The R-evolve crew took a trip east recently on their annual surf tour to chase waves, experience fresh breaks and feel the stoke. I caught up with R-evolve’s main man, Wayne Barnes, to find out more about their trip.
So where did you guys head and how long was the tour?
We spent 8 days cruising the eastern seaboard of SA. The team was hungry for waves after a dismal winter. So we packed our gear and headed for the wild coast, an area rich in waves and always consistent.
Who was there crew?
Blaine Armstrong, Hudson Cummings, Bradley Dalbock, Andy Jay and I from R-evolve. We had two guests join us, Dean von Schoultz and Dane Cox. Bruce Viaene and Christo Zietsman where on board to shoot and film the tour.
Did you hook good waves en route?
The whole tour was solid, every day we scored. Cruising up we were lucky to score Port Alfred, and it was cooking. Clean and a good 4ft. We arrived in East London and a local sandbar was going off its nut. It was a complete barrel fest. Our timing was perfect; a cyclone swell was in the process of moving down from Durban and literally every spot was on fire for days.
Go down any unmarked dirt roads and find any hidden lil nooks and crannies with some off the map spots along the way?
I am fortunate to know many of the spots, as I was guided by a good mate who was from the area; He would take me to some awesome hidden breaks when I used to do business trips up to the Transkei. Fortunately we also had some extra local knowledge from Bruce. We cruised down a few unknown roads which led to some gnarly ledges and a 5 star point break.
What’s the crowd situation out East? A case of seek and ye shall find waves for just you and your mates?
In East London, crowds are pretty mellow, mostly a solid crew of locals on most of the known spots. As soon as you cruise up the coast into no man’s land it’s great to have 7 guys surfing, because there is no one around so you feel more comfortable surfing the breaks here.
If you are an avid surf traveller and enjoy the stoke of the search and finding waves, you can score. But this area is touch and go; if you don’t have any knowledge of it. There are some seriously sharky spots, some spots are gnarly and ripped with strong currents and certain breaks are fickle, they require natures touch to work. But if you’re adventurous and persevere, you’ll hit paydirt.
Heard you surfed the (in)famous Deadmans. Take us through what the wave is all about and does it deserve its name?
Yes, we were very fortunate to surf there. I have never seen or surfed a break like this before. It definitely deserves its name. We managed to score it clean, and relatively small, about 3ft. At 3ft, it breaks as heavy as and steeper than a 6-8ft day at Supers. The closest I can relate it to is a miniature version of Chopes, and it’s a right.
The wave itself actually draws off a shallow ledge, and it just implodes onto the shelf. You can’t read the wave from behind because it draws off the reef so intensely. Not only is it super heavy and shallow, but the impact of the lip pulls you straight down the drop off if you get nailed. And you just keep going down.
Then there is the take off. The only way in is to backdoor the peak, otherwise you just get tossed. And it isn’t as easy as the pictures all over the Zag etc make it out to look. Within the first hour of our sesh here, we had a big grey suited man cruise between us in the line-up, we all thought it was a dolphin from a pod which had cruised past shortly before. Only to realise after…
You spent a bit of time on the road – whats the trick of having a good road trip – so you aren’t all wanting to klap each other after 8 days together?
A great tip for your roadi: plan the basics of your travel idea, but be flexible. Conditions can change in an instant, so you gotta be quick on your toes and have a backup plan. Secondly have a solid budget to be able to explore and cruise should you need to. Especially in this area, as all the spots require long drives down dirt roads which take time and patience.
We are very fortunate to have a lekka crew of surfers in the team. Each surfer is unique and brings their own sense of humour and class to the team which is great. Making sure you don’t have expectations is a solid start to a tour, after all no-one can control the conditions. Otherwise, make sure you’re close to a pub or something for fun and chill time.
Essentials to take on any surf mission?
First aid is important, especially in an area like the wild coast. Hospitals are far away. Definitely back up equipment, like a secondary board, fins, leashes, grips and wax etc. Most surfers prepare properly, but give thought to the little things to, like spare grub screws and allen keys. Nothing worse than a stripped grub screw and the surf is cooking. Having a repair kit and a coupla plugs handy can also go a long way and save a solid session.
And wrapping it up..?
Overall it was a great tour, out of 8 days we had one down day, which was a reprieve, and we had a much needed rest. We were lucky to have great sponsorships from BOS Ice Tea for our hydration, and Stacey Doman kept us going with her support from her Herbalife range of nutritional products. We stayed in one of the most tropical places, Buccaneers backpackers and it was great to experience the vibe and friendliness of this place. So a big Thank you to them for the great support of our tour.
Check out the video release of our travels coming out shortly to our new Vimeo channel R-evolve Brand. And if you want a seat on our next tour in January 2015, get in contact with us to book your spot.
Facebook page: R-evolve Surf Apparel
Bruce Viaene www.facebook.com/BVPhotoEastLondon
Christo Zietsmann www.facebook.com/Christozietsphotography