SoCal lunacy: More Encinitas surfers arrested, while Angelenos told to sit out the sun with air-con instead

It's not just Michigan where the bad calls from elected officials are being made.

Over in Southern California, more stupidities from local officials supposedly protecting us from the coronavirus are bringing us some absolutely ridiculous acts.

First, the surfers aren't backing down in Encinitas. The beaches are closed and the locals are still protesting, and now the cops are making arrests. Here was the scene yesterday as reported by local CBS 8:

Get a load of that police activity.

The surf rebellion seems to be a global phenomenon well worth noting because surfers themselves are not usually associated with political activity.

Surfer magazine noted that a turning point seems to have been reached among surfers:

In the past week, it seems that many surfers have turned a corner in their feelings about how we should approach the COVID-19 pandemic. And a lot of that probably has to do with the cumulative effect of a handful of viral videos on social media: police shooting at a surfer in Costa Rica, a lifeguard boat chasing a SUPer around empty Malibu, etc. Some of these scenes look terrifying, others hilarious, all of them would have been impossible to imagine happening before this pandemic. But the most pivotal of these videos was surely the one of a La Jolla grom coming into the beach as a lifeguard boat approaches, then sprinting up to the street where dozens of shoulder-to-shoulder, mask-less spectators cheer. The comment section of the post, by La Jolla surfer Derek Dunfee, went bonkers for obvious reasons—a kid can’t surf alone but a bunch of assholes on land can stand close enough to smell each other?

It's actually an international phenomenon -- the Israeli and New Zealand surfers are rebelling, too.

Ha'aretz headline:

'Ikea Is Packed and Israeli Police Are Concerned About Surfers?'

Headline from 1 News in Auckland:

Police wait on surfer flouting lockdown rules at Tauranga beach, Dunedin surfers also out in water

It's out of control.

The whole beach restriction thing in any case is stupid, given that surfing is a naturally socially distanced activity, and by quite a bit more than six feet, given that nobody can actually surf without it. In surfing, only one person can be riding a wave at a time. Surfers get angry when ignorant people trying to surf fail to observe the long-standing etiquette of not cutting in on one one another's waves and the pecking order of who gets which one. Some surfers actually go far out to sea to get away from the prospect of it. So it's rather striking that the beaches on a hot day are special targets of police enforcement, given that people sitting on the beach itself can socially distance as easily as people in the lines at WalMart, while people in the water are going to have to socially distance or they can't perform their activity at all.

The other thing is, it's pretty healthy to be out in the open spaces and taking in heat, given that the coronavirus tends to flourish in places where it's cold and flu epidemics in general are killed off by warm weather. 

Which brings us to the bad advice up north in Los Angeles. Here's the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, starting with the cop chief:

With potentially record-setting heat on tap for the weekend, local officials have urged residents to avoid flocking to closed beaches and trailheads to take advantage of the taste of summer — which would defy COVID-19 social-distancing mandates.

“It’s getting warmer in Los Angeles — and when it gets warmer in Los Angeles, we are a coastal city, we tend to head to the beach, we tend to head to the trails,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said. “We like to be outdoors. And yet, as we know, in the nonessential activities, we’ve needed to close trailheads. We’ve needed to close the beaches.

Then we get into the truly dumb stuff, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti:

Mayor Eric Garcetti said if temperatures in select areas, most notably the hotter areas of the San Fernando Valley, reach potentially dangerous levels for people without air conditioning, the city may open cooling centers.

“If we do have triggers that go beyond the normal triggers that we have even in the pre-COVID-19 days,” Garcetti said, “we are looking at cooling centers this weekend.”

He noted that extreme heat can become life-threatening to some people, particularly seniors.

If the city does open cooling centers, Garcetti said, “we’ll have to do it, of course, with physical distancing.”

Cooling centers, as in air conditioned places where air circulates around and around, same as it does on airline flights and cruise ships? Sounds like a petri dish for catching coronavirus. Compare and contrast with a decently socially distanced hike on the local trails, or a cool-off in the water. Cooling centers are fine and dandy for those without air conditioners who need to be out of the heat, as in any heat wave, but these days, there's an actual risk from re-circulated air.

Heat itself tends to be the disinfectant, and as one doctor at a Trump briefing noted the other day, and even the human body knows that heat is a virus-killer. Infected people get fevers because their bodies are attempting to kill off viral infections.

Surfers tend to be very dedicated to their sport, which is more than sport to them, it's a way of living, their core pursuit of happiness. It's noted here from this piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

For Randy Strunk, owner of Pacific Beach Surf Shop, “These daily rituals of surfing are so ingrained into body, mind and spirit. The ocean is where we feel connected and find our balance and peace. It’s where we sort things out and find purpose in our life.”

Anecdotally, it seems to be true.

Far from being ne'er do wells, as portrayed in movies, spicolis and surfer dudes, surfers have to be pretty intelligent and talented just to be able to balance upon their boards in rushing water, as well as physically fit enough to take on the forces of the ocean.  My coding teacher at San Diego Continuing Education has the appearance of a stereotypical surfer - extremely pretty, with long flowing blonde hair -- but is an extreme expert on the intricacies of code. My brother in law, who was nobody's idea of dumb, ever, was a featured denizen in Tom Wolfe's 1968 Pumphouse Gang, which delved deep into the independent spirit and dedicated love for the sea of the surfers themselves, even as it had many comic moments. 

It's kind of a breathtaking thing to see surfers as the vanguard for all of our rights in this coronavirus lockdown. Maybe the irrational lockdown activities of the public officials will go down, based on the surfers' willingness to defy stupidity.

Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of public domain sources

If you experience technical problems, please write to