Jordy Smith (captured by Jack English) very sad to be in Hawaii.
Jordy Smith (captured by Jack English) very sad to be in Hawaii.

Covid-19: Jordy Smith, Michael February rejoice as South Africa re-opens beaches to “professional surfers” only!

Dooma Fahrenfort stands weeping on the beach.

Now, I am fairly certain that South Africa’s most popular professional surfer, Jordy Smith, is not currently quarantining in his homeland but rather in Hawaii though he must be waking up this morning, light trades buffeting his veranda, with a heavy case of FOMO.

Fear of missing out on some of the best surf his country has to offer with only Michael February and Grant “Twiggy” Baker in the lineup.

Damien Fahrenfort on the sand trying to convince the authorities that his Wikipedia is wrong. That he is not, in fact, a “South African businessperson” but rather a professional surfer.

For the brave nation is set to reopen its beaches, its waves, with one major caveat.

Only professional surfers are allowed to enjoy.

And let us head, forthwith, to The North Coast Courier for more on this scientifically-sound turn of events.

“Only professional surfers will be allowed back into the water from Monday – but the question of social surfing at a later stage under lockdown is still up for debate.

While sports minister Nathi Methethwa appeared clear at a media briefing today that only professional sportspeople may resume training – and non-contact sports may hold matches – there would appear to be some wiggle room ahead over the “complex issue” of surfing.

Responding to media questions, Sports, Arts and Culture department director general, Vusumusi Mkhize hinted that surfing was still up for discussion with surfing associations.

“This issue of surfing, and water and the virus has been one of the very complex discussions based on scientific versions. There is a version of this virus thriving in cold environments and therefore then being a risk, that people, if they are a group swimming together and if it is a swimming games, there is a risk.

“But there are those who are saying that chlorine attacks and destroys the virus.

“On the other hand, the issue of surfing, because it is in open water, those are the issues we need to discuss for surfing,” said Mkhize, suggesting that they would liaise with the country’s surfing body, Surfing South Africa.

Oh Kim Prather, what a tangled web you wove but, quickly, what do you think counts as “professional surfer” in South Africa?

Would I, as a professional surf journalist qualify?

Would you, as a one-time local boardriders’ club under-45 third place finisher?

Imagine, just me, you, Michael February and Grant “Twiggy” Baker trading waves at perfect J-Bay. Jordy Smith crying in Hawaii, Dooma Fahrenfort denouncing business on the beach.

A dream we can make reality.

Flights from LAX – Cape Town are sitting at $1000.

RCJ, busted.

Big-wave icon Ross Clarke-Jones goes to supreme court to sue hell out of reality TV show producers for “horrific injury” that left him “totally incapacitated”!

“The former surfer was left screaming in agony…”

Ain’t no intro’s necessary for former world number 24, the Australian big-waver and 2001 Eddie Aikau winner Ross Clarke-Jones. 

(Jamie Brisick summarises his career thus, “His wipeouts are right up there with Evel Kneivel’s.)

Last year, Ross appeared on Australian Survivor, a worldwide reality television franchise where a group of celebs are dumped on an island and compete in various survival challenges to avoid elimination etc.

Last person standing wins. 

Ross, who was cast as “Mad Dog”, broke his ankle in a rope-swing challenge gone wrong. 

From Who magazine,

In a shocking moment during last night’s episode of Australian Survivor, contestant Ross Clarke-Jones was horrifically injured after a rope he was swinging on broke.

The big wave surfer was sent hurtling towards the edge of a wooden deck, causing him to hit his leg and snap his ankle.

While his tribemates made it across, the rope broke during Ross’s swing, sending him plummeting to the ground below.

The 53-year-old could be seen laying on the floor after his fall as a medical team rushed on set.

“The rope just broke!” Ross cried out in pain as the medics treated him.

The medical team deemed the injury serious and could be heard saying:

“The injury is serious enough that we need to take him off.”

Not wanting to leave the show so soon, the contestant insisted that he was fine.

“I’m good I’m good. Just stretched something,” Ross adamantly said.

“I’ve been to a couple of physio appointments, I’ve had an operation. It’s a long road ahead still, I won’t be surfing for another four to six months. This is the hardest thing to do, surfing is my livelihood so I can’t do anything, it’s horrible,” he told TV Week 

Now, Ross is seeing hell out of Endemol Shine Australia, the production company that produces Australian Survivor. 

Supreme Court fight card.

Ross, named as Howard Ross Clarke-Jones in court documents, is chasing damages for loss of past and present earnings, depression, anxiety, medical expenses etc.

“At the date of injury, the plaintiff was a professional big-wave surfer with sponsorship arrangements, including with Red Bull and Quiksilver…The plaintiff is and has been since his injury totally incapacitated for his previous employment and claims past loss of earning and future loss of earnings.”

Ross, who was paid twenty-five thousand dollars to appear in the series which featured a half-a-million dollar first prize, said, “I haven’t felt pain like that.

Watch rope swing fail here. 

More as this unfurls, although legal matters do proceed at a glacial pace.

Charlie Smith, author of four books and witness to world's most sordid surf fight, left, DR, top right, Longtom, bottom.

Listen: “The natural instinct in California is to be a sissy; how do you have any kind of respect for yourself if you get into a splash fight?”

Sissy fights, jealousy, wavepools affixed to government teat…the world's first anti-depressive podcast!

In today’s episode of Dirty Water, which was recorded yesterday afternoon, Steve “Longtom” Shearer joins me and Charlie Smith to discuss myriad important topics.

These include his blood feud with surf writer icon Nick Carroll, whom he used to “mail bitchy letters to all the time because he’s such a pro surfer whore” and a seventeen-hour surf fight he saw on the North Shore that started in the surf, moved to the beach, then the streets and, later presumably, a house.

Steve also tells the terrifying story of a friend who was convinced he was going to die during last week’s twelve-foot swell when he was thrown against unclimbable cliffs, saw God briefly, had to be rescued by a helicopter etc.

Charlie talks about his new…new…book, about his armed robber cousin who is closing in on the record for most bank robberies in the USA, this book not to be confused with his new book, Reports from Hell, which is at the printer but can be ordered here prior to its July 1 release, and a sissy surf fight he watched unfurl at home in Cardiff by the Sea.

“A splash in the face is way more emasculating than a punch,” says Charlie. “How do you have any respect for yourself after you’ve been in a splash fight?”

And, a bonus: anyone who leaves a review on iTunes, good, bad, don’t care as long as it’s entertaining, will get a BeachGrit tailpad. All you gotta do is write the review, email us the link ([email protected]) and you’ll get a tailpad in some random colour.

(Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, TuneIn + Alexa, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Pocket Cast, Castro, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, Deezer and Listen Notes.)

Share here. 

Listen here.

Pleasure Point via Surfline cam.
Pleasure Point via Surfline cam.

After Great White seen breaching off Pleasure Point, shark expert warns against attempted cuddling: “It’s a large, several-hundred pounds sea creature that eats animals about your size!”

"It's just so basic..."

Fame-adjacent Santa Cruz surfer Ken “Skindog” Collins is certainly having a renaissance during this the Coronavirus Apocalypse. He was thrust back near the spotlight many months ago by publicly declaring that surfers should take quarantine seriously and not participate in the Pastime of Kings until “flattening the curve.”

His position was mocked by fame-adjacent North County, San Diego surfer Joel Tudor and the battle lines were drawn.

Team Skindog on one side. Team Tudor on the other.

Hindsight reveals that the vast majority of surfers fell in behind Ken and created a heretofore unparalleled special unit of snitches, social media tattlers and surf magazine collaborationists. The curve was flattened, many were shamed for daring to paddle and victory gushed forth like the hoppiest double IPA.

Well, Skindog is back in the news again, this time posting an Instagram photo of a Great White Shark breaching off of Pleasure Point, captioning it, “FYI- Nor Cal Great White Shark population is growing. We are seeing them all over the place, even on @surfline.”

The breaching shark being a Great White was confirmed by Pelagic Shark Research Foundation Executive Director Sean Van Sommeran, who says the increasingly polarizing arguments that he hears about sharks bother him.

Per the local Good Times news:

On the one hand, Van Sommeran has heard claims that white shark populations are growing at dangerous rates—a theory floated in the caption of the jumping shark Instagram video—sometimes even prompting theories that sharks don’t deserve any protection, all of which Van Sommeran says isn’t true. (Three dead sharks have washed ashore locally in recent years—one from a gunshot, one that was hit by a boat and another that was likely killed by poisonous runoff, Van Sommeran says.)

At the same time, Van Sommeran often hears claims that all sharks are nothing more than harmless, cute sea creatures, ones that adventure seekers should chase after and try to see up close.

Not advisable, Van Sommeran says. “It’s just so basic: Don’t swim out to the sharks. It’s a large, several-hundred pounds sea creature that eats animals about your size. It’s not some cute baby shark that’s waiting for you to come say ‘Hi.’ Nor is it a prehistoric creature from Amityville that’s looking to kill everyone.”

And so, once again, we must pick sides.

Are you Team Cute Baby or Team Prehistoric Creature from Amityville That’s Looking to Kill Everyone?

Choose wisely.

Listen: “World Surf League CEO Erik Logan just threw out everything he had seen, heard, and pioneered a never-before-witnessed tube stance!”


Progression often flourishes in troubled times. When life is good, things move under the weight of their existing momentum. No change. No shift. Just same, same, same. Pain and hardship nourish innovation though. Fertilize it. Is it any coincidence that fertilizer is, in fact, shit?


And in these shitty times, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan just threw out everything he had seen, heard, and pioneered a never-before-witnessed tube stance at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch.

Should we watch?

What do you think? Functional, practical, efficient or an abomination to everything surfing means?

David Lee Scales and I discussed this morning alongside welcome guest Travis Ferré.

Travis, as you must recall, stuck to his principles and has refused to surf Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch.

He also felt Logan made a complete mockery of everything we love.


I found the barrel hideously wonderful. Grotesque in the 18th century art sort of way, though, after watching it multiple times don’t know that it can be classified as “complete.” Logan torqued his body into a position that made it impossible to get to his feet after blasting out into the cow scented air.

Doesn’t one have to be able to stand in order for a barrel to count?

We also discussed Inherent Bummer’s wonderful new surf film Surf Film (watch here), getting strong via sewage and other flotsam plus jetsam.

Feel free to listen here but don’t feel obliged.