Coronavirus Vs Surfers: "Even a Zombie Apocalypse Wouldn’t Stop Surfers Travelling For Waves"

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 25d ago

Well, coronavirus is probably the latest thing you already know everything about. And we're not here to downplay its severity, or complexity, but we wanted to see if it has had an impact on the movements of your favourite ocean-going protagonists from stepping foot abroad, or chasing swells, or if they're even bothered about it?

The consensus around our humble globe-trotting community is; be cautious, but don't let it stop you chasing waves. Evidence? Well, we asked a diverse cross-section of surfers like Mick Fanning, Sally Fitz and Dane G, travellers like Joaquin and Juliana Azulay and nomads like Kepa Acero to get their spin on the situation. And as Alex Smith, bro of Koa, relays to MSW: “Even a zombie apocalypse wouldn’t stop surfers from travelling for waves.”

Fair point? Let's see what everyone else thinks.

Latest forecast? Keep an eye on your local charts HERE

Mick Fanning - The Cautious Optimist
“I think you've got to be cautious but you're never going to stop surfers trying to get waves. I actually just travelled home from Europe through Singapore the other day and the airports are all onto it. Felt pretty safe.”

Kepa Acero - The Skeptic

Just do what you really love.

"I just came back from Africa and I found all this crazy media talking about this, all day.

“I am of course keeping an eye on how it is developing in the world, but, to be honest, I am pretty skeptical to what I hear in the commercial media.

“It's not new to me, that they spend the day frightening us with everything, getting scared. Remember the bird flu? And how many died from that? They are  frightening us with things that in the end do not exist, or if it exists, barely kill.

“I am not saying that this Coronavirus is not happening, I am just saying that the big press are capable of easily generating and spreading fear.

“My side, I am gonna keep an eye on how it is going, but for now, I am going to Africa in April, keeping the serenity.”

Watch Live: Mundaka cam, HERE

Sally Fitzgibbons - The Focussed
“Yes Coronavirus is the first serious virus since the Rio Olympics, I think, and of concern to all frequent travellers around the world.

“At this stage with the tour being in Australia where there has been minimal cases, we will be able to monitor the first few months and get a better idea of how it is going to impact the rest of the year.

“WSL have already cancelled a few events so it is a possibility that there could be an impact on the tour and Olympics. All I can do is keep training and concentrate  on my job at hand and if travelling observe some basic safety measures. Safe travels.”

Keahi de Aboitiz - The Lack of Decent Internet

Keahi's no stranger to chasing swells. Such as here, towing Bromdog into a Skele Bay bomb.

“Honestly I don’t know what to think about it. I’m in the Marshall Islands and haven’t really been able to do much research with the internet here. It might stop me from going to some places, but I think I’ll still be travelling. I’m a little concerned about travel getting shut down and getting stuck somewhere.”

Alex Smith - The Zombie
“Even a zombie apocalypse wouldn’t stop surfers from travelling for waves.”

Cliff Kapono - The Strategist
"Disease and illness is always a concern for me when I travel. I try my best to take the necessary precautions like getting enough rest, increased hygiene and thoughtful eating habits. At the moment, the coronavirus isn’t preventing me from travelling, but to be fair, I’m not going anywhere where there have been high reports of the virus just yet.

Related content: Cliff's important travel message, HERE

Michael Dunphy - The Don't Bother Paying for Upgrades
“Haven’t been too concerned with the virus. I know it's bad in certain places, but if I know the waves are going to pump somewhere, I'm jumping on the first flight to get there and not having second thoughts about contracting the virus. Whether that’s a too relaxed way too look at it, we shall see.

“WSL just sent us an email this morning about how they have postponed an event in Indo and Japan that was supposed to happen the next few months. Crazy to think they had an event in China right before this all broke out.

“My only precautions so far have been to not pay for the upgrade into first class because it's most likely to have an empty row in the back with all the less people travelling.”

Dane Gudauskas - The Slightly Concerned

In some way, ain't Dane G everyone's spirit animal?

“I would say I am fairly concerned about the coronavirus regarding travelling. There just seems to be so many unknowns at this point with new locations popping up seemingly every day.  Even your hometown could become affected potentially, so the thought of staying home vs travelling to go surf gives me mixed emotions at this point.  

“I haven't had any trips impacted yet, although I have some plans  of being in Indonesia at the end of the month that I am keeping an eye on just to see how this virus is moving and continuing to take form...  Im hopeful that in a few weeks more info will continue to come to light in order to make the best decision I can.

“Even if that trip were to come together and move forward I think its just about being as informed and aware as possible of what is going on, and obviously being responsible for my movements and actions afterward if I was feeling sick at all.  

“I have just been trying to wash my hands a lot more and be just a bit more cautious putting my hands all over everything at the airports.

“At this point, I really don't know the solution or have any advice. I'd say I'm right there with everyone else in terms of trying to find the balance that makes sense to navigate this virus and continue living life.”

Noa Mizuno – The Just Hope for The Best

© 2020 - Marco

“I’m not too worried about it. I just wear a mask and hope for the best. It’s spreading so quickly that it’s only a matter of time before the majority of the population has had it.”

Related content: Meet Noa Mizuno HERE

Mikala Jones - The Converting to Indoor Surfing
“I’m just gonna surf wave pools from now on.”

Related content: A quest for barrels at the end of the world with Mikala, HERE

Emi Erickson - The Drop Everything and Go
“Sure, coronavirus is freaky—but so are a lot of things. Travel is the best thing ever, so I wouldn’t hesitate.”

Joaquin and Julian Azulay - The We're Going No Matter What And You Should Too
“We will definitely be doing what we can to minimises our risk, but if we see a swell in a zone that we want to chase and it does not have an extreme outbreak of the virus, then we will definitely be going. We saw the same sort of hype during the avian flu and other outbreaks where people refused to leave their countries.

"Although this seems a little more widespread, it appears to be pretty similar, So we will not let it affect us too much.”

Rafael Tapia - The Wine Not

Rafael's a regular down at ol' Nazare.

Rafael's a regular down at ol' Nazare.

© 2020 - Helio Antonio

“As travelling surfers we have to support ourselves in different ways, and in my case that involves a wine business. Surf-wise, I’m not too concerned, although it is becoming a little more difficult with flights being re-routed and cancelled in Asia.

"But in terms of my wine business—which supports my surfing—the biggest wine fair in Germany is in a couple of weeks, and all of my Asian clients are cancelling, so that is probably going to result in me not going to a really important event. In the long run, the virus outbreak might limit my travel somewhat if I am not able to support that travel through my business, but as of now things are fine.

“Another thing I have noticed is that lot of gear that I source from China has been delayed and is difficult to get. A lot of new technology in foil and wind surfing, and other things that are produced in China, are difficult to get at the moment. So hopefully for all the workers in China and the economies around the world, this situation will be resolved soon.”

Rafael knows how to wrangle Nazare. Catch those hellmen and hellwomen on our live cam, HERE

Manny Resano - The Family Man
“I am currently driving through Morocco with my family, and we have been thinking about the virus and how sad it would be to have to change our travelling and surfing lifestyle. I also feel bad for the people who are affected by the disease.

"Before there was a lot of information, I was pretty worried for my family’s health. But then I heard that the virus doesn’t necessarily kill you or even really affect you if your natural defenses are strong. This made me feel a bit better, and motivated me to focus on being mentally strong. But again, I don’t have much information and definitely wouldn’t give advise to anyone else. That is just how I feel at the present moment.”

Sarah Lee - The It's Probably Worth It

Sarah Lee has spent a hell of a lot of time capturing the art of grace in surfing.

Sarah Lee has spent a hell of a lot of time capturing the art of grace in surfing.

“Every place comes with a certain degree of risk, whether it’s this new virus outbreak or something else. I’ll definitely be taking basic health precautions and researching my flight paths so I don’t have a layover in a country that’s a hotspot where I may be denied entry to my final destination or return home. I’m really excited to photograph the surf trips I have lined up over the next few months, and despite all that’s going on, I still think they are worth doing.”

Related content: How to shoot with style featuring Sarah, HERE

Keith Malloy – The Just Get On With It
"At this point corona virus isn't going to stop me from travelling. Looking forward to staying on the road in 2020."

Cover shot by of Indo, who has just gotten their first taste of the virus. Matteo Bettocch, Kandui by Bastien Bonnarme. Additional reporting by Matt Rode and Dashel Pierson