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.
Today, after much rain and Biblical flooding, is a gorgeous day in Cardiff by the Sea. The sun is shining, birds singing and life is the hollow reminder of a gorgeous dream. Hollow reminder because Cardiff, like much of the world, is on severe Coronavirus lockdown. Parks closed, hiking trails closed, the beach… closed.
Bike riding is still theoretically allowed and so my wife and I went for a peddle toward Seaside Beach, ironically passing its first son Rob Machado along the way. We did not stop to chat, just a friendly wave from twelve feet apart.
Maintaining the social distance.
Halfway toward our destination, I became extraordinarily hungry, fitness being a foreign concept more or less, and my wife decided to support a small local business in time of need. Ki’s makes fine salads and so we each ordered one, the Nomnam Bowl featuring green leaf lettuce, rice noodles, basil, cucumber, pickled carrot and daikon, nut mix, cilantro, Thai peanut sauce, Sriracha and choice of protein.
My wife and I both chose chicken.
We then peddled across the street to eat them on beach front boulders once part of the Beach House property, a restaurant shuttered long before Covid-19 and rotting.
Sun shining, birds singing, waves rolling up all foamy and brown thanks to much rain and Biblical flooding.
A State Park police vehicle could be seen in the distance, making sure citizens were crowding sidewalks instead of the wide open beach.
A woman dared sit with her dogs in front of the break Georges, a few hundred yards up the beach toward Seaside, and he raced to chase her away.
Saving the public.
I took a bite and watched, enjoying the blend of Thai peanut sauce and Sriracha, troubled by vast totalitarian creep.
A lifeguard truck did a lap, stopped in front of where we were eating and said, “The guy behind me is going to ask you guys to move.”
“Why?” I wondered. “We’re not on the beach.”
“I don’t know…” he responded, clearly annoyed with his new duty. “…ask him.”
Minutes later, after chasing an elderly couple playing backgammon in the parking lot, the State Park police vehicle was upon us and a stern warning was issued from the bullhorn.
“Vacate the beach!”
Not being on the beach I waited until he came closer and put his bullhorn down but he did not and put on his sternest voice.
“VACATE THE BEACH!”
I defiantly lagged and that’s when Officer Holle swung his door wide and demanded my identification.
Like the small man behind the booming voice in The Wizard of Oz, Officer Holle could not have been taller than 5’6, 5’7 tops and young, vaguely ginger with awkwardly shaped legs. Feminine yet thick. Inwardly turned knees. The sort of legs that would have made it difficult for him to keep up with the “fast runners” in grade school. An unremarkable face twisted into a mirror-practiced version of Johnny Law.
I barked, “For what?” and we continued a verbal back and forth before I handed him my identification because, literally, for what?
I told him he should be embarrassed. That I was only beach adjacent trying to enjoy a healthy salad after an unexpected workout. He told me, through quivering lower lip, that he too was suffering as he was unable to go to the mountains.
I asked why.
Backup was called in.
Initially, I thought my imposing stature, towering above li’l Officer Holle, made him feel nervous, scared and that he needed another adult-sized male also wearing jackboots to keep him company but as I watched, realized that Officer Holle had absolutely no idea what I should be in trouble for and having trouble finding the proper infractions etc.
The codes I had violated and whatnot.
While I crouched on the boulder, waiting to receive whatever draconian punishment coming my way, still eating my salad and feeling the weight of our current totalitarian world order an older bald man, one half of the elderly couple busted for their potentially deadly game of backgammon, came running over shouting, “I hope you’re giving that officer hell. The high tide water mark is where their jurisdiction ends and we Californians have fought for that freedom for years!”
I nodded, feeling the weight of my important place in the new freedom movement.
A spokesperson, certainly, but also now a pillar.
Suffering for the cause like Harvey Milk.
The backup stood and might have been embarrassed but I couldn’t see his face as he was wearing a mask.
When Officer Holle re-emerged from his truck he was also wearing a mask and called me over.
“Am I allowed to touch the beach?” I asked.
“I’m telling you to come here…” he responded mustering his inner li’l lion and so I touched that sacred sand, making my way over for an explanation of my crimes.
I was being charged with a misdemeanor. On the ticket it read, “COVID WARNING” and “COV. CODE 409.5 PUB HEALTH.”
The nearest person was now well over a few hundred yards away.
After aggressively scrawling my name, I marched back toward the boulders and let loose the classic, “I hope you’re proud of yourself, buddy.” Like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Like Che Guevara. Like Andrew Breitbart. Like Andrew Cuomo.
Like Mahatma Gandhi and now I am the official face of Freedom in the time of Coronavirus.
Of The People’s™ right to enjoy healthy salads on boulders on private property after surprisingly strenuous bicycle rides.
Oh I will fight this ticket to the end in court but I will need you, the greatest of all BeachGrit lawyers drafted from the august institution of the comment section. A handful of you practice jurisprudence, no?
I’m figuring a few more than OJ Simpson had, as our civil rights are being trounced more than his ever were, plus our case will have an extremely high profile as surfers, and those who to profess to be, are now public enemies no. 1.
Ten lawyers tops.
Eleven if one is related to Robert Kardashian.
Free the salad eaters.
After we’re done there we can free the surfers.
Heroes will rise.
We always do.
Watch: “Exceptionally depraved” juvenile Great White shark attempts to eat man, pregnant fiancée out practicing responsible social distancing!
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.
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.
Hot rumor: World Surf League even odds on canceling entire 2020 Championship Tour!
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.
Photo courtesy KUCI News.
Watch: San Diego surfer stages brave rebellion against draconian anti-surf laws; holds sign declaring “Give me waves or give me COVID!”
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.