Three-time world champ Tom Curren in game of White Face. | Photo: Andrew Kidman

Listen: Soul Queen Andrew Kidman and Lit-God Longtom hit the WSL’s “utter bastardisation” of surfing, the murder of surfing’s greatest underdog and the “value of freedom for surfers, right now!”

Who got killed in his bath on the North Shore? The mystifying behaviour of the WSL! The joy of early infection! And why three-time world champ Tom Curren likes to play "White Face"!

Today on Dirty Water, which is episode three, we’ve got two special guests, the creator of game-changing surf film Litmus in 1996, its 2019 sequel Beyond Litmus, the surfboard design documentary On the Edge of a Dream where an impossible to ride board is filmed ruining the live of myriad surfers, the queen of soul Andrew Kidman.

Kidman also made the films Single, with Stephanie Gilmore, Glass Love, and Spirit of Akasha, a sort of sequel to Morning of the Earth, which premiered at the Sydney Opera House.

He’s also made myriad album with The Windy Hills and The Val Dusty Experiment,  shapes boards, takes photographs, writes books and produces a tabloid-sized, although far from tabloid in nature, newsprint surf magazine.

The Surfers Journal describes Kidman as “our equivalent of a roving medieval ascetic, spreading his high-consciousness idealism to the four corners of the surfing world.”

But don’t think Kidman, who is a former Australian champion surfer, is gonna put you to sleep.

He works from the angle that he has to produce work that offsets the WSL’s “utter bastardisation” of his beloved sport.

The second guest is BeachGrit’s star writer, Lennox Heads’ own Anton Chekhov, Steve “Longtom” Shearer.

There’s a little synergy there.

Both live around Byron Bay, Longtom in a joint so close to Lennox Point you could toss a rock out the window and hit an inflatable mat rider; Kidman on a farm near Mount Warning, in a little hamlet thirty minutes drive inland from Murferville, that Vanity Fair-profiled haven of narcissism and clandestine infighting.

Chas is here, too, begging to be infected with COVID-19 and, me, as always, unable to shake off the dust of delusion.

Listen etc. It ain’t too long.

(Buy DVD/digital download/hard-cover book of Beyond Litmus, here.)

Not masked, not scared.
Not masked, not scared.

Watch: “Exceptionally depraved” juvenile Great White shark attempts to eat man, pregnant fiancée out practicing responsible social distancing!

Equally scary and rude.

The beaches are closed, the world cancelled, surf breaks policed, Ministry of Health gestapo jackbooting through parks, public squares, shopping center common areas swinging six-foot long billy clubs and smirking. Those not smacked in the head are severely vibed by neighbors in full protective gear for daring, daring to asymptomatically shower the world with their likely Coronavirus infection.

But where is a man supposed to take his pregnant fiancée for a little space? A little fresh air and responsible social distance?

If that man and his pregnant fiancée live in Western Australia, near the famed Margaret River etc. then out fishing on a ski. Far from others. Catching a dinner that has not been coughed upon at the grocery store.

And that is where we find Simon Tien, forty, a paramedic at a mining site in north-west WA, five hundred clicks inland from Exmouth, and his pregnant fiancée. Simon does one week on, one week off, although in the apocalypse it’s now two weeks on two weeks off. Nightshift worker, deals with medical emergences etc.

They’ve been doing a lot of fishing lately because the surf has been so crowded.


So, they’re fishing off the back of the ski and caught a big two-foot King George Whiting. “Unhead of down here,” Simon says and a queen snapper. Just before sunset his girl hooks a big jewfish.

A Prize sorta fish.

She’s fighting the thing until exhaustion at which point Simon takes over, eventually pulls it in and…

…just a head.

A menacing calm fills the air. Silent. Even the various Coronaviruses hovering about are still. Frightened.

Then the shark appears as if a sick joke. A violent prank.

Initially, Simon doesn’t know if it’s a juvenile White or a big Mako. It’s eight feet long, has the white belly etc.

“Same markings. But it was stealth,” Simon says.


It swings back around and tries to bite Simon on the foot, which is resting in the ski’s gunwale, then has a go at biting the transom of the ski. Really digging in with all its vicious, exceptionally depraved might.

At which point Simon hammers the throttle and makes a run toward the shore.

“It was an adrenaline rush with a pregnant fiancee,” Simon says. “It had big eyes and it came straight out of the water. I thought, fucken hell, is this thing going to get us? One of those crazy situations.”

Classic Australians. The sort you’d be lucky to share the apocalypse with.

“We both though it was pretty fucken good.”

Simon says he’ll use a sled off the back of the ski to put a bit of distance between him and the next shark.


The owner of professional surfing and co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff (far right) in happier days etc.
The owner of professional surfing and co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff (far right) in happier days etc.

Hot rumor: World Surf League even odds on canceling entire 2020 Championship Tour!

Another Coronavirus bite?

And this nasty Coronavirus business just keeps getting worse and worse and worse and worse, if a less dire than predicted death toll is left out of the equation. Schools cancelled,  hugging cancelled, eating outside of the home cancelled, performing personal hygiene after using the toilet cancelled, office picnics, movies, jog-a-thons, double dates cancelled, cancelled, cancelled.

To make things even worser, a new hot rumor floating straight down from 3 – 4 bedroom homes in the greater Santa Monica/Manhattan Beach corridor whispers that the World Surf League is 50/50 on cancelling the entire season, not just the first handful of events.

Executives allegedly complaining that “millions have been lost…”

Which begs a few questions.

How much does Australia pay for Snapper, Bells and West Oz?


Also, does the rest of the tour also lose millions so carrying on without Australia becomes a loss on top of a loss?

Also, can the World Surf League survive as a “content producer” without a tour? Publishing exciting podcasts about body shaming etc.?

Also, will you be depressed?

Oh, let’s try not to be so dour. This is an anti-depressive place. Glasses half full etc. so there are also even odds on saving the rest of the 2020 Championship Tour.

I take those every time I cross the street and am still alive!

Let’s clink half full glasses in celebration. A roar back to action in Brazil circa June.


More as the story develops.

Watch: San Diego surfer stages brave rebellion against draconian anti-surf laws; holds sign declaring “Give me waves or give me COVID!”

Heroes will rise.

It has been pouring rain for over 24 hours across much of southern California, threatening to wash the bottom half of the state into the mighty Pacific. If that were to happen, city officials from San Diego up through Santa Barbara would have a large dilemma on their hands as playing in the ocean is currently outlawed. Banned. Barred. Met with heavy fines and frowny-face’d tsk-tsks from Ken “Skindog” Collins.

Would the officials have enough pages in their ticket books? Enough judges to process all the cases? Much stress.

Well, during any time of wanton oppression, heroes rise. Two days ago we met Don Abadie who took his boat and made a brave attempt on empty Lower Trestles.

Today, we meet Jack Silverwood and let’s go straight away to San Diego’s local news for details.

Encinitas surfer Jack Silverwood believes this overarching order is infringing on his constitutional rights.

He spent the day Thursday protesting the beach closures at the famous Cardiff Kook with signs that read, “Commies can’t surf,” “Give me waves or give me COVID,” and “Kim Prather is a Kook.”

Silverwood is pointing out the actions of our local government have been overreaching, like a communist regime.

A communist regime or a fascist regime.

When reached for comment, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan said, “We feel very good and very confident that we can monetise this global audience of surfers through a variety of different business models. Direct-to-consumer is a powerful one, but not the only one. However, in the near term, given where we are with the crisis today, it is something that we have off to the side.”

But do you have a protest planned? An act of defiance? I’m cooking one up both literally and figuratively.

More as the story develops.

Rumor: World Surf League handing out onerous contracts to all surf media (save your BeachGrit) in order to meet CEO Erik Logan’s bullish pledge!

Rebel tour time.

But don’t you remember, at the beginning of this Coronavirus Apocalypse, when freshly appointed World Surf League CEO Erik Logan, fresh from roles as World Surf League President of Content, Media and Studios and President of the Oprah Winfrey Network declared…

I’m very bullish that the other side of this is going to be a more robust media property with the World Surf League and a more inclusive media property for our endemic partners, our surfers, and our fans. And, I think, a more widely consumed product than we’ve ever had before because of the platforms, so I’m energized by the opportunity we have to think about the business.

That energy has led to many, many offers from the World Surf League’s Santa Monica headquarters to existing surf media properties including……… oh I can’t say but have heard and also heard the offered deals are completely onerous and outright laughable. Like, laughable even from hardened and desperate souls begging to sign anything at all.

I don’t know, officially, though because, also rumored, the World Surf League has assured potential takers of the onerous deals that your BeachGrit, specifically, is not included.

If this is it, if the war is finally all the way here and it’s The People™ vs. Co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff, who is no doubt quarantined to the gills, then I am weeping with happy and weeping even more with happy when the World Surf League presents Stab High re-emerges after this epoch subsides.

Will it subside?

Will we ever hug again?

More as the story develops.