Surfers ride empty perfect waves as COVID ravages Indonesia; 21,000 cases per day, 58,000 dead; country “on edge of catastrophe!”

The season of darkness and light.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. Yeah, Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

It could easily describe Indonesia in the COVID era. The country worst hit by the virus in south-east Asia, twenty-one thousand cases a day, fifty-eight thousand dead. A nation “on the edge of catastrophe.” Scientists say the number of daily cases is, likely, ten times higher but who can afford a test? 

But one man’s death sentence (an Australian environmental scientist describes people “hacking up black stuff” on the streets and ex-pats paying twenty gees to recuperate at international hospitals while locals die in the back rooms of their family’s hovel), is a surfing bacchanal for others like Mason Ho and his pal Sheldon Paishon, and which we can examine in this wonderful short film by Rory Pringle.

See: big-wave surfer Russell Bierke’s tiny antlers sucked dry in, “Seething electric ecstasy, spasms of delirium, frictional satisfaction!”

Russell is twenty-four years old, diminutive and old world, with a tight mouth and very plain-face that have the ferocity of an angry cuckold, a cranky Italian denied his lunchtime siesta.

The deceptively fragile looking Australian big-wave surfer Russell Bierke commands such a reputation he needs very little introduction, although a little background never hurts, does it? 

Russell is twenty-four years old, diminutive and old world, with a tight mouth and very plain-face that have the ferocity of an angry cuckold, a cranky Italian denied his lunchtime siesta.

He is the son of the noted Californian-born shaper Kirk Bierke whose boards are sold under the label KB Surf and made in Ulladulla, three hours south of Sydney. 

Russell’s earliest memories are of watching his dad run out the door whenever the surf was big, going to the beach and seeing him ride these big, blue-water reef waves, and wanting to be part of the game.

In January this year, as much of Australia’s east coast was raked by a powerful south swell, Russ was dragged along the bottom of a fav reef and a hole was cut near his arm’s brachial artery, the limb’s flexor muscle exposed. 

In 2017, he was blue as a Smurf” and “on all fours spewing” after a wipeout in fifteen waves in Victoria, an injury that put him in intensive care.

The last six months have been relatively blood free.

This video, which premiered yesterday, will be of interest to any jury looking for evidence of who might be Australia’s best big-wave surfer. 

Watch: Australian filmmaker smashes surfing’s crushing insularity with all-girl full-length film, “Rowdy, Brash, Smart-Mouthed!”

A propulsive and vivid paean to the surfing of Stephanie Gilmore, Nikki Van Dijk, Tyler Wright, Macy Callaghan and Dimity Stoyle.

The Gold Coast filmmaker Dan Scott, noted for his slow-motion cuts on Instagram, has released, after much ado, his paean to the surfing of Stephanie Gilmore, Nikki Van Dijk, Tyler Wright, Macy Callaghan and Dimity Stoyle.

Over the course of twenty-seven minutes, “Surfing” centres on the extreme athletic action of the aforementioned surfers, with particuliar attention paid to the seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, whose cool reserve masks a ferociously competitive will.

Propulsive and vivid.

Watch here. (Or click the play button above.)

World champion surfer Kelly Slater reveals life inside the world’s most exclusive trailer park!

Slater recreates Malibu's famous Paradise Cove 40 miles south of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley.

For two weeks each year, the eleven-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater lives in a second-hand Airstream caravan, those vehicles recognisable by their distinctive rounded and polished aluminium body, at the wavepool he built in Lemoore, California.

This five-minute short finds Slater, an old man, now, although nothing would indicate his advancing years, with that famously fine, clear brown complexion, a splendid chest and big arms. He smiles often as he directs surf fans through his caravan and around the much loved wave pool.

A guitar is picked up and song improvised, Slater’s voice deep and unwavering.

We see Slater’s book shelf which includes a copy of the Bible translated into pidgin Hawaiian (Da Jesus Book), a philosophical treatise on the working man (The Pleasures and Sorrow of Work by Alain de Botton), Norman Mailer’s seminal The Fight, a biography of surfer-turned-UFC fighter Richie Vaculik (Bra Boy) and a picture book of crop circles.

“It’s just a picture book, it’s the easiest one to read,” says Slater.

We wander around the pool, an air rifle is used to pierce a bottle, Slater explains how to pour almond milk, the cameraman is warned never to use the van’s toilet for anything other than splashing water on face, there’s a little history of the pool and Slater reveals his favourite music comes from his new friend Anderson Paak, although the cover of Paak’s album is blurred for reasons unknown.

Essential viewing.

Internet explodes over Australian surfers’ road trip through Ireland and Morocco: “This is exactly what surfing is missing right now!”

Briny and foul with sexiness!

Yeah, explodes is an overreach, gotta bait that hook, but the simple tale of two Australians fitting out a camper van and chasing winter swells through Scotland, Ireland and into West Africa has become a surprise hit.

In stark contrast to the WSL’s production line of “very nice, very pretty and a obedient as a tame animal” films, a long-cut of surfer Torren Martyn and his auteur pal Ishka Folkwell documenting their three months chasing Atlantic swells has a legitimacy that resonates with audiences.

Here’s what people are saying.

“This is exactly what surfing is missing right now. What an awesome adventure that gives you the feeling of being there. Thanks for bringing back beautiful memories of Scotland and Ireland for me!” says Canadian pro Peter Devries.


“You guys have once again captured the magic of surf + travel beautifully. Soo well done, thankyou for showing us your adventure.”

“This was exactly what I needed in these dark times. One year without surf, nagging injuries, heavy & dark thoughts, Covid etc and now my froth came back in an instant together with some tears and smiles throughout these 40 minutes of pure joy. Thank you legends! Much love from Sweden.”

No seventies pussy hair or shaved babylike snatches, but briny and foul with sexiness nevertheless.