Ben Howard, frontside B-double. Photo Josh Tabone


“I was actually in America when it all started. I’d never been there and was there to check it out when the whole virus thing flared. I flew into San Francisco and hired a car and drove down to past LA. I’ve got friends down at Newport who I caught up with. I was there three weeks before I came home because it was getting gnarly. I had no idea it was going to be that big. Everyone had started to freak out over there and I should have been freaking but I figured they’d sort it out. I’m thinking, surely the whole world isn’t going to shit over this. About two weeks later it had. I flew home on March 12 I think, just as they were closing the borders. I got really lucky and didn’t have to quarantine. I got home six hours before they made you quarantine so I was pretty lucky.

“I didn’t really have any plans. I came home to Port Macquarie and did some work for Dad, driving trucks for a bit. He’s got a transport business, big trucks. I’ve got a semi-licence. I drive semis – those big trailers not a B-double. That’s what Dad drives. But then things got real quiet and work ran out and I’ve just been surfing since then. When the surf’s been flat I’ve been driving a tractor around my old man’s farm out near Wauchope, slashing grass, but pretty much I’ve surfed all year since then.

“I have been here too much this year just cruising around. I’d been down to Vicco at the start of the year, down in Shyama’s zone. We surfed Luna Park for a couple of days which was pretty wild, and I’ve been down the South Coast a few times, but mainly I’ve just been surfing around home. We had some great waves down near Forster and had this magic day on a little backbeach, a little secret spot. We never usually check it but walked around there and it was pumping with nobody around. Nobody. Just the two of us surfing for hours.”