It’s been a frustrating time to be a surfer for the past three months. When officials across the country began issuing shelter-in-place orders to head off an emerging pandemic, they simultaneously closed many public outdoor spaces to prevent crowding. Some beaches were closed, some were open only for exercise, others had parking restrictions but were otherwise wide open. Depending on where in the country you live, surfing was either outright banned, a major pain in the ass because of parking and access restrictions, or really no different at all.
The idea was simple: keep people from gathering on beaches where they can easily spread the virus. Because police and lifeguards weren’t really prepared to distinguish between surfing and general beach chilling, or just didn’t want to split hairs, at many beaches they just said: “nobody allowed.”