, Lost, at the behest of the state’s “Communist” governor Gavin Newsom and the possibility of losing access to his favourite wave was one bridge too far.

In a screed posted on Instagram he wrote,


Hundreds of people from all over So Cal showing up at Trestles. (In large groups even) all weekend.
Read the rules that the Governor sent out! It doesn’t say “ Drive out of town , up n down the free ways, and look for waves!”. I didn’t want to close my surf shops, shaping facilities, glass shops, ware house … ALL ASPECTS of my business’s AND lay off dozens of employees, but I did.

We did.

It’s the law.

Even if I may disagree and call Newsom and Diane Feinstein, Communists.

BUT many around here are not obeying. @lostsurfboards and @catalystsanclemente are. Much to the sorrow of my friends and workers, and to the quick demise of our business health. Read the mandate from the Gov. We are allowed to ride our bikes, walk, walk pets, buy food, exercise ( ie surf ). This means in our local areas. Beaches and parks close to our homes. To see the local beaches here still being invaded by hundreds of out of town surfers all weekend (which we put up with in normal times) who think this is a holiday!

The Police were taking photos of the scenes at Trestles today. If it doesn’t mellow out they are going to close the beaches. Maybe it doesn’t matter and they will close them anyway, but I was told my the multiple officers that Trestles is a problem. Please give us a chance to enjoy the outdoors in and around our town …and stay within a bike ride if your homes. Or…buy a home here, pay property tax, and support the local economy, business’s and school districts. And be part of the community. Please don’t ruin it for those of us who are.

He’s got a point, but so do the surfers who don’t, for whatever reasons, have a beach they can call home.

My history with Matt goes back twenty years.

He talks, or writes, I listen.

I don’t also agree, but that’s what make a friendship work.

In the French summer of 2000, I fell for his shapes following a five-nine fish I’d swiped off the racks at the famous Pukas factory, midway between Mundaka and Hossegor and very close to the area’s famous men’s relaxation centres.

The years passed, as they do, and we became friends, the connection surviving even the machiavellian dagger of a vengeful enemy.

I once asked Matt what he fucking hated about shaping and he said, “The grind, the battle of managing production and running the back-end and the financial strain of biz… I also hate that no matter how many great boards you make, no matter how many deadlines you hit or how many miracles you pull off, there’s always some one not happy or someone whose board got built wrong or took too long.”

Matt’s road to relative security wasn’t paved with gold. Lost had come close to the brink a few times and, at one point, after selling the license to make Lost clothes to a third-party he was driven so mad by the direction he hocked everything, including his dream house at Cottons, to buy it back.

This ain’t no billionaire getting rich on the back of the working man.

Like most small-biz guys, he’s thrown the dice, worked hard, networked, mortgaged the farm and spent plenty of nights haunted by the spectre of the ruination of his business.

Well, it’s here, thanks to the horror of China’s wet markets and the obfuscation of the mostly faceless Communist government.

From a piece in London’s The Telegraph,

Beijing may take umbrage at Donald Trump’s constant reference to the outbreak as “the China virus” or “the Wuhan flu”, but the American president is simply stating the obvious, namely that the worst public health crisis the world has witnessed in a century originated in a Chinese wild animal market at the end of last year.

Moreover, the slow response of the Chinese authorities in dealing with the outbreak, together with the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s initial attempt to conceal the true extent of the crisis, may well explain why it is Europe, and not China, that now enjoys the dubious distinction of becoming the pandemic’s epicentre.

One of the CCP’s guiding principles is that nothing can be allowed to undermine its supremacy. This would explain why, rather than heed the warnings of Dr Li Wenliang, the doctor who first identified the terrifying threat posed by COVID-19, the Chinese authorities denounced him for “rumour-mongering”, and either ignored or played down the risks until well into January.

So, don’t get Matt talking about a social order that veers hard left, as one commenter found out.


Your workers have paid a lot of their income into unemployment and workers comp for their whole lives just as you have. You don’t get a cookie for that. And you don’t have a greater right to use the beach because you’re rich enough to live closer to it. It would be cool to see you loudly supporting a massive worker relief fund (at least loudly as you are loudly complaining about people using a public beach that wasn’t closed).

Matt replied,

No cookie requested. Now listen, you can critique my treatment of our employees.( All of which were taken by us on all expense paid surf trip this summer, by the way) And you can preach your socialism ( which always has failed ) and claim your foam ball rides (when your actually in front of the tube) on your feed, I can re-iterate how the local government is telling people to practice safe out door exercise “within their own communities” on my feed. I won’t harass you and your idealistic ways, and you don’t harass me. and my horrible ways😂.

You can always simply in un-follow me and go ride your Asym in Cuba with the rest of the commies.



Nobody is harassing you, I’m critiquing your gross classist derision of regular people who don’t own multiple homes or live by the beach. Also i’d love to go to Cuba, they have a longer life span than the USA. And thanks for noticing my asym, I made mine before Lost did lmao

And so on.


You hate the commie bastards, too?

"She surfed! Stone her!"
"She surfed! Stone her!"

Surfers viciously turn on each other as Coronavirus transforms once literate middle-class into “righteous mob of fascist tattle-tales!”

"She's SURFING!"

I’ll admit to you, here and now, that I’ve toed the line of good taste my entire surf journalism career. And by “toed” I mean both feet over that line dancing an ungainly jig. Oh the list of my transgressions is too long to detail here but a quick Google search will deliver many choice nibbles and by “choice” I mean rancid.

But, in all my years, I have never, and I mean never, been in more trouble than I have for poking very light fun of the uncommon cold.

This Coronavirus.

Furious people swinging in on social media, comments, emails demanding retractions for writing the disease “may cause many bad sniffles,” insisting that I stop putting the entire world in direct deadly danger.

And maybe these furious people are right. Maybe this is the worst disease since The Jersey Shore but still… should surfers be tattling on other surfers for refusing to practice social distancing?

Beaches are closed in Bondi, Indonesia and now San Diego, California because surfers tattled.

Tattled en masse.

Tattled via social media, comments, emails and in person.

Instagram is too full of surfers posting pictures of other surfers sitting near-ish each other in the lineup, of beaches half crowded with people sucking up once healthy vitamin D, featuring captions like “We need to talk.” And “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Too many surfers to detail here but we need to talk and can’t have nice things because we dared go surfing?

Dared go to the beach?

Other surfer fingers pointed in sneering, paternal derision?


And maybe every single person outside right now is a selfish super spreader killing the rest of humanity but should surfers be the ones tattling on them?

Even in these apocalyptic times don’t snitches still get stitches?

Or is this a very savvy play, clearing the lineup to true zero?

I rode my bike past Swamis today and, while the waves were shit, not one surfer was in the water. Rumors of $1000 dollar fines for surfers who dared paddled Solana apparently floating slightly north.

I’ve never seen that in the decade I’ve called North County home.

Absolutely wild.