One Big Lesson The Rest Of Australia Can Learn From Surfers Right Now

Surfers are the ultimate social distancers. Here's how you can apply it to your daily life.

Skeleton Bay. Grajagan. Deadmans. Gnarloo. Criticise them for their hyperbolic naming, but you can’t accuse surfers of crowd-seeking. Yes, there are certain places that look like water parks (Bondi, Manly, Snapper), but in those spots, surfing has sensibly been banned.

Leaving the whole: “you’ve got more chance of getting sick in the supermarket” debate to the side (as Coastalwatch recently pointed out, we’re still waiting on the science to tell us exactly how risky surfing is right now), there’s one big lesson society can learn from surfers in these troubling times.

Social distancing.

Surfers have, according to Stab Mag, been doing this ever since the second guy showed up at Malibu. Here’s how you can make like one (Russell Bierke, shows us how it’s done, in happier times, below).


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Isolation. 📷 @andrewkaineder

A post shared by Russell Bierke (@russellbierke) on

So: social distancing is the one big lesson, but how do you do it like a surfer? We’ve broken it down into four points below.

Check the forecast

Many supermarkets now have schedules. Check them. Also, take note while there: figure out the ebbs and flows. Come back at less busy times. When inside, avoid getting stuck in eddies, go with the flow, think forward, and acknowledge people with a nod of the head, not a bear hug.

Embrace social shaming

In the water, anyone breaking an unwritten rule is shamed, even if the days of physical altercations are mostly over. So: next time someone forgets to social distance, feel free to – politely – (and verbally) pull them up.


The right tools for the right conditions. Bring your own bags to the supermarket. Wear shoes when going for a stroll around the block. Predict when you might be feeling down and stock chocolate and wine accordingly.

Make do

Conditions not perfect? Stuck at home? Adjust your mindset and make the most of it. Read a book. Try this epic self-isolation workout. Go to the cyber pub.

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