Out front the panda exhibit. Thanks China!
Out front the panda exhibit. Thanks China!

Extravagant surfer-father and young daughter locked out of U.S. for daring to celebrate Europe’s “Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse!”

Exclusive interview from the front.

Not actually locked out, per se, as of this moment citizens of These United States of America are still theoretically allowed passage home but who knows what tomorrow will bring? Who knows how much crazier the civilized world can get by the hour?

Minute even?

I’ve been to a handful of rough places where the situation turned sour quickly. Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Palm Springs, and it was easier to sort through fake airlines, byzantine bureaucracies, exploding bombs and radical Islam/The White Party than people are talking about getting out of Western Europe. France and Germany.


It’s crazy.

“Is it crazy?” I ask my young daughter as we stroll through the Berlin Zoo, for certain the best zoo in the entire world. I snatched her, for days ago, as paranoia just started creeping. Dusting off my war reporter bona fides, smelling opportunity, getting into the muck because the muck is glorious and my young daughter needs that singular fun.

She’s laughing hysterically at a monkey’s butt and doesn’t hear the first time I ask so I repeat.

“Is it crazy?”

“Mmmm. I think people are crazy and I don’t really care about it.”

“Why are people crazy?”

“Because they’re nerds.”

“Do you know what Coronavirus is?”



“A sickness?”

“Are you scared about it?”


“Why not?”

“Because other people are nerds and only old people get sick.”

“Do you think it’s fun to be in Europe during the Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse?”

She pauses for a long minute while the monkey takes its butt and leaves.

“I think it’s fun but also dumb because we don’t even have the Coronavirus.”

“Well the actor in Big has the Coronavirus. Did you know that?”

“Good. Big was a horrible movie.”

As always, she’s right.

More as the story develops.

Intrepid surfer-father races to get young daughter into Germany before border shutters for “Exclusive Krautrock Extravaganza!”

Coronavirus über alles.

“Italians crave the sweet life. The French prefer theirs in pink but the Germans are who we need to kick this Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse up to the next level…” I tell my young daughter as she’s picking and choosing among various music boxes in front of the Eiffel Tower.

“How do the Germans like their life?” she asks through a classically Gaulish flat tire sigh, annoyed at my pontifications but also vaguely curious. La Vie en Rose plinking along at the random rate with which she is spinning the music box’s miniature handle.

“Black. Brutal. Serious. The attitude we need right now.” I tell her, appreciating her cultural appropriation, “…but they also produce some of the world’s best techno and have some of the world’s best clubs. Have you ever heard of Krautrock?”

She shakes her head no.

“Well get ready.”

The next afternoon, after many more croissants etc. we sneak a plane out of Charles de Gaulle to Berlin’s Schönefeld airport. A wonderful counterpoint to Berlin’s Tegel or maybe just a wonderful counterpoint because it is wildly empty. I’ve been traveling the world for the better part of two decades now. Traveled right around 9/11, major airplane crashes etc. and have never seen the world so entirely shut down.

Stopped in its tracks.

“Germans.” I tell my daughter while waiting for our luggage. “The nihilism that’s going to get the whole of humanity moving again. They don’t ever give up. Did you know they tried to take over all of Europe twice and failed? Failed badly too, losing millions of people and billions of dollars but they didn’t quit and on try number three succeeded. Now everyone from Italy to Greece to Spain… even everyone inFrance is part of Germany. The entire thing. Conquered. Spending German money in ways that Germans dictate. Living the German life in shades of sweet and pink.”

She pulls a coin from her purse and studies it before saying, “It says ‘Euro’ not ‘German.'”

“Exactly.” I respond. “All they had to do was rebrand the thing. The Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse is going to be incredible there and we’re going to have some black, brutal, serious fun plus there’s an amazing zoo and I bet it’ll be so empty we can hop into the animal cages and pet them all. ”

She smiles broadly.

“Rebranding. It’s something we core surfers need to figure out so we can rebrand the whole World Surf League.”

She rolls her eyes.

F1's last superstar driver, a welcome swing back to the old days of glamorous studs who ain't afraid to wear jewels, dress pretty etc.

World’s Greatest-Ever Formula One Driver Gives Hell to Melbourne wavepool!

Lewis Hamilton, hosted by super shaper Hayden Cox, at Tullamarine tank…

Briton Lewis Hamilton is the six-time champion of Formula One, all-time record holder for most pole pozzies, like the sport’s Kelly Slater, not quite, but close.

And, Lewis, thirty-five and gorgeous, a man who would make anyone dizzy with a hot roaring in their head, surfs.

Last year he hit Kelly’s tank, middle of winter, hood, gloves, booties etc, did pretty good.

The pair remain pals, Kelly not afraid to dive into Lewis’ comments pane to express his support, love and so on.


On Tuesday, and three days before his first practice session for the Melbourne Grand Prix which runs on Sunday, Lewis gave hell, relatively speaking, to the pool at 389 Melrose Drive, Tullamarine.

Fortuitously, for Lewis, a private booking had cancelled giving him the option of spending $1250 to own the left for an hour while the regular punters lined up for the right.


Lewis, in tracksuit, left, and Hayden with quiver.

He started on a mid-length HS Plunder, in noir before switching down to a six-two Hypto, riding the pool on a variety of turn settings.

Lewis, y’see, is also a pal of Hayden Cox, the Sydney-based shaper whose boards are a popular choice at the tank and which are available for rental there, the pairing coming via their mutual connection with Swiss watchmaker IWC

Afterwards, Lewis went rockclimbing, then skydiving before his obligatory gym session.

He also indicated that post-Grand Prix he’d be skipping his usual victory party for another swing at the pool.

“He’s the full madman. He ran as fast to the water as Parko,” says the pool’s PR man Rupert Partridge.

Still open for biz but if you want out and a refund, that's cool, too.

Open for trading: Join BeachGrit’s Winner-take-all Survivor League!

Easy to play, limited numbers, a thousand bucks to the champ…

Maybe you’ll remember the sorta sad story of Shane Starling, the Berlin-based data analyst who won the WSL’s Fantasy Surfer League last year. 

Shane picked ten of the eleven winners and didn’t get a damn thing for his year’s work, the victory unremarked and unacknowledged by the owner of the game. 

Shane called the game, a “dead platform, really. You can’t communicate with other players, you can’t banter. And if they gave even a small prize it would make the competition more lively. You play the game and that’s it.”

(The WSL has since promised an upgrade, which’ll be announced March 16.)

Another surfer who feels the same is Taylor Lobdell, thirty-one, from Costa Mesa but who works in the tech biz in San Francisco. 

Taylor describes himself as the “biggest fan of the WSL. I know everybody shits on it but I can’t get enough of it.” 

Still, despite his buzz, Taylor couldn’t get into their Fantasy League. 

“Every year I sign-up, set a lineup and I won’t even remember who I picked by the time the finals come around. My friends and I all play fantasy football together, we watch surfing contests, but the fantasy element is lacking. And if they can’t capture somebody like me, a huge fan, I think there’s a problem.”

What does the WSL get wrong? 

“They overcomplicate it. Look at their rules page, it’s paragraph upon paragraph. The tiers are arbitrary and the points are kinda hard to understand. Historically, everyone picks pretty much the same eight-person team and it comes down to the lower-tier guys that’ll make a difference.”

So Taylor, with us underwriting the thousand-bucks prizemoney in case we don’t get enough subscribers to cover it, has come up with a game that is so easy even the dumbest among us can get it. 

The rules. 

1. Pick one surfer each event.

2. Surfer must advance past round of 32.

3. You can’t pick same surfer twice.

4. Winner takes all.


Taylor says he got the idea from a pal who made a similar version for NFL ten years ago.

“I play it with all my friends, it’s a whole cool community and it makes it easy to talk about with your friends. You got Italo for Snapper? It makes rounds one fun again. I don’t know what eight-man teams my friends might have on Fantasy League but I’ll know if he has Jack Freestone or Italo at Snapper.”

Last year, not one surfer made it through the season without a seventeenth or thirty-third. Italo, the world champ, had three of ‘em, Gabby and Jordy, two.

Kelly had a seventeenth and two thirty-thirds. 

Ain't nobody able to get through a season without multiple last or second-last finishes.
Ain’t nobody able to get through a season without multiple last or second-last finishes.

What else? 

It costs twenty American dollars (which goes up to twenty-five after March 22) and the cut-off for the year is March 26. 

No ties, no divided cash.

One winner, one thousand buck cheque.

“If there are multiple people left at Pipe, the remaining players must pick their two surfers and the combined heat score of the final. If both surfers advance, the tie will be settle by the closest final heat score.”

If you don’t get in on time, you can’t join mid-year.

More details here. 

Before and after each contest, we’ll run a story, league standings and in December the winner will be interviewed and celebrated even if pudgy and comical looking etc.

Who’s in? 

Kelly Slater arrives in NZ, takes time out for happy children. | Photo: John Keoghan

World Champ Three-Way: Kelly Slater, Adriano De Souza and Carissa Moore to surf in NZ Qualifying Event!

"I'm excited," says Kelly.

A couple of days ago, we all posited on the reasons behind Carissa Moore’s December announcement of a one-year sabbatical from the tour and her March appearance at a qualifying event in Sydney.

The pendants pointed out Carissa was only taking the CT events off and said nothing about surfing on the qualifying series although the reasons given, need to refresh, rejuvenate excitement etc, suggested contests were the last thing she’d be doing.

Was it a fork in the eye to her on-again-off-again, recently sold sponsor Hurley?

An urge to see the sights of Sydney in autumn?

Appearance money?

Italicise that.

Appearance money.

Earlier today, Kelly Slater landed in New Zealand to compete, along with fellow world champions Adriano de Souza and Carissa Moore, in the unfortunately named Corona Piha Pro, which offers ten-thousand qualifying points.

One Slater fan did a bit of sleuthing, worked out Kelly would be coming on a Hawaiian Airlines plane and took his two kids to the arrivals hall to meet the eleven-time champ, environmentalist, property developer and bringer of gated wavepools to deserts.

“As soon as he saw there was someone there to welcome him to New Zealand he popped over and was more than happy to have a nice chat – asking the kids their names and that sort of thing,” Auckland man John Keoghan told the NZ Herald. “They were so stoked. They’ve probably been drip fed stuff from me for so many years, but they’re budding little surfers as well.”

The IG post that altered surf fan of Kelly Slater’s imminent arrival to New Zealand.

The last time Kelly was in New Zealand was 1993.

“I’m excited to be surfing again in an event in New Zealand and seeing all my fans there,” Slater told the WSL. “I love the country and all it has to offer. New Zealand is a place with incredible surf, amazing golf courses and so much more. I’m also looking forward to starting my 2020 WSL season by competing at a Challenger Series event.”

Do you like press release quotes almost as much as me?

Of course, you know, we know, everyone knows, the reason all three champs are there is for the cash.

So, how much?

Ten k for Adriano?

Fifteen for Carissa?

Fifty for Kelly?

Or does the equal pay thing apply here, too?