The New Normal: Shane Sykes On Surviving In South Africa and Deep-State Conspiracies

by stab April 08, 2020 3 min read

Hunkered down at home in South Africa, Shane Sykes’ party ended before it really began. After taking the last year off from competition to exorcise the agony of defeat, Shane was just starting to get his groove back in 2020 when the coronavirus kicked into overdrive.

“I took a break from comps last year and felt like it was the best decision I’ve made,” said Sykes when we caught up with him. “Before that I had a pretty bad run on the QS and thought it would be a good idea to have the break and come back this year. I started the year with a decent result in Morocco and tried to film some freesurf sessions in between the comp.”

Posted up at home near Ballito for the foreseeable future, here’s what Sykes’ “New Normal” looks like these days:

Screen Shot 2020 04 07 at 3.23.28 PM

Stab: Where will you be riding out the germ apocalypse?
I’m at home at the moment during our lockdown, which is about 30 minutes north of Durban in a town called Salt Rock.

Who are you quarantining with and are you sick of them yet?
I’m with my parents and my brother. It’s really good spending time with them because I’ve been away a bit this year already. But I am starting to get the itch a bit and really want to head for a surf soon. Besides that, we have been having fun together at home.

What’s your average screen time from this week?
Surprisingly, only two and a half hours a day 

When not using a device, what have you been doing to keep your mind occupied?
I’ve been doing a bit of Wim Hoff breathing exercises. Also some normal surf-related training I would be doing as if things were carrying on as usual. And I’m doing some different things around the house I wouldn’t normally have time to do — been doing some woodwork and learning new things from my dad.

And your body?
We have a pretty big hill outside our house, so my brother and I have been doing sprints up the hill and different exercises in between resting. But there’s only so much you can do around the house though.

What are the three most essential apocalypse food requirements?
Bullet Coffee, fruit, spag bol.

And three inedible possessions that you couldn’t quarantine without?
Phone, Hyperice massage gun, and a dartboard. I know, you said no phone, but these are desperate times.

When was the last time you surfed?
I had a sneaky surf on April 2nd, but only caught two waves thinking someone was going to call the cops on me, so technically I haven’t surfed for two weeks. And we have another week and a bit left of lockdown. I’m itching pretty hard to shred soon.

If you could do this whole thing over again, where would you prefer to be quarantined and why?
If I could go back a few weeks and knew things were going to get this fucked up I would have gone to visit my friend in Fiji and stayed there till it all cleared up because he has been sending me clips from there the last few days and Cloudies and every spot around there has been firing with no one out. I don’t think there’s a better place to be in isolation. [Note: Fiji is currently being hit by a major cyclone, which Shane mustn’t have been privvy to at the time of the interview.]

Who is the last person you’d want to be quarantined with?
The last? I’m not too sure. I think everyone would get pretty irritating after a while. Last, hmmm, Rata — I’m not going to explain that one.

Do you know anyone with COVID-19?
Yeah, there was actually a guy I knew on my flight home from Dubai that got tested a week after being home and was positive, which made me pretty nervous. But I never actually made contact with him, I just saw him from a distance, so I kinda felt like I was in the clear.

First place you’re gonna go following the pandemic?
It’s coming into winter here at home and the banks are lining up and the land breezes are starting to puff in the morning, so I think I’m just going to stick around here and try to score waves with friends and ease back into normal life.

Final thoughts on these strange and chaotic times?
This is all one big way for the economy to fall and go back up once they release a vaccine. It’s fucked up how someone actually started this in a lab, but in a way, it was a sign to the world to slow down and appreciate their loved ones and take more caution when it comes to health and hygiene. Everyone needs the watch the video on YouTube called “Deep State Controlling The World,” it’s mind-blowing. 

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