"Eat my dust family!"

Family man given three-day window to chase swell as birthday gift days before state plunged into COVID lockdown, “Look at this pathetic old guy. Chasing surf in the middle of a pandemic. Idiot. Superspreader!”

"Eat my dust, kids!"

For my thirty-seventh birthday I was afforded a three-day window to chase a short but powerful south swell up the NSW east coast.

As promoted across all major forecasting sites. It was noteworthy only in its abruptness. A teepee rise and fall of the buoys that for most spots peaked under darkness. An isobaric hard on that would disappear before it could do much good.

Fitting present for a now middle-aged man. Tracking the surge was delicate. It was a south-south-west swell. Not the holy eastern-infused angle that flushes our every nook and cranny. Four-to-five metres at its peak. V directional. V Windy. Choosing the wrong spot could mean getting a wind-blown mess, or missing out completely.

At one point early on I sat on the headland at B___ H___,* shrill wind in my side, Rorschach clouds zipping overhead, watching swell lines bend out towards the horizon.

Against my will. The ocean being a cunt, on my birthday.

But there was enough to work with.

It was a well-worn path I was travelling. Plus I had the time. I was able to wait. This was a solo trip. Slicing through a narrow geographical window surrounded by covid lockdowns. Greater Sydney to the south. Queensland border to the north.

I had: Four boards. Bag of warm clothes. Sleeping bag. Esky. Negative covid test in the back pocket, just to be sure.

Family left to fend for themselves at home. Two thirds of the country’s population in lockdown. And me, further abusing my one real vice in a life of already immense privilege. Only in times of crisis can we truly be gluttonous etc.

Maybe I’m the one being the cunt, I thought as the swell marched back out to sea. To my family. To society. A lotta turmoil out there currently. Here I am worrying about waves. Shouldn’t I be doing something more worthwhile?

But I guess that’s what this thing is all about.

The swell would eventually angle back. It always does.

On day one I left before dawn. Almost all of the major towns between home and the Gold Coast have been bypassed by new, flat, featureless highway. Dotted only with roadkill and twin servo/fast food outlets. Replicas of replicas. Boring as shit. But travel time is way down. We live in a world of convenience. I was at my first spot before breakfast.

B____. East facing, but can still handle a southerly wind. Not too far from home. At the southern extremity of my hit list, so early in line to get the swell. Despite the greyish skies the water was an obscene blue. Shimmering.

I was too early. The waves were only a foot, two max. Nobody out. Cold. But this was my time off. Here to fuck, as they say. It still had some shape. I suited up anyway and headed out.

I admit. I’m no Wayne Lynch. I don’t like crowds. but I also don’t wanna surf alone. The water was still unseasonably warm. Activity everywhere. Big, dumb, lumbering humpbacks were blowing their tops out to the horizon, telegraphing their position to prospective diners. More than I’ve ever seen in a season. Drop pins for a feast. There’d even been a proper fatality in recent months a few beaches north. (not to mention that time I almost killed myself surfing solo). I was skittish.

As soon as I paddled out things ramped up. The swell hit. The wind refracted around the headland, more to the south. The tide dropped. The take off spot shifted out another thirty metres.

One other guy paddled out to my right, closer into the protection of the headland. Shadows slid across the surface. Fast moving clouds. Patches of weed. Or could it be…? My feet tucked up further under the board. A few quick lefts into the corner before the swell shut down the channel. Four waves and that was enough. Better than nothing. I left the other guy to it.

I stopped in at the local eatery for coffee and a smoothie. Lots of masks. Stern faces, furrowed brows, motioning to QR codes.

“Did ya bloody sign in?”

Maybe it wasn’t the right time to be on the road.

I was at pains to point out I hadn’t come from shut-down Sydney. I’m no Covid dog. A regional paisan, just like them. My car, sans hubcaps with gaffa-taped window, hopefully added to the vibe. But I could tell from their looks they saw right through me.

“Look at this pathetic old guy. Chasing surf in the middle of a pandemic. Idiot. Superspreader. Cunt.”


I checked in at a few more spots along the way. The swell was either too directional, or just not there yet at all. Bypassed T___ , scene of the recent fatality, altogether.

A quick Facetime into home. The grom’s sick. How long was I gonna be? I can’t answer that, baby. It’s up to the swell.

Next stop. S___ P___. A long, open angled point that could have been more. Cruelled by its own bathymetry. Outer bombies break up the swell and suck out the size. But there’s a lot of headland for it to wrap into. By the time it hits the inner shelf, lines do reappear.

Despite being dead flat only a dozen or so kms south, the swell angle had finally shifted. Windswept runners pushed down the inside section. It was looking like a poor, poor man’s Lennox. 40 to 50m of workable wall on a good one. A lot of down time between. Many wraps, much cut back.

Of most note: one all mighty blow up from a local, directed over my head to a fulla sitting just behind me.


For a second I thought he was talking to me

YEAH, YOU, he continued, looking directly ahead, as I engaged a subtle subsurface eggbeater to steer out of the firing line.


To be fair, old mate in question had been getting a lot of waves.

But the tone, the volume, the exquisite imagery, the overall display. It was a relic from a lost time. Worth the trip alone.

The angry local went in. Old mate held his ground, smiled and paddled back up the inside. The session continued.

I guess being a cunt is a subjective thing.

I surfed until dark.

I got up to A___ first thing next morning. My primary target. Greeted at the iconic look out by blue skies and four to six foot of swell rounding the headland.

The waves were there, yes. Angle not great. It wasn’t incredible. But it’s still a good wave, even when it’s not.

Out there.

Coffee brown water. Turbid. Plus, a smell in the air like fresh-wrapped bait.

Mysterious aquatic disturbances only a few metres out from line up. I’d been buzzed by a white surfing out here solo once before. Always a lot of activity. But on this day there were 20 or so others spread across the bowl. Many of them looked taster than me. I should be ok.

Wave-wise, it wasn’t quite doing it. Sets hitting too wide. Lacking a little oomph.

But, I made the most of it on the bonzer twin. Here to fuck etc. A few diamonds in the runners hugging the rock. The ones that grow and wrap back to you as they round the corner. A good time on the rail. No need for pumps or transitions between turns.

Still, a wave that stacks up even on an average day, for an average surfer.

Among the crowd were a few influencers in the truest sense, picking some good lines.

One swarthy WSL commentator looking fresh on an old single fin. But also a lot more mediocre talent than usual. Granted it was user friendly. But way more crab stances and 7S fishes than you’d expect.

One guy on a Firewire, fit looking, vaguely intermediate, was making the most of the A___ run around and jump off, which can have you back into pole position after every wave. Engaging in some very cunt like behaviour.

But he looked to be having a good time.

At least there’s always S_____

I spent the rest of the day gorging on inside runners. Got my fill. Checked in. The grom still hadn’t improved. It was time to head home.

Another quick couple of surfs followed on the drive back south the next day. The S pulse disappeared. Weak undercurrent E trade all that was left. I still made it home by early afternoon, a few hours before deadline. A swell well and truly milked.

And now, looking back, it was the perfect strike mission.

I’ve since joined the rest of the state in lockdown. Ten-click travel limit. No end in sight. I might be a cunt, but at least I have good timing.

*With respect to Ben Marcus for the idea of poorly hiding information

Surfing's Stepford Wives.
Surfing's Stepford Wives.

ABC Television, WSL, turns to “zombie surf website” to promote Kelly Slater’s The Ultimate Surfer ahead of reality show’s exciting debut!

Noa Deane was right.

Last October, the 60-year-old Surfer magazine was shuttered overnight, entire staff furloughed, by parent company A360Media. Out on ears. Wailing and gnashing of teeth etc. The group, owned by the very famous David Pecker, had purchased the august title in 2019 though ran out of surf steam in under a year.

Maybe not a surprise considering Pecker’s history.

The print edition was immediately killed while the online version was mostly killed, but not all the way, becoming what is commonly referred to as a “zombie website.”

Zombie websites are those titles with cache in the name that get kept alive, after leveraged buy outs, slashes and burns, various and sundry capitalisms because why not? Sucker born every minute. Sucker not aware that Surfer is now a Pecker. Sucker World Surf League knowing non-surfing, non-human, voices can be found to spruik Kelly Slater’s The Ultimate Surfer ahead of exciting debut.

Per the just-dropped Surfer piece:

This article was produced in partnership with ABC. Be sure to check out the premiere of “The Ultimate Surfer” on Monday, Aug. 23, and Tuesday, Aug. 24, 10/9c.

When it comes to televised entertainment, America has two loves: reality and sports. They pull in higher ratings, larger audiences, and more passionate fandoms than we know what to do with.

This summer, surfing will make its reality TV debut on The Ultimate Surfer, which premieres on August 23rd on ABC. The 8-episode show takes place at The Surf Ranch–the world’s best man-made wave–where 14 top talents will battle it out for the prize of $100k and a spot on the 2022 Championship Tour. Even if you don’t normally love watching reality television, believe us, this one is worth a watch.

But exactly what will it take to become The Ultimate Surfer?

While surfers will push their abilities in various “beach challenges”, these challenges only serve as a leg-up for when it really matters, which is during the head-to-head “surf offs” that happen in every episode. Surfers cannot be eliminated for anything except surfing itself, which puts a premium on performance and lends credibility to the format. Which is great. It would be lame to see a surfer kicked off the show because they lost on land, especially with $100k and three wildcards on the Championship Tour on the line.


What is John Severson doing in his grave, currently?

Noa Deane was right.

Fuck the WSL.

P.S. Zeke Lau wins.

Friend shares insight into mind of Santa Barbara “Lovewater” surf school owner accused of killing his children as community rallies around wife: “It became clear to me that he believed some weird stuff.”

"We're all pretty conservative, and this was not just conservative political talk."

The story of Matthew Taylor Coleman, the popular Santa Barbara surf school owner who, last week, drove his two young children to Mexico and murdered them with a speargun, is as tragic as it is incomprehensible and yet the human condition is to strive and create some sort of sense out of the dark pieces. To try and sort warning signs that could lead to pure horror from an otherwise idyllic-presenting life.

His arresting officers revealed, in the hours that followed, that Coleman believed his children possessed “serpent DNA” and that killing them would help save the world.

Now a friend has come forward with more insight, telling People magazine that, while their conversations used to be “normal,” in early 2021 things took a turn. “He’d tell me about stuff he read online. Conspiracies. But he’d present it like, ‘I read something really crazy. Isn’t that ridiculous?’ But then he’d start adding things like, ‘yeah, but when you think about it, it all makes a lot of sense.’ It was like he was starting to believe them. And he spent a lot of time looking at these conspiracies. He devoted a lot of brain power to them. It became clear to me that he believed some weird stuff.”

Still, even with the “weird stuff” there was no telltale sign that things would turn so dark, with the friend adding, “I need to be clear about something. He never said anything that led me to believe that he was a danger to himself or anyone else. We’re all pretty conservative, and this was not just conservative political talk. This was just out there. Stuff that made zero sense to me.”

Conspiracies are nothing new but it certainly does seem that the strains currently spreading are particularly virulent and not just the domain of  “conservatives” even though that may be an easy conclusion to draw. I have two extremely liberal friends who have gone all in on Q-adjacent business. But why? Siloed Facebook groups, fear, misinformation, etc. all seem far too hollow to actually account for a father, heretofore deemed “normal,” spearing his own children in Mexico. Was Coleman profoundly, but secretly, mentally disturbed or did “devoting a lot of brain power” to “weird stuff” flip his switch?

In any case, an account has been set up in support of Coleman’s wife, Abby, with a family friend reaching out to BeachGrit writing, “I was wondering if y’all would consider sharing the gofundme that has been created for her. It was started by another one of her friends and will provide needed financial support for Abby as she is going through this very rough time. I suspect the surf community would be interested in rallying to help her in such a difficult time.”

Give here.

Horror Day in Margaret River as popular local surfer killed at Main Break; another surfer evacuated by helicopter after suspected spinal injury at The Box!

Third death at same spot.

A popular Margaret River surfer in his sixties has died in wildly challenging six-to-eight foot waves at Main Break, his body pulled from the water at around two pm. 

The man, who is yet to be officially named was a noted local surfer whose bona fides were beyond any sorta doubt having surfed in the amateur world titles in South America a few years ago; one of his kids is a noted surf cinematographer employed by the WSL.

A surfer’s surfer.

Main Break was heavy today. 

Strong north-east offshore winds, a west swell and strong current pushing back into the peak.

The surfer was killed when he got caught inside and his legrope got caught on the cheese-grater inside of the notorious Surgeon’s Table. 

Third life claimed at the same spot. 

Visitors to Main Break will have seen the the monument to indigenous shredder Creed Barnes who was eighteen when he was killed in identical circumstances in 1989.

Name familiar? Creed McTaggart was named after Creed Barnes, who would’ve turned fifty this year.

The day began in ominous fashion.

At ten am, a man was flown by chopper to Royal Perth Hospital after suffering a suspected spinal injury at the Box. 

Woke marine scientist decries “frighteningly problematic” racist, classist power dynamics of describing shark finning as “indescribably cruel”!

Friendly reminder that when we describe shark finning as “indescribably cruel” we are also describing people who fin sharks as “indescribably cruel” and this has worrisome racial, class, and power dynamics.

Miami-based marine scientist Catherine Macdonald has slammed the British government for calling shark-finning “indescribably cruel”.

Shark finning involves removing the dorsal fin from sharks before tossing the still living body back into the ocean.

Shark can’t swim, they sink, get eaten or suffocate.

It ain’t pretty, but fishing rarely is, the lil creatures flapping around on deck or killed in nets or hook.

The animals lose the fins to fulfil a robust demand for shark fin soup in China, the delicacy real popular around Chinese New Year. It’s a cultural thing.

Around seventy to a hundred mill sharks are killed each year via finning.


Animal Welfare minister Lord Goldsmith said, “Shark finning is indescribably cruel and causes thousands of shark to die terrible deaths. It is also unforgivably wasteful. The practice is rightly banned in UK waters, but the trade continues, with serious implications for the future of these magnificent creatures. “That is why we are now banning the import both of detached shark fins and shark fin products.

“Our action will not only help boost shark numbers, it will send a clear message that we do not support an industry that is forcing many species to the brink of extinction”.

Pretty standard stuff.

And, you would think, right up the alley of progressives.

Well, it ain’t, not when hurt feelings now occupy the apex of the Woke pyramid.

See, hacking fins off sharks is an Asian thing ergo if you call it “indescribably cruel” it ain’t any less toxic than getting up in yellow face, taped eyelids, conical hat etc.

Responding to Goldsmith’s comments Macdonald writes,

Friendly reminder that when we describe shark finning as “indescribably cruel” we are also describing people who fin sharks as “indescribably cruel” and this has worrisome racial, class, and power dynamics.

The discourse around shark finning is frighteningly problematic. It lacks important specificity (almost always conflating the process of finning and the trade in fins). It actively dehumanizes fishers and consumers.

I care a lot about shark conservation. But it cannot be predicated on the idea that the lives of sharks are more important than the lives of people who depend on fisheries, or on arguments that other cultures bear all responsibility for a complex global conservation problem.

Dunno, what do you think?