Stab Magazine | Question For Californians: Would You Consider Surfing "Essential"?

Question For Californians: Would You Consider Surfing “Essential”?

Golden Staters are officially on lockdown. Will they continue to surf?

news // Mar 20, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

“The nation’s most-populated state is telling its residents to stay home except for essential travel,” reads an NPR report on the California lockdown, which was put in place by governor Gavin Newsom this evening. 

The idea is that, by limiting the number of people who go out into the public sphere, they can limit the transmission of covid-19. By most accounts from around the world (including China, where after being blamed for the virus’s creation, took the most aggressive prevention measures of any country and are currently on the rebound) this is the only prevention measure that seems to actually deter the spreading of the disease.

For reference, here’s California’s current standing re covid-19:

“There were roughly 1,000 cases of the coronavirus in the state as of Thursday evening. In a letter to the federal government requesting assistance, the state estimated that without mitigation more than 22 million people could be infected over the next eight weeks.”

In other words, great call on the lockout, Governor. 

Gavin Newsom Generic GettyImages 1057813568

Nonetheless, Newsom’s proclamation raises an important question: is surfing “essential”?

Our European correspondent and person who almost definitely surfs more than thou, Brendan Buckley, shared his thoughts on France’s surf ban here. To summarize, surfing is great—the best, even—but being forced to skip it for a few weeks (months?) isn’t the end of the world.

And while that’s clearly the logical answer, I’d argue that most surfers are entirely illogical in our pursuit of ocean-inspired dopamine spikes. How else do you explain the sleepless nights, the torched relationships, the very normal practice of an adult man yelling at another adult man for motioning toward “his” wave?

Surfing is an addiction, and without it, we’ll inevitably get withdrawals. Potentially lethal. Thus, one could make the argument that surfing is essential to our wellbeing.

So, where do you stand? Is surfing vital to your existence? And if yes, would you be willing to defend that point in a court of law, in the case that you decided to surf during the lockout and were promptly arrested?

We’ll be checking Surfline cameras up and down the Golden State tomorrow to see how many people break the emergency law for a few tasty waves. Stay tuned for updates. 


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