Welcome to America, now you're in jail.
Welcome to America, now you're in jail.

Humbled surfer-father and young daughter declared “Enemies of the State” upon return to USA, forced into “Internment Camp!”

"Avoid contact with others."

“This could get very ugly. Extremely brutal with much wailing, gnashing of teeth and other wanton displays of grief.” I tell my young daughter as the stewardesses aboard Delta flight 119 with direct service from Charles de Gaulle to Los Angeles International deliver the “welcome Bellinis.” Peach puree for the children. It’s a nice touch, bringing some upper class to the petit bourgeois here in the back, and why Delta is now the number one US carrier, leapfrogging both United and American this past year.

“…there are reports of six to eight hour waits in the airports back home while medical folk scramble to take temperatures and give comprehensive interviews to those returning from the Schengen, which hasn’t been this dangerous since 1944.” I continue, after we toast. “It’s all very poorly designed at chaotic and could be grotesque. Endless serpentine shuffling with the sleepless, jet lagged, face mask’d hordes. Do you care?”

She takes a sip and shrugs.

This whole adventure to shred Europe’s Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse has truly turned her into a little Arab, an honest practitioner of the “Inshallah Life.”

If God Wills.

There is nothing we can do to change this arc so we might as well sit back and laugh when and where we can, shrug when and where we can’t.

Her mother, on the other hand, has the unique ability to bend fate to her liking. She is why we’re drinking Bellinis while hurtling toward Los Angeles instead of on our way to a Caribbean prison island. Why I’m not weaving palm frond hats for us both.

And who knows what happens next? Paris went into complete lockdown two hours after our final steak frites. President Macron, furious with the French for continuing to live their lives in pink, closed all restaurants, bars, cinemas. Mimes forbidden from miming. Le Tower Eiffel darkened. Chanel, Dior, Hermès boarded up as if preparing for a hurricane.

Germany shut its land borders for the first time since World War II.

New reported cases, and the death toll, continue to rise as Europe is now Coronavirus “ground zero’ but this madness is coming to the United States next once people actually start getting tested. Cases will leap from the hundreds to the thousands overnight threatening to take the stock market all the way to zero.

Wild, crazy days ahead.

We watch Happy Death Day together and 10 Things I Hate About You before she pivots to Blue Crush and I move over to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I had seen it in the theater upon return from Paris last time and had slept through the entire thing.

It’s a fine film, worthy of all the praise but I’d find myself glancing over at Blue Crush often, forgetting that Noah Johnson surfed for Kate Bosworth in every single scene and become mesmerized by the grotesque oddity of big man legs paired with the most petite face.

And then we are circling LAX. The stewards and stewardesses, as confused as anyone, had delivered hastily printed “United States Traveler Health Declaration” forms but had no idea what anyone was supposed to do with them. Midway when the plane was over Nevada they had announced, over the intercom, that health officials would be boarding the plane, conducting interviews and tests and everyone should stay in their seats.

This news is reconfirmed as we wait to land, circling. I get a taste of the hardships those cruise passengers had to endure. The ones floating at sea with no port willing to take them and am forced to order one more vodka soda and watch the introduction to Bethany Hamilton’s Unstoppable.

A surf journalist to the very end also unstoppable.

After a few minutes we are given permission to land. Everything normal except for people actually staying in their seats once the airplane reaches the gate. Another announcement is made, this one stating we will all be getting off instead.

“Time for travel nightmare hell.” I tell my young daughter.

She shrugs.

We walk off, down the corridors into a custom’s hall so overstaffed with medical personnel in face masks and officers that it takes all of ten minutes to reach the street outside. An LAX customs record. The medical personnel welcomed us warmly, asked if we had symptoms, took our temperatures, (young daughter 97.8, surfer-father 98.1) and gave us a card that read:

“Health Alert: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

You have traveled to a country with an outbreak of COVID-19 and are at higher risk. Stay home for the next 14 days and monitor your health. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and watch for symptoms.

We are now officially enemies of the state, forced into the internment camp of our home but I’ll obey the rules as I’ve already infuriated enough people with my “ruthlessly cavalier” attitude toward a pandemic. Heedlessly dragging my young daughter along for misguided kicks. My mother-in-law let it be known she is “extremely angry.”

Well, how does this damned Coronavirus spread? By having other people cough in your mouth or touching faces with Coronavirus tainted hands. Through other people. My young daughter and I paddled out into a virtually empty European lineup, two of very few at every fabulous restaurant. With only slightly more at churches, zoos, parks and palaces. Many feet apart from all.

Much natural social distancing but joy everywhere.

It was an unbelievably surreal experience, something I am so beyond happy to have shared with a person who will grow into this crazy world and have to choose her own way to approach the next apocalypse, whatever and whenever. To play in these margins together. To dance down the Seine by night, dance through the Tiergarten by day and toast Bellinis at the end.

She amazed me in every single moment, always looking for the adventure, always one step ahead and I am humbled.

Humbled in the same way marquee athletes are “humbled” by smashing their competition with a dazzling show of unique skill and bravado seeing as she’s my own flesh and blood.

That li’l champion is, without doubt, going places.

In fourteen days.

"I was wondering if I could get some money for my wavepool." "How much?" "Oh, fifteen million."

New Zealand company enters sea machine race; promises twelve-foot waves: “We’ve cracked the code and can provide bigger waves than any other man made wave on the planet!”

The Sea Machine arms race continues…

Before a mysterious virus climbed out of the ooze of a multi-species Chinese slaughteryard, there was a wavepool race going on.

A reminder.

Wavegarden leads, currently, with its proven commercial viability and American Wave Machines (Waco, Jersey super mall) is in second place. The WSL’s yet-to-build-a-second-tank KS pool is a distant third along with old-new entrant, Tom Lochtefeld, whose Surf Loch is going to be used as part of a member-only retreat at a remote site just west of Sydney and as the tech behind the new Magnusson-Robb pool in Palm Springs.


And now there’s a new player.

Forty-nine-year-old New Zealand entrepreneur Josh Nepia, the owner of Surf Mountain, an off-road track for scooter riders in Auckland, says local technology is able to create waves “up to twelve-feet high”.

He wants to build a park called SwellPlanet and has already lodged a building consent application for the fifteen-million dollar construction.

SwellPlanet’s website promises, “bigger waves than any other man made wave on the planet…any kind of wave you like – lefts, rights, steep hollow barrels, long peeling walls” although videos and photos posted show Wavegarden and American Wave Machine pools.

Meanwhile, Surf Lakes, the pool tech that features a giant plunger which failed spectacularly during a test run at its full-sized testing facility, has promised to break dirt on a Gold Coast tank with eight separate waves and permanent offshore winds sometime in the next “nine to twelve months”.

Exciting times etc.

@surf_lakes Lakes has signed a MOU for a potential site to build a commercial 5 Waves facility here on the #goldcoast. We have started down the track of engaging a team of town planners, architects and consultants in order to gain the necessary approvals and funding. All going well, we hope to start to construction next year, with build time of around 9 to 12 mths. Unfortunately, we cannot disclose the exact location. But it’s well located within the GC area – max 30min drive for any Gold Coaster. When built, the facility will feature the following: • Eight separate breaks (4 left and 4 right) • 5 levels of waves at the same time: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and Pro • Wave-face heights from 0.5 metres for beginners, to 2.4 metres + for expert surfers • Guaranteed offshore conditions at all times, regardless of wind direction • Five second hollow barrels at the premier break • A heavy slab for expert surfers and bodyboarders • Ride lengths ranging from 6 sec (slab) to 14 sec (point break) • Throughput capacity of up to 160 surfers per hour (including learners) • Night surfing #surflakes #5waves #wavepool #wavemachine #surfing

A post shared by 5 WAVES | SURF LAKES (@surf_lakes) on

Warshaw, under a canopy of sun-kissed yellow hair. Old photo etc.

Just in: Surfing Icon’s devastating act of kindness in face of coronavirus pandemic!

As panic sets in to a world under siege by invisible bug, one surfer stands tall…

I doubt, by now, if I have to press upon you the bona fides of surf historian Matt Warshaw, a former surfer who is currently confined at home in Seattle, Washington.

A peerless writer, researcher, thinker, owner of The Encyclopedia of Surfing, the very thread, no, the single thread, that holds surf culture together in the face of the WSL’s VAL onslaught.

On matters concerning the sport’s atrophying culture, there is no one else to turn to.

If you’ve yet to drink from his fountain, dip into,




In today’s weekly EOS mail-out, where his subscribers are treated to one thousand seamless words on whatever topics Warshaw has been into that week and in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, he writes,

In exchange for you guys cutting me some slack, I make this offer: if anybody out there in EOS-land takes enough of a hit during the impending economic plunge that your subscription becomes a burden, let me know and I’ll pick up the cost until things get better.

I will continue to pull frivolity from our viral pandemic, in keeping with a whistle-past-the-graveyard response that, surprise surprise, is already the default setting for surfers and memers alike. On the other hand, there is no whistling away the fact that COVID-19 has literally hit home in Seattle. Schools closed here last week, meaning that in addition to being CEO of the world’s leading nonprofit surf history and cultural preservation website, I’m now a full-time stay-at-home Dad. Expect more typos and misplaced, commas, in other words.

In exchange for you guys cutting me some slack, I make this offer: if anybody out there in EOS-land takes enough of a hit during the impending economic plunge that your subscription becomes a burden, let me know and I’ll pick up the cost until things get better.

Social distancing means we are all going to have more time alone with our computers and phones. Between refreshing CNN Live Updates and watching our stock portfolios contract like a hot panful of Shrinky Dinks, we might as well kill time together on EOS. So hit me up. You guys rallied and kept EOS going when we were on the brink. I’m glad to carry anyone who needs it from now till vaccine day.

And to go out on a high note, remember that surfing, in these tense and unsettled times, is practically a life-saving act. Barring some kind of open-mouth collision with another surfer, riding waves is the safest thing this side of trail running through the Falklands. In other words, we just became half as selfish and twice as righteous.

No one quite like Matt Warshaw is there?

Put him in a shimmering white silk micro dress and a blue-black wig that hangs to his shoulders and jam his size ten feet into white square-toed pump with rhinestone buckle and I’d marry the bastard.

Subscribe to the Encycopedia of Surfing here. 


The Magic Elf Syndrome: Is the WSL fetishising People of Colour?

"A kind of saintly, adorable ET whose sole purpose is to remind us only about tolerance and our prejudices…"

Transformed is a documentary series from WSL Studios, currently into its second season, that tells “stories of surf ambassadors whose lives were transformed through surfing, and who are now transforming their communities through the power of surfing.”

The first series “sparked an emotional response from surf fans and resonated with a broader audience,” said the WSL’s CEO Erik Logan.

It’s a good spin.

The YouTube numbers were terrible, between four thousand and six thousand views an episode, a handful of comments.

The second series, between three thousand and thirteen thousand.

On a medium where Jamie O’Brien gets two-and-a-half million views for riding softboards down a sewer drain’s steep incline, the numbers are catastrophic.

Why the lack of engagement?

These are pretty, well-made films with every emotional button pushed: brave women fighting patriarchies, a legless Colombian, cruel Taliban overlords in Afghanistan and a focus on People of Colour.

Of series two’s four eps, the first three feature,

India’s First Female Surfer,

How Women In Surfing Are Changing the World, with Senegal’s Khadjou Sambe

And, A Surfer From South Central,

All gorgeous stories, break out the tissues etc.

I watch ‘em all over and over, big fan, especially chubby LA guy gets out of gangsta lifestyle  via surfing, a real weepy.

Yesterday, this IG post appeared.

View this post on Instagram

Yes we get it, people of colour can surf too. …….. #simpsonssurfing #simpsonsmemes #simpsonshitposting #surfing #surf #waves #wsl #transformed

A post shared by Simpsons Surfing Posts (@simpsons.surfing) on


I hadn’t noticed, too busy sniffling and jazz-handing, although it did make me wonder,

Is the sentiment of Transformed the same as the media’s canonisation of the Gay Man as Magical Elf, a theory held by superstar eighties author Bret Easton Ellis.  

“The sweet and smiley and sexually unthreatening elf with liberal values and a positive attitude is supposed to transform everyone into noble gay-loving protectors… a kind of saintly, adorable ET whose sole purpose is to remind us only about tolerance and our prejudices,” he writes.


Is the WSL festishising people of colour and is it this patronising approach masquerading as progressive values that has its potential audience staying away in droves?

Or not?

Surely, cannibalism is only days away. | Photo: 9news

Indonesia locks down ports: Twelve Australian surfers stranded on charter boat off coast of Sumba!

Booze, food, fuel, running low.

Ramifications from the world’s response to coronavirus are far reaching. Yet to be fully understood.

Border closures. Enforced quarantines. Essential social services in many countries suspended. Macro decisions that hit on a micro level.

The biggest social upheaval since World War II plays out in myriad ways.

As I write, twelve surfers from Newcastle, Australia, are in limbo off the coast of Sumba, east of Bali. Stranded by a political decision that sees them unable to disembark from their boat nor allowed to return home.

While they were out chasing waves in a mobile reception dead zone, local government authorities decreed no foreigners could set foot on land in any of their ports for fear of spreading the mildly lethal virus further.

Upon their return, they found the world had shut up shop.

No back to life, no back to reality.

At one stage, the dozen were down to the final meal and running dangerously low on basic supplies. The skipper they’d use the last of their fuel to travel to nearby Flores, but there was no guarantee they could land there either.

Many have already missed connecting flights home (and will now face a two-week quarantine for their troubles when they do finally make it).

“We’ve had one boat come out to speak to us to basically tell us we can’t come to land,” one of the surfers, Brydon Roper, told 9News.“This is a ten-day surf charter so the guys that run this boat stocked it for ten days only of food and water.”

Dire times east of the Wallace line.

Yet surf travel companies in my Facebook feed are still advertising business as usual in the Ments, up the other end of the archipelago. Freedom of passage assured, lack of crowds guaranteed. Social distancing to be enforced on the trip, allegedly. But any person that’s ever stepped foot on one of those testosterone-soaked love boats knows how that will play out

Cheap deals for you, mister.

Special price for today only. Shred the apocalypse.

But the situation is evolving as quickly as the virus spreads.

The only knowns are the unknowns and a real-world, geopolitical unravelling that would rival any right-wing-left-wing conspiracy fantasy.

So what would you do for love in the time of coronavirus?

Risk a dirt-cheap trip and uncrowded perfection for the chance of quarantine, forced berthing, or worse?

It’s a yeah, nah, for me.