What a year to be a human, what a year to be a surfer. For many of us it was an annus horribilis (try saying that after a few tinnies!).
There were times when we couldn’t go surfing, and the times we could every other mother tubber, had the same idea and due to people working remotely could surf when they wanted. God damnit. Lineups got crowded real quick, but whatever you do don’t deny us our saltwater therapy!
Travel was definitely off the cards for many, but this didn’t stop many pro’s feeling they were somehow exempt from the rules case in point, Kanoa Igarashi (HB’s next top model), feeling the wrath of the locals down south in Portugal and in Peniche having his tyres slashed for breaking the lockdown rules.
We got to spend a lot of our waking hours on Zoom and laugh a lot at some of the Zoom fails of people leaving their camera on whilst going about more private daily routines. In between lots of Instagram envy either from photos taken pre-lockdown or in countries that seemed to have competent governments and more of a handle of things, we got to revel in some of the more tone deaf things from celebs, ‘Imagine’ having houses like those Hollywood A listers eh?
Despite the calamity going on in the world, people still managed to complete their surf instructor courses (allbeit remotely), organise virutal surf contests, undergo NGO work, keep surf schools open between lockdowns, fufil customer orders for surfboards, clothing, accessories etc. It’s been amazing that despite all that has gone in this year, people have managed to get out of bed and carry on.
Some solace towards the end of the year with a run of great swells either side of the Atlantic with Nazare showing up several times this Winter already, until it all got called off because of #covidiots. Still, for those risking fines during travel restrictions to be rewarded with pumping waves and empty lineups might have been worth it for some. Unfortunately I’m too chicken shit to take such risks and tried my best to keep infection rates down by doing my little bit. But, I can see reward outweighing risk for some. It’s the paradox of being a surfer I guess, to get the natural high of gliding on water you’re going to have to be a bit of a selfish prick sometimes.
There wasn’t much downtime entertainment to keep us going either, with many of the WSL events being cancelled. Not that I’ve been particularly enthralled with the way the live events are run these days, but to not have jabbering on Joel Trupel or Potz cycle through his limited superlatives has been like watching an episode of Friends with Joey and Chandler missing, you’ll just not gonna enjoy it as much as if the full cast were starring in it.
There was an attempt at a consolation prize in December with the WSL running what has become the world title decider at the Pipe Masters. But, even this they couldn’t get right with the CEO and several staff testing positive for coronavirus - great job at running a COVID secure event guys, let’s hope you can learn some lessons for next year. The shark attack on Maui didn’t help matters for the women either, but surely put forward a strong case for future years and letting the mens’ and womens’ event both run at Pipe.
So here’s to us closing of 2020 and saying a big DUCK YOU to it. Let’s all try to be kinder in 2021 and live life to the fullest.