Should Slab Surfers Get Hazard Pay? - Stab Mag

Should Slab Surfers Get Hazard Pay?

Nathan Florence pleads his case in Australia.

elsewhere // Apr 29, 2023
Words by August Howell
Reading Time: < 1 minutes

Hazard pay is a blanket term for a bonus check given to employees working in dangerous situations, typically on top of an hourly wage or salary. 

Though there isn’t a formal policy for hazard pay in the private sector, it generally applies to industries like healthcare, construction, mining, flying, and trash collecting. For example, hazmat divers, who swim in muck like sewer systems and nuclear reactors, can get an extra $75 per hour for their messy work. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, hazard pay means employees receive extra coin (usually a flat rate of 10-25% bump) for “performing hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship. Work duty that causes extreme physical discomfort and distress which is not adequately alleviated by protective devices is deemed to impose a physical hardship.”

Based on that definition, I’d say Nathan Florence qualifies for extra cash during his 2023 Australian Slab Tour. The wipeouts on the above left-hander above look like the epitome of “physical hardship,” and there aren’t really any “protective devices” that will save your body from the rock shelf beneath a 12-foot barrel.  

Over the last few weeks, Nathan has zigged and zagged across Australia. First, he found subterranean cylinders in Sydney, then packed some unruly rides at The Box. To complete the trilogy, Nathan teamed up with Kipp Caddy to tackle this behemoth. 

It ain’t easy carrying the big-wave torch these days. If some big-name surfers unionized, perhaps hazard pay could be the next option for How Surfers Get Paid

While I’m not sure how the nuances of hazard pay work in Australia, perhaps Tahiti — Nathan’s next job site and a protectorate of the generally work-force-supportive France — has a surf policy in place. 


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