“Kelly said that if he was here, he would have surfed the whole day…"
Yesterday was a day from hell for the J-Bay locals. Perfect lines, reeling down the point, with sets up to six-foot, crisp offshore winds and not a soul in the water.
There were a lot of hungry eyes on the line-up.
There are plenty of people with line-of-sight of somewhere along that miraculous line-up, and most of them are surfers to some degree or another.
Whether they are Supers chargers or Point cruisers, they all surf.
Local surfer Craig MacKay was one such surfer who was agonizing over it.
He posted a little clip to his private Insta account, and things escalated quickly.
Craig happens to be friendly with Kelly Slater, Taylor Knox and a host of other current and former pro surfers who have enjoyed his hospitality during the J-Bay events over the years.
After he posted his clip, Slater was quick to comment, “Just go. I’ll help pay your fine.”
The comment, liked by Taylor Knox amongst others, opened up even more anguish for the surfer, and a whole new level of a quandary.
“We (Kelly and I) had been chatting about it,” said MacKay, “and we were pondering as to why no surfing. However, we do understand that if we are allowed to surf, others should be allowed to do other individual sports.”
“Kelly said that if he was here, he would have surfed the whole day, which I have no doubt he would have. He would have come in and paid the fine. I said ‘Sure, we would surf all day, get to the beach and the cops would be stoked to meet Kelly and take selfies, while the rest of us would be fucked, get fined etc.’”
R5,000 for a day’s surfing at empty Supers is a steal at US$272, but it’s still expensive for South Africans.
The problem is that it is breaking the law, and for all our significant advances and methodology for dealing with COVID-19, there is still the current totalitarian paradigm in place when it comes to lockdown.
In other words, it’s a bit of a crapshoot.
In a cruisy world of money in hand, bottle stores open, and restaurants and takeaways to feed the masses, there might be a few local police who would know Kelly and be stoked to meet him.
Still, in the current lockdown situ, there are members of the police that have been bussed in, the Defense Force has been deployed, and there are so many people of authority around who might not know or care about surfing.
It’s a moot point, but Slater is not here, his idea was good in theory, but the pressure was on MacKay.
It would have made most surfers sick to the stomach.
The thing is there is always the chance that the police could take offence to someone breaking the law by surfing, and simply throw them in jail instead of writing out fines. The authorities are already tired, COVID fatigue they are calling it, and they also just want this thing to end.
Still, an empty Supers line-up on a six-foot offshore day, and a benefactor willing to pay for any fines that might come your way. It’s a helluva thing, the biggest temptation ever for a surfer…
Would you do it?
“There haven’t been waves for months, and now we have non-stop waves,” said MacKay, who didn’t paddle out, despite the quandary and the enticement. “I was just trying not to watch because it was hurting my eyes.”
It’s firing again, quite solid, with a little bit of a devil wind on it, but no one out.
The line-up is as empty as death.
Luckily it goes onshore tomorrow.