Who do you love the most? Quarantine Kelly or incorrigible flout-the-rules-get-tubed Kelly? | Photo: @sensitiveseashellcollector

Kelly Slater tells J-Bay local: “Just go surfing. I’ll help pay your ($US272) fine!”

“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.

Sitting at home, not surfing, waiting to choke on lung juice. That ain't no way to live.

Real talk: “How is it that I have survived so many gnarly things in my surfing life and now I am hiding in my house waiting to die from a virus?”

Where is the dignity?

Southern Californian surfers are not often challenged by eight-to-ten-foot swell at twenty-second intervals.

My friend and I had surfed an exposed point the entire day before dodging bombs and getting mowed.

Our intent this second day of the swell was to catch more waves.

Simple as fuck.

With an unusually westerly direction of 270 degrees, I drove us toward a refined point break at the base of a cliff that would offer us more riding time and less duck-diving for our lives.

The tide was high and whitewash was punishing the base of the cliff so we passed on the old trail leading into the bay. Rains had left the bluff dance at the top of the point treacherous, but we found a jump off point and made it out into the lineup relatively easily.

I kept seeing these perfect DOH lines wrapping the tar-filled shelf, like pinwheels of our imaginations and that was exactly the experience I was after.

My friend took a different approach, safe and sane, by waiting out the swing wide sets pushing TOH.

Without shading my bro, I had no interest in the fat end sections pushing out to sea.

The roll of these dice were an easy decision for me to make.

Until it wasn’t.

I caught two gems and hugged the point on the paddle back into position.

These paddles were crazy but the sweep outside in the “channel” was profound.

Regardless, everything was clicking and I had found my zone.

As I made it to the ledge boil I prefer to take off under, the next set hit.

I knew I was doomed.

Even the three guys sitting wide were scratching.

The maelstrom was easy to imagine. I dove as deep as I could and my 6’8” swallow snapped like a toothpick. Another lesson to stop riding paper-thin boards that I refused to learn.

I came to rest near the sea floor bottom and I opened my eyes as I heard another rumble outside marching towards me.

The sun shone bright above, but there was a forest of kelp trapping me in position as the next wave washed over.

Once again, I looked up after the steamrolling and I was still caged by kelp.

There was no way I could make the surface without getting trapped.

They say a million thoughts sweep your mind during distress.

That was not true this day in January 2009.

“Hippy, you’re in a tough spot, but we are all waiting for you…”

Fuck, my dad was talking to me from the grave?

His voice was clear as day and I could see his eyes smiling. I had lost my entire family above my age in the previous eighteen months.

I thought about my wife and puppy… they needed me.

That stroke of ego woke me into swimming laterally under the kelp bed and I finally made the surface when the next wave swept the bay.

Now I had become one with the current moving faster than a river, but at least I could breathe.

I had to find a way to shore at the cliff trail inside the bay or I’d be washed another two miles before the cliffs gave way to another landing spot.

This scenario has happened to me before and since, all too familiar and I’m kicking myself as I always do. That sirens call of perfection just yards inside the danger zone is my muse and I pay as often as I cash the sirens wave checks.

I missed the trail wash by five yards, but I found a foothold on a shelf as the set abated.

This wasn’t a safe place to remain as the next set would impale me in this position against the cliff.

Somehow, I negotiated twenty yards swimming against the current to my friends assist at the trail base.

I pushed past the spectators concerns and walked back to the car shaking.

Internally, I told my Pops that I wouldn’t be seeing him that day.

I never found the 6’8”.

Today, I purchased groceries and it felt like I’d accomplished a “Mission Impossible”.

My puppy’s eyes looked worried as I readied to visit the store.

Did she sense something?

On the way back to my car after shopping, I told my Dad to be patient, I haven’t caught the flu… yet.

How is it that I have survived so many gnarly things in my surfing life and now I am hiding in my house waiting to die from a virus?

There is no dignity is this kind of a death.

The rebellion begins: Brave surfers enter Lowers by boat, which gets caught by wide set, breaking all hell loose!

Breaking the law, breaking the law.

The story, currently developing, features what appears to be two brave scofflaws attempting to enjoy a socially distanced surf at Lower Trestles which has just been put under lock and key by draconian, panicked overlords.

You know well, by now.

No surfing in the time of Coronavirus.

No surfing at all.


Forget that the outdoor activity naturally promotes social distancing. Forget that surfers generally dislike other surfers. Forget common sense and un-common sense for we are living in a modern dystopia where mob psychology reigns and whacking the lip spreads a Chinese pathogen wide and far.

Well, two bold outlaws took a Zodiac around the bend, anchored it and attempted to score rare empty Lowers when a rouge set caught their boat and hurled it toward the cobbled stone.

Footage of the mayhem is making the rounds on social media and here we have.

But can we take a few minutes out of our busy quarantines to applaud these adventurous malefactors? In some circles there will certainly be tsk-tsking and much furious shaking of heads for “tying up resources” and “potentially getting hurt” and “not heeding the rules” but not here.

We, after all, are surfers too.

More as the story develops.

Watch: “Violently dogmatic” Tiger Shark tries to decapitate gentle man while friends and loved ones look on in horror!

A true reign of terror.

Surfing, as both pastime and sport, has been completely decapitated in this time of Coronavirus. Marched up the steps by radical ideologues, laid upon the wooden bench, gleaming blade let loose, head removed from body and caught in a wicker basket while the eyes slowly fluttered shut.

The whisper that our beloved dance was aiding in the spread of a wild pandemic too much for a fearful public to bear, unleashing draconian laws, unseemly fines.

Untold boredoms.

A true reign of terror.

Well, in very similar fashion, a violently dogmatic Tiger shark recently attempted to decapitate a gentle diver in Fiji in front of his friends and loved ones.

Attempted to teach a harsh lesson about social order and the impotence of monarchy and/or man’s dominion over this earth.

Per The Fiji Times:

A horrified friend, who witnessed the attack several feet below the surface, told The Fiji Times: ‘The shark turned to bite the divers and my friend was the unlucky one.

‘At that time all the dive masters rushed to push her away, but it was already too late.

‘His head was in the shark’s mouth and later the dive master managed to kick her away.’

The group was hurried back to shore, where the victim was taken to a local clinic for treatment.

The friend said that while the Malaysian embassy helped them sort everything out, the tour operator, who has not been named, took five days to apologise.

It is thought that the attacking shark is the largest in the bay, known as ‘Survivor’ or ‘Big Mama’.

Other divers said tour groups regularly play ‘Russian Roulette’ with the shark, which often approaches divers and has to be pushed away with sticks and poles.

Big Mama the Jacobin.

Very scary to think that sharks are getting political and hewing to far, far left mostly discredited methods and means.

Extremely off-putting.

Breaking: Trestles officially put under lock and key leaving Huntington Beach as southern California’s last bastion of surf freedom!

Surf City, USA!

Surfing in or around Trestles, including but not limited to, Lowers, Middles and Uppers was officially made illegal today, mirroring draconian “state of emergency” laws in San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Though uncorroborated, it can be assumed that many tears are rolling down many pale cheeks in the Andino, Davis and Colapinto living rooms.

And while surfing, now recognized as a leading transmitter of the deadly Coronavirus, has been put on par with rape and murder there is still one, last place where us wave dancers, us angry hueys, can slide free.

Surf City, USA.

Huntington Beach, California.

But what a powerful statement, what a beacon of hope shining in this current darkness. Huntington Beach, previously most famous for hosting an underaged bacchanal known as The U.S. Open of Surfing, is the home of many C- waves including Bolsa Chica, Seventeenth Street, the north side of the pier and the south side of the pier.

When reached for comment World Surf League CEO Erik Logan said:

“Surfing is a very close, tight-knit community. The relationships that over the years we’ve developed with all of our athletes have been phenomenal. My view is that our athletes are a big part of our business. I view them as shareholders, as the beneficiaries, and the better we become as an organization, the better we become as a business. If the platform grows, that affords more opportunities for our professional athletes.”

It was also revealed today that the WSL’s  podcast, The Lineup has averaged 15,000 downloads per week and is the #1 surfing podcast since launching in late 2019. Popular episodes range from four-time WSL champion Carissa Moore breaking the news that she was taking the 2020 season off to Sage Erickson speaking about the role of female athletes and dealing with body shaming issues from past sponsors.

But back to Huntington Beach. Will you quietly pack your boards and sneak toward its open shores or wait for your own city council to become embarrassed?

More as the story develops.