Vichy gendarme proudly poses with busted parallel fin riding VAL earlier this year. | Photo: @GendarmerieLandes

Report from COVID-shuttered Hossegor: Vichy Gendarmerie bring jackboot down on rogue VALS!

Police hard at work in south-west France…

Three weeks ago, BeachGrit’s Paul Evans reported exciting stories of subterfuge coming from the hissing beachbreaks of south-west France. 

Surfboards hidden under blackberry bushes, surfers being chased by unmarked cars, lineups patrolled by predatory carrion crows. 

It was, it seemed, as if the French Resistance had been reanimated in 2020 as it had under the grip of the Third Reich and its French collaborators in 1942. 

Today, via an old pal from Hossegor, we see the latest work of the Vichy Gendarmerie, who will hit you with a thousand-Euro fine ($U1100 or $A1800) for surfing and one hundred and thirty-five Euros for being more than a click from your house.

The Republic’s president, kinky Manny “My bodyguard is not my lover” Macron, a man who began dating his teacher, later his wife, when he was sixteen, says the lockdown is going to stick until May 11, almost four weeks hence.

The photos make for good viewing, I think. 

Here, a man who may not have the necessary chops to be riding a low-volume Pyzel although his fin cluster may be the next breakthrough following the Backwards Fin Revolution. 

Here, VG storm the beaches. 

And, here, drawing various invasion routes across Hossegor’s beaches.

Of course, while the government and its collaborators want you to stay locked in your room, terrified, watching television, I’m of the mind that sunshine and giving yourself to the abandonment of the waves are much more useful, to health and mind.


Kelly Slater: “I was told by authorities that I can’t stand and look at the ocean in Australia today!”

Common sense for uncommon times.

We, here at your BeachGrit, dutifully report on every stray thought 11x World Champion, musician, homeowner Kelly Slater has because it is our sworn duty as surf journalists. Because, also, he continues to be the most interesting character in our sphere. And, lastly, because his every stray thought form a complex teleology.

A form of philosophical art not seen since Marcel Duchamp.

Kelly is whimsical, quizzical, conspiratorial, well-considered in equal measure and sometimes even ventures into taut profundity.

Today, via his main stage, he declared:

I was told by the authorities that I ‘can’t stand and look at the ocean’ in Australia today. That’s a first.

Below we have officers guarding Trestles and making sure nobody surfs. Obviously, this type of thing assures that everyone will crowd anywhere else you are allowed to surf/exercise at (and drive a few people crazy).

To ask a rhetorical question, how is this helping? If social distancing works, couldn’t these officers help monitor and make sure everyone just remains aware of it?

Weird times my friends.

Weird indeed and, not to nitpick here, but Kelly’s rhetorical question should be asked non-rhetorically to the authorities and various Coronavirus Gestapo collaborators.

How is this helping?

And, when it is all said and done, will surfers be angry enough to stage a political reign of terror?

Australian, American, French, New Zealander politicians rhetorically guillotined?

More as the story develops.

Clue: Is World Surf League Chief Executive Erik Logan actually a computer-generated bot?

The plot thickens.

Ah, the start of another lockdown California day where traipsing through the daisies is forbidden, surfing is forbidden, eating pan-Asian cuisine outdoors is forbidden, touching the sandy beach is forbidden, sitting down at a table not personally owned is forbidden, owning a copy of The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism is forbidden, etc.

Shockingly surf journalism is not forbidden, not yet anyhow, and if/when the Coronavirus Clampdown comes to an end, this era will be known for stunning work in that proud field alongside the moment when mankind tumbled headlong into a worldwide police state.

Investigative pieces on how world champion Gabriel Medina keeps his hair silky and skin soft and a fascinating clue as to how World Surf League Chief Executive Officer Erik Logan first became interested in surfing’s marketability.

For it was on February 6, 2018 under a picture of surf hunk Jay Alvarez that Logan wrote, “Wow, I love this!” then included a surfer emoji and a wave emoji.

Well, four months prior under a picture of a shuttered lifeguard tower in San Clemente, Logan wrote, “Wow, this is awesome!” then included the same surfer and wave emoji.

The owner of the account, Mike Fusco @supfusco alerted me to this new clue and the plot certainly thickens.

Fusco replied, “Very strange indeed. I do not know, nor have I ever met him. I considered that maybe I have the sex appeal of a hunky, tan, Wavestorm-gripping 20 something and concluded yes – but he has no way of know that that based on my Instagram. I mean, it’s a nice photo of a beach in San Clemente that I took myself, but is it really ‘awesome?’ No.”

Thickens all the way to a rich panang curry and could it be possible that Erik Logan is, in fact, a computer-generated bot?

The simple phrasing “Wow, I love this!” “Wow, this is awesome!” and the same emojis suggest very likely and it would also answer many questions.

When reached for comment, Logan said, “We know we’re coming out at some point in time. What does it look like at a point in time in the future? Let’s talk about there and start working backwards. By doing that you’re able to have very productive conversations with everybody because, to a person, everybody acknowledges this is temporary. Nobody knows how temporary, but in terms of navigating the temporariness of where we are, you’re able to sit back and take a long-term view.”

More as the story develops.

Turn your bathtub into a realistic blood-bath!

Say goodbye to COVID-19 depression: Get the thrill of a catastrophic Great White shark attack in the safety of own bath tub!

Lots of fun scaring your friends!

You gotta laugh, am I right? 

Cops patrolling the streets, the beaches, the parks; the World Health Organisation in the pockets of the architects of a virus that’s doin’ what no war or fascist dictator ever could, bringing the capitalistic west to its knees.

Food lines, empty shelves, an unemployment tsunami coming that’s worse than the Great Depression at its peak.

But let’s not cut too deep.

Smile a little.

Here, for rowdy fun, is the BeachGrit Great White Shark Bath Bomb.

You’ll have lots of fun scaring your friends and loved ones when you pop this in your tub and the water runs a bloody red.

Results may differ from photo.

The size of an oddly shaped baseball, roughly two-and-a-half inches high, and, inexplicably, painted green and without eyeballs, the BeachGrit Great White Shark Bath Bomb is handmade in Atlanta, Georgia, and numbers are strictly limited.

Cuter, even, than formal wear for chubby children.

Buy here. 

Breaking: Bold surf journalist Chas Smith gets pummeled by Coronavirus Gestapo for daring eat cashew pork with medium spice near the beach!

Heroes have risen.

The sun is out in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, again, apparently unaware there is a novel Coronavirus terrorizing the entire globe. Striking much fear into hearts and minds from Hot Water Beach, New Zealand to Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz, USA.

Terrorizing and striking much fear but thankfully we have bold global leaders who have plotted humanity on a course where few people have caught the un-common cold, fewer people have jobs and no people have even make-believe freedoms.

Pretend rights.

After puttering around the house for a moment, make-believe teaching my young daughter homeschool math and happening to catch part of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s press conference, I decided to go for yet another bike ride even though the last one ended disastrously and/or historically.

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s press conference was playing at very low volume as he and I have beef but I saw his lips moving and saw words like “we won” and “curve flattened” and “restrictions eased.”

I didn’t know where I was going, as there is officially nowhere to go, but outside is better than inside and with restrictions eased felt I might stumble into a block party.

Maybe a street magician performing entertaining sleight of hand.

My first stop was a point overlooking my local break. I knew it wasn’t firing as the wind whipped hard and onshore first thing this morning but old habits die hard.

There were whitecaps as far as the eye could see and a 300 yard ribbon of chocolate brown from the latest rain squalls.

Cashew nut pork brown.

Suddenly I became very hungry, fitness being a foreign concept more or less, and needed sustenance.

Birdseye Kitchen in Leucadia has the best cashew nut pork anywhere outside Laos and so I called in a quick order with a side of white rice. Spice medium. 5 on a scale of 1 – 10 which is always a sneaky treat. Sometimes it is more mild than I prefer but usually singes perfectly.

It took me fifteen minutes to pick it up and while I was riding back to eat it in my yard became very scared that it would be too cold.

Panicked, I saw a little patch of grass with no one around.

Should I dare?

Could I dare?

Nobody was around and Gavin Newsom bullish and….

…cold cashew pork with medium spice is a crime in itself so I parked my bike, sat on a towel that my bike carries, unsheathed my chopsticks and partook.


After a few minutes a very elderly man shuffled to a bench, well over 25 yards away, and unfurled a newspaper. After a few more minutes a mom with her toddler posted up on a picnic table an equal 25 yards away and unfurled a lunch.

Sun out.

Birds singing.

Then, without warning, all hell broke loose. Three sheriff SUVs came sliding to a stop patch of grass adjacent. Recalling my previous brush with the Coronavirus Gestapo, I wanted nothing to do with any of it and got up to vacate but too late.

Bull rushed by a masked Gestapo, one hand on gun, the other on ticket book. I told him I was moving along, heading back to quarantine jail, but no matter.

“These are our Governor’s demands.”

There was no use arguing and I hoped to draw ire away from very elderly man and mom with toddler but no such luck.

The Gestapo had them too.

I told my officer to stop talking to me and just write the damned ticket, which he did, then made my way over to the mom and toddler and told all three on her case that they should all be ashamed of themselves, breathily whispering “Shame on you…” into one of their masked ears for emphasis.

“Governor Newsom…” one of them uttered again.

Governor Newsom and I have now have fresh beef.

Ticket two.

First for Thai-esque salad.

Second for cashew pork featuring medium spice.

Both within view of the ocean.

Heroes have risen.