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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-vO7DPB_kn/

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-uxznMhhAA/

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.


Even in the COVID-era life ain't all homework and parents getting up in y'grill for the most trivial misdemeanors. A little nor-east swell, away from the pack. | Photo: @totesrad

Spare happy children the COVID-19 surfing ban: “the feeling of living on borrowed time is difficult to shake, every go out now a treasured event…”

The biggest concerted effort to keep surfers from the ocean since, when? The coastal lockdowns of World War II?

Well, fuck me if the world hasn’t gone to hell in a hand basket.

The possibility of a complete ban on surfing hangs heavy in the air, poised to be enacted with every passing day.

Bondi, Bronte, Tamarama, Maroubra, Coogee and Clovelly beaches already closed in Sydney.

The Gold Coast joining the list, the Mid-North Coast too.

Overseas, police arrests and military forces patrolling the coastline.

The biggest concerted effort to keep surfers from the ocean since, when?

The coastal lockdowns of World War II?

Missionaries trying to dissuade Indigenous Hawaiians form undertaking their sexually charged heathen practice of “he’e nalu” in the nineteenth century?

Whatever the answer, the feeling of living on borrowed time is difficult to shake, every go out now a treasured event.

With two kids kept home from school for the last week, cabin fever was beginning to build by Thursday.

I’m fortunate to live near a stretch of coastline that still affords the possibility of a solo session more often than not.

Mid-week and late afternoon, no other souls at the beach where I fell in love with the ocean.

It’s two foot, little low-0tide runners along the sand bank. Looks fun.
Water’s warm, with a light offshore puff, a grommets delight.

Kids having a blast.

Every Christmas, the majority of the residents in my community still migrate ten kilometres east to this small coastal hamlet, a hangover tradition from when life was hardscrabble and enjoying holidays locally was your only option.

From where I sit out the back, I can see the spot my family used to camp over the summer break, my father transporting half a house full of belongings for a month long stint, the only break he took from labouring all year.

Absolute beach front, you could piss onto the sand in the middle of the night if your bladder was full enough.

Set-up was a full family affair with uncles pitching in a half a day’s effort to get the job done.

They experience the same a generation before, my grandparents taking them to the same spot since the mid-1950’s.

Family lore says that I was scared shitless of the ocean for the first decade or so of my life, infatuated with it since the day my Uncle dragged me kicking and screaming out past the breakers on a small day, breaking the fear bubble and introducing me to a wonderous new world.

This beach was the scene of the wondrous experiences of being a teenage frother, surfing four or five times a day with lifelong friends. The crew of mates that, even with the coming of adulthood and distance, still remain your crew, even if you only speak a few times a year.

Dalliances on the land with my future wife.

The strip of sand shaping so much of my life.

All this flashes through my mind as I watch my son, roughly the age I was when the tentacles of surf stoke first dug into my brain, catch a little bowly right.

Off the bottom, tuck into a little barrel. Out the other end.

First one he’s made.

Face like a split watermelon, smiling with stoke.

Outside the water, the world turns and writhes and takes on shapes and dimensions we could never have imaged possible.

But in the water, the ocean, the beach is the constant.

The waves come in, my kids ride them, where I rode them, where my father and uncles rode them, where my grandfather swam every morning on his one hard earned holiday of the year.

But for how much longer?