VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - While most sporting events have been postponed or canceled since March because of COVID-19, one sport that's been able to carry on is surfing.
Beaches have been closed, but fishing and exercise is still allowed, so surfers haven't had to put their sport on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. Although, professional surfers are facing a lot of uncertainty while World Surf League (WSL) events are on hold.
In March, Virginia Beach native and professional surfer Michael Dunphy finished third in the Sydney Surf Pro and was looking forward to building off that success.
“I was feeling like I was on an upward trajectory to do well this year," said Dunphy, who surfs for Quicksilver.
Then, the WSL swiftly postponed all events through June as sports leagues across the world started to shut down to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“We were supposed to be in New Zealand and Africa, but everything just got put to a halt," Dunphy said. "Basically moved straight home from there and haven’t moved since.”
For Dunphy, home has been Florida for the past few months and while he is still able to participate in the sport he loves, the gypsy lifestyle that pro surfers are accustomed to is something he's more than ready to return to.
“I'm going a little stir crazy, ready to hit the road," Dunphy said. "I was actually thinking the other day that this is the longest I've been in one place in like 12 years.”
He's getting antsy, but still keeps great perspective, especially after his sport was taken away from him for a few days.
"They tried to ban it [in Florida] in general, like you couldn't go surfing," Dunphy said. "When we came back and surfed for the first day, you could notice how much more grateful we were and just how good it is to be in the water.
"Once it gets taken away from you, you really realize how much you love it. We've been really fortunate.”
As for local surf fans looking for their own silver lining, Virginia Beach's East Coast Surfing Championships are still scheduled to take place in August and Dunphy certainly plans on competing in front of his hometown.