Jon Pyzel. Hero.
Jon Pyzel. Hero.

Coronavirus Silver Lining: Surfboard shaping, once the most toxic job in the world, now healthy, safe, encouraged by mothers!

It's a whole new world!

Our surfboard builders, our blue-collar heroes, put their very health at risk every single day so that we can have much pleasure. Oh we’re not like the World Surf League or Kelly Slater. We don’t have to build a massive wave pool in a drought-stricken desert and call it “environmentally sustainable.” We don’t have to lie to ourselves for we know that surfing is toxic both metaphorically and truly.

Toxic attitudes, toxic chemicals, toxic foams, odors, cleaning products, painting products, glassing products etc.

No sane mother would ever encourage her child to shape surfboards. She would rather her son take up the gigolo life as a healthier alternative. She would prefer her daughter stripping at clubs in the industrial part of town.

But Coronavirus has tipped our crazy globe upside down and who wears a fancy gas mask every day at the office?

Surfboard builders.

Who self-isolates in small rooms, alone, wearing a fancy gas mask?

Surfboard builders.

Who has a cranky, generally misanthropic attitude while wearing a fancy gas mask?

Surfboard builders.

Yes, surfboard builders will be one of the few classes of worker who survive this Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse and I have no doubt mothers are instructing their children right now not to go back to school when those doors eventually swing wide. I have no doubt those same mothers will winking at any surfboard builder they see strutting down the street, gearing up for a future mate.

Canceled culture.
Canceled culture.

Breaking: Florida surfers weep openly as spring break officially canceled due Coronavirus fears!

"Continuing to allow these large group gatherings on the beach is a public health hazard."

It was announced, just hours ago, that Florida spring break hotspots Daytona Beach and Miami Beach have canceled festivities, shattering the dreams of millions of college students but, more importantly, crushing the state’s surf population.

Per the once respected news outlet CNN:

With four deaths, Florida was already on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis, but with a significant spike in cases over the weekend, the state is ramping up its response to protect citizens.

Miami Beach police began deterring large groups from Lummus Park and clearing the most popular stretches of South Beach, which because of school closings and extended spring breaks had seen more visitors soaking up rays and splashing about in the Atlantic, the city said.

Miami Beach also ordered all nonessential business to close at 11 p.m. and issued an 11 p.m. curfew for its mixed-use entertainment district, it said in a rundown of emergency declarations. Miami-Dade County is limiting events to 250 people, but Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he would consider lowering the number to 50.

“Continuing to allow these large group gatherings on the beach is a public health hazard,” Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian said in a statement. “These measures are vital.”


And even as stories of strident curtailing of human fun become more and more common in these United States of America the cancellation of spring break hits particularly hard.

I have never lived in a city that hosted wild spring break festivities. Never in Florida, Surfers Paradise or Lake Havasu, but I imagine the passive entertainment is almost impossible to beat. Spring breakers don’t wake up early nor participate in surf-based activities and so I can’t imagine the lineup seeing any negative impact from the crowds.

But sitting in those lineups, looking back at the beach, I picture a tableau of debauchery. Strange techno dance parties. Funny oversized beer pong. Wild sunburn art. An end-of-days, dystopian performance that gloriously fills all that dull waiting-for-waves time.

Is it not that way?

Do any Florida surfers care to weigh in between loud sobs?

And while on the Coronavirus topic, I know that it is a nasty killer etc. but, entertainment aside, just imagine how many lives will be saved, literally and figuratively, in Florida these next few weeks. How many college students won’t get DUIs, pregnant, STDs, jailed, in trouble by their fathers.

While boomers are falling like flies millennials are forced into make good decisions for healthier, longer lives.

Generation X, meanwhile, continues to slack.

World Surf League pivots to teen social app TikTok: “It’s so endemic to who we are as a sport.”

"On TikTok, two of the five most-followed North American sports leagues are non-Big Four: UFC (674.3K) and The World Surf League (611.4K)."

You into TikTok, the two-year-old Chinese vid share network adored by teenage girls?

Yeah, me neither.

But maybe we’re missing something.

The World Surf League, which is a surf-content creation company owned by a non-surfing billionaire and former waterman of the year, is all over it.

And, as revealed in a story in Front Office Sports, the WSL was one of TikTok’s earliest sports accounts.

Come, read, it’s good.

Over time, (WSL Chief Community Officer Tim) Greenberg saw the synchronicity between TikTok’s musical inclinations and WSL’s surfing background. “Video surfing is aspirational, and music is aspirational in a lot of ways – therefore, we have this very natural space to begin programming content because it is so endemic to who we are as a sport,” he said.

On November 20, WSL posted a close-up of waves merging under a sunset with the song, “Can We Kiss Forever?” by Kina playing in the background. In only 12 days, it has mustered more than 14.4 million views – the most of any WSL post – and 2.1 million likes. As of December 2, the WSL has surpassed 611,400 followers – the fifth-most of any sports league, according to Conviva.

With the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on the horizon, Greenberg wants to further the WSL’s diversity efforts. According to him, 70% of its followers are female and its three biggest countries are Australia, Brazil, and the U.S. But with TikTok, he sees the Olympics as a perfect chance of broadening both the WSL’s audience and geographic reach.

“As our sport is put on the world stage, it’s going to be important for us to keep [the Olympics] in mind and have a very focused, deliberate content strategy heading into 2020 that focuses on supporting our athletes,” Greenberg said. “As [TikTok] creates enhanced tools and more opportunities for us to reach newer audiences, we want to make sure that we’re focused on what’s going to drive our business and that consumer journey that connects back to the WSL.”

Stand there while I unpack the best quote.

“We want to make sure that we’re focused on what’s going to drive our business and that consumer journey that connects back to the WSL.”

Does this excite or does it signal, to you, the final capitulation of a once-great culture to phone zombie VALS?

Breaking: WSL Cancels Bells, Margaret River, likely G-Land, “We want to share positivity during these anxious times!”

"Hardship is forcing creativity!" says WSL CEO Erik Logan.

As predicted a few days ago,

Bells is going to be cancelled for the first time in fifty-eight years (“It’s a bummer,” says the Curl’s Neil Ridgway, “Bells at Easter with the surf pumping and the stands thumping is better than Christmas for us, but in the end it’s just a surfing contest”) and Margaret River, the tour’s on-again, off-again, stop is out for 2020, even without the spectre of Great White sharks.

From the WSL,

Due to the continued evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Surf League (WSL) is postponing or canceling all events, at all levels of competition, through the end of May. This includes the postponement of the remainder of the events in the Australian leg of the Championship Tour, Bells Beach and Margaret River, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The Quiksilver Pro G-Land – scheduled to take place in a remote part of Indonesia in June – will either be canceled or moved to an area with more infrastructure.

While full details about the impact these changes will have on the 2020 Tour are not yet available, the WSL is working diligently to land the best solution for surfers and fans alike.

The love of surfing is the bond that holds our global community together. We want to share positivity during these anxious times, by continuing to celebrate that bond, and our shared passion for this sport, the ocean, our athletes and one another.

Opinion: In accordance with new motto “An Abundance of Caution,” World Surf League must declare Nat Young 2020 champion!

Break out the celebratory methamphetamine!

Let’s just take for granted that the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2019 has thrown the entire world off its axis, and along with it, our World Surf League. Let’s just assume there will be no 2020 World Tour. Let’s just factor there may be a few events but no “series.”

No “league.”

Except every year needs a champion and this year belongs to Nat Young.



Due an abundance of caution, of course, seeing as it’s our World Surf League’s new motto.

And Nat Young, longtime professional surfer, Santa Cruz local, blonde, snagged a precious top ten finish in the last professional surfing event of the calendar year likely, in Australia’s Sydney Surf Pro and might currently lead the World Qualifying Series.

Either him or Australia’s Matt Banting.

I can’t tell.

Who can?

Whichever the case, we need a champion and give me a coherent reason why Nat Young ain’t it.

Sure, there will be discussions and asterisks. Certainly there always are in pandemic shortened years.

Nat Young as 2020 champion.

Or Matt Banting.


Nat Young.

But who in 2021?

I’m jet lagged and can’t do math.

Or think.