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Opinion: Should we be surfing right now? Are we inadvertently becoming part of the problem?


A few days ago we casually opined that surfing may be one thing we still have to keep us sane during the COVID-19 global health crisis. Obviously that was a few days prior to the serious increases in known cases globally and also before some countries had actually begun closing beaches.

So what about the rest of us that are still free to paddle out?

No, you probably won’t catch this disease, nor spread it, from simply surfing a wave, however, there are a few other ramifications to our favorite little activity that some of us may have overlooked.

This probably isn’t going to go over too well.

First, when anyone appears to not be taking the shelter in place/self-quarantine orders seriouly it has the effect of creating animosity from those who are voluntarily participating. “I’m stuck at home and these jackasses are out surfing.” Reasonable reaction and the lead by example deal is probably something we probably should consider a little more seriously. If we are being honest, it’s simply selfish of anyone – not just surfers – to openly flaunt the commonsense requirements asked of us to stem the spread of this disease. We all need to put our “no one tells me what to do” bullshit aside as it’s not just about who is actually sick and who isn’t in the lineup, parking lot or beach, but more about being a contributor to a community-wide effort to control this beast.

Yes, us continuing to surf is a selfish act on our part.

Here’s why.

Every time we jump in the car, ride a motorcycle, or even just a bike ride down to the local, we are potentially putting ourselves at some risk of an accident. Yes, of course, we face those same risks every day of our lives, but these aren’t normal times. Ya see, even a small accident might require some form of medical treatment. Well, guess what, now you’ve just become a burden on the health care system that can’t afford even one more patient of which isn’t a COVID-19 patient. There simply aren’t enough doctors, nurses, beds and protective gear to handle the increase in patients that are being predicted. You’d probably feel pretty stupid sitting in an emergency room using precious resources to get stitched up just because you fell off your bike on the way to the beach. And as you should.

Maybe even more likely is an actual surfing-related accident. The Superbank – shit, all the points – have been on the cook the last few days and at a size of which surely has created a few injuries. Fin slice, nose poke, collison with another surfer, bounce off the bottom, etc., are all not only very likely but inevitable. Again, you are now officially part of the problem as you stumble into an ER to get stitched up.

Surfing is inherently risky, of which is part of the appeal. Given how many of us there are globally, it’s highly likely there have already been numerous injuries that have required medical attention. Not to mention that ignoring community-wide efforts to stem this thing by continuing with our own selfish behaviors is a really poor look on us as a community. The surfing community. We do hope we are better than that.

The Superbank will fire again, Blacks will have many more afternoon glass-offs and Rocky’s will continue to provide its magic, as will all of our favorite spots. Don’t look at it as something is being taken from you, look at it as you are simply stepping up as a logical, compassionate human who is voluntarily participating in a very serious effort to stem a serious global crisis.

Right now, we need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

See ya in the lineup soon.

What Youth

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