It’d be easy to panic, wouldn’t it?
Since we entered the new decade we’ve seen great swathes of the world on fire, ravaged by rising floodwaters, and now, we’re teetering on the verge of a global pandemic.
In the last few days there have even been whispers the Tokyo Olympics, including surfing’s glowing debut (to be held in two-foot beach breaks), may even have to be cancelled.
A former Olympic swimming champ and long-serving member of the IOC named Dick Pound suggested in an interview the committee has a 2-3 month window to decide the fate of the games. “Be sure that the IOC is not going to send you into a pandemic situation,” he summarised in a direct address to the competitors.
If Dick reckons travelling might pose too much of a threat to the rippling, peak-shape bodies of the world’s most elite athletes, then what of the rest of us, in all our comparative frailty? Surely, if it’s not safe for them, it’s not safe for us to venture out across the world on our annual (carbon-offset) surf trips either?
Recently, I heard from a mate that a large villa had just become available for a knockdown price at a delightful Indonesian surf resort, after the crew who had it pulled out due to Corona related fears. Elsewhere, the internet is humming with last-minute deals, presumably brought on by similar fears.
Of course, any surf travel that requires transit through China is advised against, but you can still get to Indo via Singapore, Bangkok or even Istanbul; all of which do not currently have travel advisories in place.
Now it might be best to steer clear of Northern Italy, Iran and of course mainland China, but you weren’t really planning a surf trip to any of them anyway. The recent outbreak in Tenerife is a bit of a bummer, as last year we dubbed it the perfect destination for an unpretentious mid-winter surf trip. However, that suggestion was met with many personal accounts of grumpy locals, crowds and skunkings, so perhaps you’re not missing much there either.
Most importantly, there’s the fact that if you’re a healthy adult, the chances of dying from Corona, even if you do contract it, are very low. As global virus outbreaks go, it’s not particularly deadly, with just a 2% mortality rate. And while 2600 people have sadly lost their lives from the virus, the WHO estimates that seasonal flu kills up to 650,000 people annually.
So you could hunker down, call off your global travel plans (and no doubt the planet would thank you), or you could heed the words of those millions of daft posters and just keep calm, carry on and go fuckn shred. The choice is solely yours.