A creeping madness enters surfing.
It started soon after Sunset was cancelled.
First: at an amateur event on a suburban beach on the east coast of Australia, an otherwise unremarkable twelve-year-old surf prodigy (just like the rest of them) curled up a tanned fist and punched his smart phone-clutching surf dad directly in the chin.
A jumping right hook connected with stubbly skin, startling the overweight, overbearing father/coach combo and knocked him to the ground, mid-livestream.
The son, still in his wetsuit, and with hatred in his eyes, grey like the sky above him, threw himself on top of dear papa, his hands around papa’s neck, screaming “Fuck you Kelly Slater! Fuck you John John!” over and over as papa gasped for air.
It took two comp officials to drag the screaming tween away.
Onlookers put it down to an isolated instance of surf rage. Years of pent up aggression and burgeoning testosterone erupting like lava, or a wet dream.
But then: two days later, two beaches south.
A travelling Japanese surfer took out his Modern mid-length from the boot of his red hatchback, unwound the plate and screw of his eight-foot Captain Fin Co single fin, and bludgeoned a nearby surfer to death with it. There appeared to be no link between the two surfers, other than that the victim happened to be parked near the accused and getting ready to surf at the same time.
Have you seen the damage a single fin can do to a man?
Witnesses said after the surprise attack had finished, the Japanese surfer placed his mid-length in a nearby bin before driving off. Exact details are still unconfirmed.
More acts of violence and insurrection quickly followed.
At famous Bondi beach, a local surf instructor pushed three adult learners out into backpacker’s rip, and watched as they disappeared over the horizon, the now tiny blue specks drowning, not waving, before stripping naked and driving to Waverley clinic.
“Lock me up,” she told the registrar on duty. “For I am guilty of spiritual treason.”
Before the media had time to put a name to the terror it had already spread.
At Lennox a disgruntled local snapped in half his AB six channel (the most sacred of his quiver), doused it in kerosene and set it on fire, running down the town’s commercial strip screaming ‘“Consciousness is nature’s nightmare” over and over.
And up the road at Byron, pastel-toned murfers turned on each other, pulling out hair and scratching out eyes while others piled their foam surfboards and linen clothes onto roaring fires at the site of the old whale station.
Across the sea, at Malibu, a long-docile surfing dog attacked its owner, sinking mottled fangs into wetsuit and flesh, while a gaggle of dreadlocked, semi-sentient skimboarders popped shuv-its in furious approval of the massacre.
Nearby, a Rincon local rode a wave from the Indicator all the way to the Cove, the line-up and the surfers flashing past him like memories, or a dream. (Witnesses say it was the best wave of his life). He beached his ride, took off his leg rope, left the board on the sand, and walked straight into the incoming traffic of the Screaming Eagles highway.
In Oregon, a foiler rode his craft into a pod of dolphins, killing three.
Hawaii, small Makaha: a gang of rabid SUPs beat a windsurfer to death with their paddles, as the now-riderless sailboard steered itself towards a rising sun on the offshore breeze.
It wasn’t all violence and decay.
In Queensland, two previously warring locals, Kirra and Snapper respectively, met on the yellow sands of Coolongatta and kissed, passionately, endlessly, oozing salt and sweat and wax.
A West Australian surfer married his jetski.
Also: A crazed surf journalist announced that in the South Pacific entire weather systems were disassembling. Waves had stopped breaking, and dead fish were floating to the surface
The entire Indian Ocean had dried up, too, he said. And the tides had stopped turning.
All of it was a lie.
More signs of the creeping madness.
Nobody could place the cause of it. Of the destruction of people. Of symbols.
The crazed reporter said he was exercising his individual agency in the face of global upheaval. A solipsistic response to prove that he really did exist.
Others called it the democratisation of surfing, and doubled down on their efforts.
But nobody was listening. Nobody cared. And the desecration continues.
When oh when will the tour be back?