Better than actual surfing, yes? | Photo: @raglansurfreport

Listen: Surfer “comedian” Luke Cederman on COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand, “We have people over here with pitchforks and torches. If someone’s doing something wrong, ‘Get ‘em , throw ‘em in jail, fine ‘em!’ It’s turned everyone against each other!”

Neighbour against neighbour on Dirty Water, episode four.

Today on Dirty Water, Chas and I talk about many exciting things with the pro-ish surfer, comedian, creator of the YouTube series One And a Half Men and the star of our Once Upon a Time in New Zealand wetsuit film last year, Luke Cederman.

Luke is anti-camper, pro-lockdown, the screw-footed king of NZ’s most famous lefthand point and proprietor of the Instagram account @raglandsurfreport.

We talk,

Why the he took the anti-surfing side during New Zealand’s level four lockdown, how the lockdown “has turned everyone against each other”, his remarkable COVID-19 proof t-shirts, whether or not surfing makes him happy or if he surfs out of habit and maybe indignity, if kooks have equal rights, like, no, if he had to surf one wave for the rest of his life what would it be and what does it take to qualify as a surfer.

Chas, meanwhile, waxes with typical eloquence on the joys of being a lower intermediate surfer and pumping down the line, missing section after section.


Man runs straight into machine-gun fire while pal cowers in trench.

Hand of God: Bondi Surfers almost killed flouting COVID-19 beach lockdown!

"Funniest thing I’ve seen this swell but also the most dangerous."

The lord, oh don’t he move in mysterious ways.

A few day ago, at a swinging lefthander very close to Bondi, a bay closed, fenced off, and with rangers in yellow vests patrolling the surrounding pathways, but with a sort of tacit agreement that it’s ok to surf if you don’t access the joint via the beach, unlike Bondi where lifeguard and cops threaten fines, two surfers were very nearly gifted a free pass to heaven.

In a video reposted by Bondi photographer Bill Morris, a surfer who is familiar with the little bay featured, we see two visitors to the joint attempt to enter the water from a rarely used southern access point.

“Funniest thing I’ve seen this swell but also the most dangerous,” says Bill. “Why tf would you go off there when there’s a perfectly good rip that takes you straight to the take off zone. Dumb asses!”

It makes for outstanding viewing of course.

The pair are like soldiers trapped in no man’s land, one climbing out of his trench and running straight into a machine gun, the other blown back by enemy fire.

The icing on this particular cake, howevs, is the happy dance performed by man blown back as he watches friend take a fifty-foot ride over barnacled rock on his back.

Glory days.

"Danger is our business."
"Danger is our business."

Florida surfers revolt against Coronavirus Clampdown: “COVID-19 is not here, bro!”

Take THAT Gestapo!

The general public has officially grown restless. Arbitrary beach closures, trail closures, dumping sand into skate parks, widespread tattling, “reading a book under a tree” made a crime, Coronavirus Gestapo reaching levels of ecstasy over broad, unchecked powers, etc.

A nasty turn but we’ll always have Florida and that is where we shall travel for our next grand tale of surfer rebellion. To St. Augustine Beach, specifically, near Jacksonville where the Jaguars thrill the masses with a less-than-inspired brand of professional football.

For it is there that city officials decided to open beaches from 6 am to 12 noon for physical activity etc.

Why not open until 5 pm or even 7 pm?

Common sense does not reign in the Time of Coronavirus and let us turn to Jacksonville’s local news affiliate for the surfer reaction.

On Friday evening, the beaches were closed to the public but that didn’t stop many people from hitting the sand and surf in defiance on the last day of the current order.

“COVID-19 is not here, bro,“ a young St. Johns County surfer told News4Jax as he walked off the beach Friday night. “We’ve been out here the whole time, just having fun man.”

As of Friday evening, there were 186 cases of COVID-19 in St. Johns County and four have died due to the illness.

“COVID-19 is not here, bro!”

A rallying cry?

Our rallying cry?

More as the story develops.

Tell it like it is.

Political dynamite: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warns wanna-be VALS: “If you don’t surf, don’t start!”

"A vast confederacy of losers."

In an explosive press conference earlier today, New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern, whose government banned surfing almost one month ago, announced it was considering easing the lockdown, starting next Wednesday.

With one important caveat.

If you don’t surf, don’t start.

“Level 3 is a progression, not a rush to normality. It carries forward many of the restrictions in place at level 4, including the requirement to mainly be at home in your bubble and to limit contact with others. Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our primary focus but we also need to position the economy for recovery.”

Blah blah.


Surfing, swimming and beach fishing would be back on the menu but “people should not take up new activities that they had never done before.

Have you ever read such charged words?

Don’t think about even wanting to surf.

I wonder,

Is this Ardern’s “We will fight them on the beaches” moment, an echo of Churchill’s stirring speech to the House of Commons in 1940, as the Nazi jackboot stood poised on the Brit’s neck?

The Don’t Surf, Don’t Start campaign was the work of Gotcha founder Michael Tomson, of course, and if we peel ourselves away from 2020 for a moment and peer into Matt Warshaw’s cupboard, we’ll examine its influence.

Gotcha’s hipness was in part born of contempt for the people buying the project. The company’s sneering formulation of cool was epitomized by their 1988 “Don’t Surf” campaign. Each ad featured a full-page black-and-white portrait selected from what Gotcha’s marketing heads obviously saw as a vast confederacy of losers—schoolboy nerd, fat teen, middle-aged bald guy, low-life urbanite—and an all-caps banner reading, “If You Don’t Surf, Don’t Start.” Turn the page and there was a blazing color action shot of a Gotcha teamrider, with a second banner: “If You Surf, Never Stop.” Cruel and effective.

Cruel but effective.

Cruel but effective. 

A vast confederacy of losers. 

It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth, as they say.

Listen: “I already go to bed hating myself every night… but bless Jack Freestone and Alana Blanchard and the future of professional surfing!”

We live in the future!

We are officially living in the future, a vast Coronavirus pandemic erasing the entire past in just a few short weeks. When humanity emerges from its quarantine cocoon, things will be much different. 1 in 7 people won’t have jobs, professional basketball players will complete a shortened season in empty arenas, professional surfing will likely write off the 2020 tour and point toward 2021.

But does a tour make sense even then? Will sponsors be lining up to underwrite events that generate tens of thousands of views? Will co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff still have the money/desire to toss tens of millions after tens of millions holding onto some hope even after social distancing’s premier game couldn’t get ‘er done when it mattered?


And maybe professional surfing looks like a YouTube channel featuring fun, sun and parenting tips exactly like Jack Freestone and Alana Blanchard’s Happy Waves.

Oh it may sound like I’m fun making but I always sound like I’m fun making.


Jack Freestone is handsome and winning. Alana Blanchard is beautiful and spirited. They both surf very fine, form an extremely cute family unit, speak YouTube fluently and generate more clicks and “engagement” in a month than Erik Logan’s World Surf League does all year even though Erik Logan is Oprah Winfrey’s prodigy and a Storyteller in Chief.



Will the World Surf League transition to an agency representing “talent” and help “currate” surf-esque “shows” while rolling the tour back to “key events” that can hold much “ancillary content?”

David Lee Scales and I discuss this, Bill Gates and how much I go to bed, each night, hating myself. We broke quarantine to meet in San Clemente, in person, so this is back to being our best show yet.

When reached for comment World Surf League CEO Erik Logan said, “We are equally as aggressive in the development off-platform space as we are for the on-platform and even social space that you’re seeing. That is an area that obviously most people don’t see, and you only see the fruits of that development when deals are struck and when shows are announced, but the work is continuing at a very accelerated rate.”

Listen here!