Lucky man (pictured) getting scanned in before being shuttled off to the surf vacation of his dreams!

Australian government offers to evacuate citizens from “Heart of Coronavirus” Wuhan, China and take them on free, forced, 14-day surf trip!

The softer side of fascism!

Oh to be an Australian living in the “Chicago of China,” known to us as Wuhan, were industrialization flows up and down the mighty Yahtzee River and exotic snakes etc. dance in fabulous live animal marketplaces. The sights, sounds, smells and wonders.

As you know, China eleventh largest city is currently in a spot of trouble with an exotic new disease, allegedly born in those live animal marketplaces. There are travel bans throughout the country with Wuhan being completely shut off and many other countries, around the world, are refusing to allow anyone traveling from China in.

But to be an Australian living in that Other Windy City, for that government is offering to take its nationals on a two week surf trip and let’s turn to the BBC for more on this unprecedented act of generosity.

Australia has begun evacuating its citizens trapped by the coronavirus outbreak in China to an immigration detention centre on a remote island.

Evacuees from Wuhan are en route to Australia’s Christmas Island, where they will be quarantined for two weeks.

Canberra said 243 citizens and permanent residents, including 89 children, were on board. A second flight is also scheduled for this week.

Pictures on social media showed queues of families waiting to board on Monday.

“We have prioritised vulnerable and isolated Australians,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters in Canberra.

The nation’s flagship carrier, Qantas, is operating the chartered flight.

All those on board would wear masks and other protective clothing, and interactions between staff and passengers would be minimal, said chief executive Alan Joyce.

Critics had last week questioned the state of medical facilities on the island, and the holding of citizens in an immigration detention centre.

Nations such as the US, France, and Japan have repatriated their citizens to the mainland.

Some Chinese-Australian evacuees feared they were being treated differently to “white Australians”.

However, Canberra strongly rebuffed suggestions of a bias on Monday.

“[The plan] is only founded on medical advice and any suggestion otherwise I absolutely reject,” Ms Payne said.

Evacuees will also no longer have to pay A$1,000 (£500; $670) fee for the evacuation after Canberra reversed an earlier decision.

Fabulous and free. Christmas Island, as you well know, was featured in a Rip Curl Search adventure and let’s watch a video of what the lucky Lucky Country visitors are in for.

My goodness.

According to ChristmasIslandSurf.com:

What surfer hasn’t had that dream. You know the one, about going back 50 years in time and being ‘That Guy’ who first discovered a new surf destination….then surfing endless sunny days on uncrowded waves witnessed only by the dolphins….Well make that “the dolphins and some of your mates” and you’re pretty much in the Christmas Island picture.

Do you think if we fly to Wuhan we can catch one of the Qantas flights out?

Should we try?

Yes?

More as the story develops.


WSL Fantasy Surfer Champ Predicts Winner of Today’s Democratic Primary in Iowa!

And it ain't crazy Uncle Joe.

Two weeks ago, BeachGrit peeled back the curtain on the WSL’s Fantasy Surfer champion Shane Starling, a forty-eight-year-old cycling enthusiast and occasional surfer from Perth, Western Australia, and who now lives in Berlin, Germany.

Shane, you’ll recall, picked ten of the eleven event winners in 2019 using a visualisation technique, and a little astral travelling, that puts him on the podium where he can identify the winner.

It was only the absurdist Freshwater Pro that muddied his water “because the system was so different,” he says.

With the Dems going into primary season to choose their candidate to face-off against the Orange Man, we figured we’d get Shane to pick the winner of each primary.

I wrote to Shane for his take on the opening primary in Iowa.

This is his response.

Feelin’ pretty psyched after visiting the Perth Observatory last night. The starry night was still, warm and some 60 of us were wowed by all those nebulae and globular clusters the volunteer astrophysicists enthused about as we peered through those gigantic seeing machines into the endless crazed folds of space and time.

Orion, the Taranatula, the Red Jewel…my nieces seemed bored…it was hard to fathom…I tried to explain that the telescope was a kind of screen not unlike the other ones they were so very addicted to…they just laughed and ran off…

Anyhoo,

So it’s off in the US innit…eight months of freak politics. The Donald v The Democrats. As an Australian living mostly in Berlin, today’s Iowa Democratic Primary is very close to my heart.

I’m feelin’ the Bern’ here and not just because Bernie and Berlin is only one little letter off a sweet anagram. They love Bernie in “poor but sexy” Berlin as a mayor called the city awhile back.

Mit dem sozialismus sind wir frei!!!

(We are free with socialism!)

Bern’s lookin’ good in Iowa too, way out in front of Liz, Pete, Joe and the other minor Dems at the bookies, a HEAVY FAVOURITE in fact. 

Bernie lost by an imperial bee’s whisker to Mrs Clinton last time out in Iowa and she then went on to get thumped by The Donald in the presidential election (un)real later in the year.

Sad.

So yeah, Bern. This may be one of the easiest Primaries the bunion-faced bodysurfing lover faces all year. Go on Bernie!

Tomorrow, Shane explains how to astral travel and reveals the winner of the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper, three months away.


WARNING! DO NOT PREPARE THIS SHARK WITH A SIDE OF AVOCADO!

Beware: An injury worse than Great White shark bite, worse than even Tiger shark bite, lurks in the shadows waiting to maim unsuspecting surfers!

Out of the water for at least a day. Maybe two.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday, in America. Just another Manic Monday in Australia. And though surfers are not typically football fans the two do share one love. One glorious passion.

Guacamole.

The avocado-based delicacy is one of the most common foods at Super Bowl parties where men grow fat and loud, women grow loud and fat and everyone turns into comedians, riffing on the television commercials that are also supposed to be funny.

Well, as you know, I was on a historically unprecedented ironman streak, having surfed six days in a row. It ended today. With Super Bowl Sunday on the horizon I thought, “I bet Big Bear will be empty….”

Southern California’s local ski area is a complete dump but my daughter is a complete ripper and any chance I can get her on any hill I take.

So there we were driving north as the sun peeked over the horizon, illuminating the inland valleys sad and depressing, daughter playing Roblox on her phone, me listening to NPR when a story regarding “Avocado Hand Injury” came on.

I turned the volume up.

Is it your turn to make the guacamole at the Super Bowl party this year?

If so, be careful. You don’t want to join the thousands of people who’ve ended up in an emergency room for avocado-related injuries.

“These injuries are exceedingly common,” says Dr. Matt Aizpuru of the Mayo Clinic.

Aizpuru is the co-author of a 2019 study published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine that found that as avocado comsumption has gone up in America, so too have avocado-related knife injuries.

He and his colleagues looked at emergency room data and found that between 1998 and 2017 an estimated 50,413 people paid a visit to the emergency room for an avocado-related knife mishap. Aizpuru says that in 1998, there were around 650 such injuries. By 2017, there were nearly 6,000, close to a 10-fold increase.

The most common demographic injured were 23 to 39-year old women, according to the study, and injuries were most common on the left — and likely non-dominant — hands of patients.

“Whew. 23 to 39-year old women…” I thought while turning the volume back down. “…Not us surfers.”

But then my mind flashed to my recently broken ironman streak and I swear over fifty percent of the surfing population these days is 23 – 39-year old women.

Shark attacks may be trending down in the near future, as men vacate the lineup, but will Avocado Hand Injury be trending up?

More as the story develops.


Happy commentators at The Volcom Pipe Pro celebrate Con Coffin's ten-pointer.

Volcom Pipe Pro: Wiggolly Dantas wins world’s second-most prestigious surf contest, “Thank you mother Pipeline!”

Brazilians eat up prizemoney, suck honey bag out of epic Pipe.

After four days of marvellously savage Pipeline, the agile Brazilian Wiggolly Dantas has led a four-man final that included two other Brazilians to win the Volcom Pipe Pro.

Thirty-year-old Wiggolly, a WCT surfer between 2015 and 2018, beat Yago Dora, João Chianca and Hawaiian Seth Moniz and collected five thousand qualifying points, twenty-ish thou’ is what you need to get near the CT, a gladiator helmet and a slice of the hundred k prizemoney.

From the presser:

Dantas’ road to glory began back in 2014 when he earned runner up to 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and became fixated on a win at the world-famous wave. The Brazilian has competed in the event nine times and has been traveling to the North Shore for over twenty years, so it was only a matter of time before his name would emerge.

“I feel amazing, I feel tired at the same time, but I feel amazing,” said Dantas.

The event was noted for the performance of Hawaiian teens Eli Hanneman, Ryder Guest and Brodi Sale and a ten-point ride from celebrated rapscallion Conner Coffin, who won a drink cooler for his effort.

 

Even though it’s a second-tier qualifying event, the Volcom Pipe Pro is the world’s second-most prestigious contest in the world, behind the Pipeline Masters and just ahead of the Tahiti Pro.

In fourth place is the Bells event, noted for its history not its notoriously dyspeptic waves.


Surf journalist Chas Smith (pictured) in warmer water.

Witness: California-based surf journalist currently in the midst of “historically unprecedented” ironman streak!

Move over Cal Ripken.

California-based surf journalist Chas Smith is currently in the midst of a historically unprecedented ironman streak having surfed for six consecutive days. The streak began, without fanfare, on Sunday, January 26th. Though his wife was out of town and he was single-parenting, his daughter’s best friend’s parents texted and offered to host a playdate.

He agreed at once and went for a surf. The next day, with his daughter in school, he surfed again and repeated it all the way until Saturday, February 1st even though his wife is out of town again but the same friend’s parents’ once more agreed to host a playdate.

“I don’t know…” he responded when reached for comment, post-surf “…I guess I’m just really in the zone. The water is a little chillier than I’d like it and one day I looked outside and saw what seemed to be onshore wind but I went out anyway.”

During the streak he has performed a handful of very slow wrapping turns and one little smash off the top that he imagined looked very cool from the beach.

Nobody on the beach told him it looked cool.

Smith has been surfing a 5’10 Album Plasmic twin fin in matte grey and alternating between a 3/2 Billabong customized Furnace Revolution and 4/3 NEED Essentials and one bootie on his front foot because he recently suffered a broken toe.

“That water…” he said “…I wish it was just a little bit warmer.

Will he be able to continue on to day seven?

Stay tuned.