The week that was....was bloody bliksem big. A monster storm rolled through in the latter part of the week bringing with is freezing cold conditions and the mother of all swells. Thursday was almost unrideable, although some brave souls through they could handle the rip. Mostly the rip won.
Take a close look at Robbie's shot of Super's above. Legitimate 3x overhead. Even PE was a solid size, a few double overhead one's rumbling through clubhouse. Millers also had a few at that size, but they were harder to catch than a looter with a big screen TV.
You can check more shots of Millers on Thursday here:
Dave Randle was also out and about with his camera and got some shots of the guys trying to paddle out. Basically you started at Bird Rock, and finally made the back-line somewhere near Millers main peak.
Clubouse was sizey...
Humewood was pick of the bunch on Friday when things calmed down and cleaned up a bit. You can check Stuart Gillmers gallery from Friday here....
Full respect to the man in the hat. No idea how he managed to hang onto it whilst paddling out. Anyone know who it is?
Baked Beans was throwing up a few good one's
The Pier was a bit too wild and wooly, with a hell rip. Coupla guys ended up there by default, after starting with the intention of surfing lower Millers into Hobie Beach - and then just getting sucked across to Pier instead!
Getting in after your surf at the Pier would have been, um, challenging....
....and if the swell's are almost as high as the pier, yip, then it's solid.
The end of the line - Denvills was the last stop to score.
Video from Mervyn Goddard
As I doubt there were too many takers at Fence.
Bell Bouy was doing it's thing.
Then a few minutes later that would bend into the bay and detonate
The northerlies during the week made sure that the wild side lit up - some heaving shacks at Beachview and Maitland with no takers. Other than the dolphins!
Of course Supers was going off it's pip. Just to prove there is gold at the end of the rainbow.
Other than the big swell, there was big rain too. Parts of the beachfront got flooded, with the intersection at Something Good/8th avenue looking like a small dam.
With rain comes rainbows - guessing this one was pointing to a proper peak on the wild side.
Sards also had some new water features.
Even with the waves getting all the attention, there were still the usual lekker sunrises and moonrises.
Hopefully the big swell heralds what we can expect for the rest of the winter. We're owed some solid surf. It was pretty solid too in my other front yard. And certainly a lot warmer!
Some more good swell during the week. Especially if you went west. Heaps of lines bending into the various bays studded along our coastline, take your pick.
At least winter is showing itself the past month or so, with bigger and more consistent swells gracing our shorelines. Water has had it's chilly patches here and there, as has the air temp.
Pipe isn't the best known surf spot in PE for nothing. It doesn;t always deliver on quality but certainly is one of the most consistent spots in the bay. Pretty much always something to make it worth getting wet.
The crew of morning locals are committed to getting out there no matter what. And local photag and surfer Dave Randle is always up with the early birds getting his shots.
The wild woolly weather made for for interesting times for the big ships heading out beyond Cape Recife this week. Amazing they don't shed containers off their decks when it's like that.
Besides Algoa Bay being home to plenty of container ships these days, there was an interesting visitor this week. Big oil rig taking a break en route, waiting for better conditions.
There is a regular swim group that heads out for an early morning dip most mornings, and they often post some cool shots of their dawnie dips. Gotto say you have to be dedicated to head out on a cold winters morning. Must have good wetties!
We often see lekker shots of the Cape Recife lighthouse, but not often a night shot - have to be brave hanging around there in the dark with expensive camera equipment!
Some PE history thanks to Ralph West:
How the Dom Pedro Jetty got its name. Quite a story albeit brief:
The Dom Pedro Jetty, completed in 1902. The name was taken from a ship which lay in Algoa Bay waiting the decision of the Prize Court at Simonstown after she had been caught engaging in the slave trade. The slaves escaped and were presumably drowned. Dom Pedro was then put up for auction, but not a single bid was raised. She was then beached on the rocks near the mouth of the Baaken's River and the wreck was a landmark for many years. On the site of her remains was erected the Dom Pedro Jetty, the name of the ill-fated slave ship on the spot where she met her doom.
Surf Centre Humewood is having a mid winter wetsuit sale. While stocks last!
40% off selected suits.
R1000 off Gul Response 3/2 chest zips.
20% off Hurricane, Roxy and Quiksilver suits.
They are only expecting shipments again in October this year, so plan ahead!
Big Dave's just finished shaping his new "shortboard", so watch out for it bearing down on you at a nearby lineup. Shaped under Dave's original SeaFlight brand from many moons ago.
Sometimes if you too lazy to walk over the road to do a surf check at Millers it's just easier to drive your cabbie there instead. Unknown ou getting front row seats in the comfort of his van.
Of course it would be an epic week of surf. Cos I couldn't surf. Damn Covid. But nonetheless, the waves cooked. Whilst I watched. Nepture has such a sense of humour sometimes.
It built up during the week with some super fun runners in clean and glassy conditions, then a coupla puffs of wind here and there to ruffle things up, and then culminating in some big wind coupled with some big waves on the weekend.
Millers had waves most of the week, as did Pipe & Rincon. Even Avo's had a few takers here and there. Needed quads of steel to deal with the wind chop at times.
Anyone who wanted a bit of wild with their waves could have headed over to the wild side.
Keep going west and it kept getting bigger. JBay was off it's pip.
Here's a few from Pipe, taken by Mr Pipe, Dave Randle.
East Cape line-ups are something special. And during winter, well, they just that much more special!
No doubt after a week full of waves Neptune will punish us with a week of nothingness thereafter, but pretty sure everyone got their wave quota's for a while anyway.
Oh, and in other news - the mullets snuck the bloody fish farm back on the agenda. And whilst everyone was up in a flurry over that - Thyspunt nuclear also came back into the mix. Us here in the East Cape get to pick our environmental poison.
Coupla beautiful mid-winter days this past week. Light north winds saw some options outside of the bay lighting up for those in the know. Also a few slides in the bay as well.
Round the corner was definitely the pick of the bunch for the week. With guys scoring all along wild side during the light norths. Barrels aplenty to be had at some of the spots.
If you had lunch at Barnacles at Seaview you could mind surf the "almost" waves that break out front.
Heading eastwards to PA also threw up some shade time for those who made the drive.
One always wonders about the ou's fishing at Pipe, and if they ever catch anything. Turns out they do. This good pan size one was returned back to the sea. Catch and release for the win.
Not many yachts sailing in the bay these days, but those that do seem to like playing dodge-'em cars. Here's hoping they know their rules of the sea. Works the same way as a traffic circle actually - ou coming from the right (starboard) has right of way. Provided they both sailing.
Gotto say the old school wooden red lifeguard towers were a lot more appealing than the moon capsules we have these days.
A walk along the beach not only fills your soul thanks to the beauty of it all, but you also get a bit of free philosophy thrown in as well.
Durbs had some cooooking waves last week. Jordy was home getting shacked.
Haibo - these mullets are still doing the rounds. Broke into cars at Sards and Bluewater Bay last week. Keep your eyes peeled.
We must have one of the nicest beachfronts in SA. Just in terms of ease of access, pleasant water temps, pretty clean, pretty safe. Even waves sometimes!
For all those peeps that suck at waking up early and mostly miss the sunrise - now's the time to see it - nearing mid-winter so it's rising as late as it's gonna get.
Deon captured some red tide doing it's blue thing at JBay during the week. Eskom loadshedding does have it plus sides!
The week started with a whimper, went to a whoosh and then ended off with a whump. The two week flat spell extended into the start of the week with a few scratchy waves here and there. Mid-week saw the wind-gods decide to test their lungs and over 100km/h wind speeds were recorded at the airport. But at least the pomping wind brought some pomping surf, and the weekend saw some lekker waves smack the coast.
Millers had a few although crowds were thick and many forgetting their manners. Seems to be a problem everywhere these days. Pity, as a few selfish individuals can ruin an otherwise fun sesh. Remember - don't be a doos, be lekker!
Back of Pipe was good, as was Rincon. Out West was pretty solid.
So was the Far East. JBay photag has swopped his usual right point break for another just down the coast. Far less crowds at this one, unless you count the cows.
During the week there were a few surfable days, some better than others.
The mid week winds whipped up the sea into a rather unpleasant state. Saw a lil skiboat get caught out by the "15 knots one minute 45 knots the next" gig, and have to come right off the back-line just to try eke some wind protection for the trip back to the harbour.
Local surfer and entertainer Gino Fabbri has launched his own coffee brand, so pull into the Spar to grab your #localislekker mix.
Rule #1 is don't leave your surfboard in the care of your mates. Merv made the mistake of leaving his board at the surf shop, so Chris decided to put it up for sale for just R500, and included Merv's phone number for good measure. Needless to say some time was spent deflecting the many inquiries!
JBay kneelo and artists Stevo is enjoying G-Land at the moment, having bene there for the past few weeks. Besides getting barreled off his pip in boardies, he is also having to learn to paint lefts instead of rights!
Wild West out there at the moment. Local JBay Photag Phil Craig got mugged on the beach with a bunch of mullets trying to nick his camera equipment. Crazy times.
Winter is well known for it's awesome sunrises and sunsets so here's a selection taken in the bay this week:
Charts look fairly average for the week, but there should be an opportunity to get wet. Get out there and enjoy!
Another really scratchy week as far as surf goes. Fluctuating between dead flat and clean to a bit of size but really messy. For those that have slightly higher standards than "wet and moving" meant it wasn't worth the effort.
Those that do subscribe to the "wet and moving" mantra did manage to get a few humps and bumps. A couple of particularly ambitious sessions went down at Millers when for all intents and purposes you wouldn't really qualify it as a wave and yet the ou's managed to sneak a turn or two in.
PE doesn't mind about the swell size though - it throws out beautiful sunrises no matter what and this week there were some really lekker one's for the early birds.
Did mention it was pretty flat this week, hey? The predicted 18 second swell was more like 18 inches.
Wildside had a few though. Water on the chilly side.
Wildside was wild for other reasons too. Unbeknown to them, a rather sizeable local come swimming nearby the guys out at Padi in Cape Recife at 10ish on Saturday morning. The guys from the Heli school happened to be flying over and got the footage.
So a heads up if a heli starts circling you and dipping low - uuuum, it means you have company nearby!
Wildlife of the far less mundane variety at Pipe during the week with some otters enjoying the lake-like conditions.
Light offshore breezes don't only make the surfers happy, the sailors get to enjoy them too.
Humewood might not have had much in the way of great sessions lately, but the nearby rocks are always good for a few backwash shots.
Another pipe at Pipe? Seems like the new telecoms submarine cable they laying around the southern tip of Africa will make one of it's 3 landfalls in PE. Specifically Pollock beach, coming right through the line-up at Pipe. Not sure if there will be any impact on the surf break, but cable size is apparently pretty small and should be buried a metre under water, then trenched into a ditch along the beach where it will hook into a manhole in the carpark. Public comment on the project has closed, but you can still lob them an email if you have any comments.
You can read all about it here:
Nothing much on the forecasts for this week. Hasn't exactly been a stellar April so far, so hopefully it pulls finger and comes up with something useful soon.
Poor Pipe is always in the wars. First it's the ou's trying to site a fish farm right on top of it, and now we getting a telecoms submarine cable coming up outta the sea right at Pipe. Like literally right at Pipe, through the actual line up!
My initial reaction was nooit, bogger off with your pipe peeps!
But before creating an outcry about it I wanted to know all the facts. First up was reading the Draft Scoping Report to find out more about the whole story. You can check that out yourself here:
https://acerafrica.co.za/current-projects-5-2/ (then click 2AFRICA/GERA (East) Port Elizabeth)
Or click the icon to download:
Here's the "in-a-nutshell" version:
Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been contracted to supply and install the proposed 2AFRICA/GERA (East) Cable System, with one of the three South African landings at the PE, specifically Pollock beach. Right through the middle of the Pipe line-up. Literally.
It is a submarine telecommunication fibre optic cable, that will be a branch off the main line coming around the bottom of Africa, and will come ashore through the beach at Pipe and into a man-hole next to Summerseas. From there it goes to the Telkom Exchange building which is a coupla blocks behind the Summerstand Village shopping centre.
They propose coming ashore just to the north of the Lifesaving Clubhouse as a plan B. Right through the line-up at Clubhouse.
Obviously the planning peeps aren't locals cos what are the chances of Plan A and Plan B being precisely through the middle of 2 of PE's most popular surf spots. Haibo!
Surfing was mentioned precisely once in the 170 page document, lumped together with windsurfing, kayaking and surfskiing as an activity that takes place at Pollock beach and as such will be inconvenienced during the construction phase. No consideration of possible issues caused at a surf spot beyond that.
By this stage I was pretty annoyed and ready to raise the hackles. It didn't sound like installing a cable right through a surf spot was a good idea - especially since the wave at Pipe breaks in direct relation to the shape of the seabed there.
The scoping document wasn't overly comprehensive about what happens as the cable comes ashore and over the beach, and given this was the part that would affect the surf community I reached out to the ou's doing the EIA, Acer Africa, to find out more. Credit to them for a speedy and informative reply to my questions:
Will the cable be buried under the surface as it transits the near shore area and into the beach zone?
Yes – Target burial is generally 2m on the beach and 1.5m out to sea, subject to contract requirement and reasonable endeavours
If the cable will be laying on the surface during any point of its transitions from nearshore to beach, at what point (distance from shore/water depth) will it exit the trench and become surface laid
The cable will be buried across the beach and into the nearshore and will not be surface laid
What diameter is the cable and pipe covering?
Double Armoured cable is 38mm in diameter and the Articulated Pipe which is used to protect the cable in the near shore environment and to promote burial is the standard 55 type which is 165 mm at its widest point
Will any anchoring system be required to secure the cable in the nearshore area where it is surface laid? eg if it has to pass over reef
If burial is not achievable then there are options to stabilise the cable. These include the use of stainless steel clamps which are anchored to exposed rock and the cable attached to it
If the cable is to be trenched through any areas of the nearshore area and to the beach, what is the magnitude of the excavation required? width of cable trench dug? Concern being cable pathway passes directly through the surf break, and disturbance of the bottom topography will alter the characteristics of the wave shape given it is a beach break and relies on a specific formation of sandbank to create the wave shape.
The trenching is minimal and there will be no significant changes to the seabed topography or beach profile. In the nearshore environment the cable is buried using water or air jets and no excavations will take place under water. On the beach the cable trench is approximately 1-1.5 m wide
How is the cable trenched in the nearshore area? what device does the trenching, how is it done? Of particular interest would be how it is done from shore line to approx. 150m out to sea.
Depending upon the chosen methodology based on site specific information, this may be using a self-propelled jetting sledge, diver hand jetting or air lifting.
What is the anticipated time frame of laying the nearshore cable, for how long will access to the surf spot be restricted?
One day for the actual cable landing, and a further 1-2 days for the burial; out to 150 metres, as stated above. NB: The weather and sea state conditions required for these operations are such that they are outside good surfing conditions.
So looking at the above, according to the project consultants, there won't be any detrimental affect to the surf spot or the beach, and beach use will just be restricted during the cable laying process, a few days.
The cable itself doesn't sound particularly big (max 20cm diameter), but still not sure what influence on sand migration and sandbank formation it would have if it lay on the surface in areas where burial wasn't possible?
I totally appreciate the need for an upgrade in our fibre infrastructure, but I'm still not sure why the cable has to come ashore precisely through the middle of PE's most popular surf spot. I do get that there are not "meant" to be an detrimental affects to the sandbed or surf, but not everything always goes as planned.
In addition to the issues around the effect on the surf spots, there are of course other concerns around subsea cables. Dredging up the seabed being one of them. I would assume the cable trajectory would be laid such as to avoid reef areas?
Also wondered about whether the cable itself would result in any acoustic, electromagnetic or electric current that would disturb sea life, but the scope report says none of these occur.
Personally think that the consultants should investigate a Plan C which would look having the cable make landfall other than right through the middle of our surf spots. Maybe further south - towards Black Bottoms. Or bring it through the middle of Chomp and Bird Rock to the North. Neither area would have influence a surf spot.
If you'd like to comment or oppose the proposed siting of the cable, or the project in general, just email ACER a line here:
You can just email them with your concerns/suggestions, and also ask to be registered as an Interested & Affected Party (I&AP), so you will be kept up to date on development. Just give em your name and contact details.
Make snappy though - as period for public comments closes on 20 April 2021.
Yeeuw, we finally got some waves last week. A short-lived swell, but definitely enough to get everyone wet and happy after a 3 weeks surf drought.
Dave Randle grabbed some shots of the action at Pipe, so you can check them out here:
Pipe sucked in most of the swell, but there were fun slides to be had at Millers. Big Eddie even hooked a wave right from outside Millers all the way through to the beach at Hobie. The guys got smashed a bit at Fence, with wild peaks slamming heavily into the sand and making it hard work to reach the backline without a nice rinse and spin cycle for your troubles.
The rest of the week was pretty much same old, same old. Small and onshore with the usual dedicated bunch of ou's out at Pipe for the dawnie. Guess that's the secret to surviving as a PE surfer - set your standards lank low and you'll be happy for anything that the ocean spews up. Probably an admirable attitude to have.
Wildlife is notoriously difficult to photograph. Most of us have tried to catch a whale leaping up or track some dolphins surfing a wave, and by the time you have your camera all ready to go the afore-mentioned critters have buggered off not to be seen again. JBay's Deon Lategan puts the hours in though, and snagged this lekker one of the Supers locals doing a family wave.
No surf means that surfers actually got to get some work in instead of bunking to get a few waves. JBay kneel Stevo has been getting some great art out during this lull period. If you have a empty wall in your house give Stevo a shout and he'll get you something lekker to colour it up. Better yet - give him your brand new stick to colour up, he does awesome board sprays too.
The flat spell has made the swimming crowd happy - the oceans been like a giant pool for a while. Kiff shot of them short-cutting through the 6 pack.
Summer days mean boardshorts and zinc. Always cool if you match your zinc to your board colour. Fonzi keeping it real. When asked if his micro-grom was a goofy like dad or a regular footer, pop says at this stage he is still hanging on his back like a lil limpet so no news on what stance he is gonna be as yet.
On the subject of groms - great to see plenty of second generation lighties splashing about. But dad's, please remember to educate your kids in the important art of line-up etiquette, and how to wait and take their turn and not just paddle straight back to the outside expecting the next wave to be theirs.
If they have the usual zero-patience-and-more-energy-than-a-6-pack-of-Red-Bull attitude then shuttle them off to a quiet peak away from the main surf zone where they can catch any and every wave they want without irking the other ou's in the line-up.
You know those Youtube video's of ou's when they see massive spiders and jump sky high - this shot of Frans has me wondering if he saw something like that to get him going with that foot-in-the-air-I'm-outta-here action? Probably one of the few uses for a SUP Paddle - great to moer a crawly flat!
On the topic of big boards - anyone looking for a decent condition longboard - not always easy to find but Chris Taljaard has one up for grabs if you looking. Tune him at the surf shop.
Most of the last few weeks have looked like this. Perfect if you a 6 inch mini-me-grom, but otherwise you outta luck.
The grom games took on a different approach this year due to covid, and were held on a regional basis. PE hosted the NMB surfriders and Buffalo City Surfriders, with NMB taking the wind. Well done lighties.
The Boardtalk hosted a Art of Surf event which was well attended. Some of the best photags from the Bay and JBay had their work on display. A number of these awesome prints are up for auction, to raise funds for charity as well as the Faulkner family (who lost their son, a well known and well-liked EP surfer, in a shooting tragedy).
Check the video out below to see which prints are available and make your big. They are large A2 size, so will go great on your wall.
Normally the Easter period gets it's fair share of good swell, we got one short taste of it last week but hopefully some more early season swells start rolling in soon.
Bit of a mixed bag week, some waves, some flat spells, some wind. Least the water is still staying fairly warm. Just need a new swell to roll in.
Early mornings seem to be yielding the best chance of a slide. Pipe has been sucking in most of the swell, but Fence has also had it's days.
Ou's and their kites been capitalising in between the calm periods.
Lekker to see the yachts cruising about the bay. JBay local Trevor Hansen has just left Cape Town on their yacht to sail over to the Caribbean. Surfboards and fishing rods in tow, so expect to see some shots of unknown waves and huge fish when they finally make landfall again.
The wildside is still the place to go hunting when the surf's too small in the bay.
And even if you don't score any waves you can hang around and score some great sunsets!
The bay hasn't been too shabby either when it comes to the sun doing it's thing - sunrises at Pipe always manage to look pretty, even if the surf's chunky.
Speaking of chunky. That's Avo's new name. Chunks. The Spot Renaming comp was won by James Ruthven-Smith's who named it that cos you either lose chunks outta your feet from climbing out over the rocks, or chunks outta your board it after washes up on the rocks after blowing a take off.
Seeing as James has just had to relocate to the wave paradise of Muizenburg, he is gifting his prize to his mate Andre Clarke, who also had a pretty good entry of "Musselcrackers", so named cos if you fail to time your exit well before the ledge right at the bottom section - you may just have the delightful task of picking mussels out your crack. So Andre scores a R100 voucher from Surf Centre Humewood and beer from Richmond Hill Brewing Co. Thanks to Dave Lippie for judging.
New comp out tomorrow- watch the Facebook page for details.
The Boardroom will be presenting a cool event on Sat 27 March - The Art of Surf. Pull in and check some amazing surf imagery from the bay and surrounds, taken by some of the top local photags. There will be live music from DJ Munro, and there'll be some fires on the go, so just bring and braai. Alcohol will be available for purchase. Everyone welcome, so pull in for a jol.
Port Alfred scored some fun surf this past week.
A firey start to the day, but not so much a fiery start to the week. Bogger all on the charts again, so it will be a scratchy one for those wanting to get wet.
Bit of an arb week as far as surf went, Thursday threw out some fun one's, but besides that there wasn't much to get frothed on.
There was however rare photographic evidence of CarPark John going for a wave. Ballie is getting his stoke back and is starting to spend less time in the car park and more time on his board.
The morning crew always seem to find something surfable, to make their early get-up worth their while. Early birds get the worms and all that.
Most of the week it was just blerrie flat though, like this.....
The next Surf Spot Renaming comp was for Humewood, and happy to announce it's now known as Gdbsaxprietha, or something like that! Kent Catterall's entry was chosen as the winner by Dennis Ellis, cos he felt it was a good reflection of the unpronouncable name given to PE recently.
James Ruthven-Smith got an honourable mention with his name of "Gogos" - Xhosa for "grandmothers". Cos James reckons even if the weather is miserable, there will be one around to tune you that you shouldn't be surfing there. And if you squint really hard with salt crusted eyes the old pillars could look like grannies
Pity Humew...I mean Gdbsaxprietha...didn't look like the above this week, but rather like the below.
This week's Rename the Spot comp is Avalanche - so get those entries in via the Facebook page (comp will be posted online on Tuesday) or as a comment down below. Entries close this Thursday midday.
The Wildside always offers an option when it's flat in the bay. And even if you don;t score a surf it's always just worth a visit for a lekka day on the beach.
Plenty of cool shells to collect if you go walking there too.
Dave went dumpster diving and found some beat up old boards which he reckons will keep him out of mischief on the easterly days.
Here's a few more shots from the surf this week...
Even if the surf doesn't deliver, the sunrises do. Pipe at it's prettiest in the morning.
Some wind around for the yachts. Nice to see a few back in the bay for the Wednesday evening sails. Used to be a big thing back in the day, with upwards of 15-20 yachts going for a Wednesday sail. These days there are 2-3 regulars who head out.
Nothing much on the charts for this week again, so the summer flat spell continues unfortunately. Roll on Autumn!