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Surviving the Surf Shutdown

How the Surf World Dealt With
the COVID-19 Quarantine

Surviving the Surf Shutdown

It has been a rough couple of months for the world, with COVID-19 infecting millions and effectively shutting down the economy. And although our troubles might pale in comparison to those who have lost family members and friends to this pandemic, it’s been a pretty rough couple of months for the world’s surfers.

Here in Hawaii, we were allowed to surf through the quarantine, but in most areas of the world, lineups have been empty, due to government bans on surfing. As you can imagine, people have been going a little stir crazy.

Professional surfing took a bit of a hit as well. A lot of major brands had to close doors during the shutdown, and a lot of sponsored athletes saw their contracts get cut in half, if not voided altogether. Meanwhile, the WSL canceled the first three world tour events of the year, and all of the QS, longboard, and junior events in April and May. Whether the competitive year is able to start in June or ends of being canceled completely still remains to be seen.

But it wasn’t all bad in the surf world. The WSL started a number of #challenges, such as the #homebreakchallenge that saw people around the world finding creative ways to keep their stoke alive while at home. People have been submitting videos of themselves surfing in hammocks, on Swedish exercise balls, in rope drawn wagons, on skateboards, in tarp barrels, and even in live stop-motion films. The WSL will be awarding a Home Break Challenge Champion, so tune in to #homebreakchallenge and to check it out, or to
submit videos of your own!

A number of musically inclined members of the surf industry also participated in a cover song challenge, singing and playing songs, then challenging their friends to do the same. WSL commentator Joe Turpel, professional surfer Conner Coffin, and even the GOAT, Kelly Slater himself, posted videos of themselves shredding on guitars and ukuleles. As it turns out, there are a lot of pro surfers with musical talent. Other noteworthy  Musicians include Steph Gilmore, Tom Curren, Landon MacNamara, and Makua Rothman.

Other popular challenges on Instagram include the hack challenge (where people posted their best clips of turns), the tube challenge (best clips of barrels), a “knifing it” challenge (clips of heaviest drops), and of course a wipeout challenge. A lot of our surfing brothers and sisters might not have been in the water much over the past two months, but they were definitely shredding on social media!

Kepa Acero Surfing

Photo credit to Kepa Acero IG

Europe had some of the strictest lockdowns and bans on surfing, but Spanish favorites like Kepa Acero kept the vibes high, regularly posting from home, keeping people updated, and trying his best to encourage people and raise the stoke and froth level. In a hard time such as this one, it is good to see so
much positivity and camaraderie within our community. We may have been challenged by COVID-19, but we will all make it through this pandemic together.