SeedleSs, an urban skate brand from Cali, has hit our shores. They first came to my attention when their local rep sent me some shots of their insane LED skateboards - one of those things that you see and immediately want! For no other reason than it just looks flipping cool!
Anyhow, turns out they have some really cool clothing as well - super well-made quality kit that is lekker different too. Always good not to look like the herd. You'll be able to buy online through the local website soon, but just give their rep, Oscar, a yell in the meantime - and he'll sort you out. Prices look pretty fair.
Caught with local shark researcher Matt Dicken at the Beach Forum meeting this week. Nice, we scored an upgrade for this meeting and had it in the conference room at the new Town Lodge hotel over the road from Hummies. Flip, these guys have a rad view. Johnny and I jumped in the glass-fronted lift for a quick sight-seeing trip to the 6th floor. Definitely coming back with my camera next time.
Anyhow, back to the catch up with Matt. As yet they haven't managed to get any tags into some Whites yet - as they just haven't been able to catch any of the critters! Just not much activity around Bird Island this time of year, as all the whites are actually cruising about the inshore area's.
Sure everyone can remember Etienne's aerial shot of a big lurker off the backline north of here from a few weeks back (see below). I put Matt and ET in touch and thanks to ET for taking the time out to go see Matt and give him plenty of feedback on what he's been seeing on his flights. It really gives the researchers a useful piece of their puzzle when anecdotal reports are corroborating what the results of their research are saying - cos both Matt and ET have been spotting the whites in similar area's.
Matt says the National Geographic guys will be in town soon doing another shark program, and will be spending a few days out on the boat - so they're hoping to get some tags in then. Plan is to have all 20 tags that they've had funded into sharks by mid-year - and then the tracking can begin. Our tagged sharks can get picked up by any of the listening stations along the SA coast, just as our listening stations will pick up if a Mossel Bay or CT shark pulls in here for a visit. (Read more about the Algoa Bay White Shark Project here.)
There's been quite a few sightings reported recently in the bay, with some big ou's spotted just off backline from Hummies through to Cobbles. I spotted a big fin about 200m off Hummies about 2 weeks back, which was also seen by fellow surfers out in the water with me. The guys at Fence had 2 interesting days where a big bronzie burst out the water right near them with a skate lunch in his mouth. Ou's bailed the line-up pretty pronto! Also had a surfski came flying through the line-up at Pipe telling the ou's to bail as he'd spotted a lurker out in the backline. When I was shooting the kites at Millers last month a guy came in saying he'd nearly ridden over a big shark at Chomp Rock, and decided to call it a day.
The guys in the reserve have reported seeing plenty of activity that way too, which has everyone a lil edgy and not so comfortable dangling their toes off their boards. A guy I was surfing with at Millers a few weeks back has some angler mates who had a really gnarly encounter near the beacon at Cobbles. They waded out over the flat reef into hip deep water whilst fishing for cob. Hooked a good size one, but as they were bringing it in and had a coupla meters away a shark came and grabbed it off his line. Not content with the cob, it turned it's attention to the two anglers, who then had to use the butts of their rods to fend it off. Shew, guess their heart-rates musta been clocking it after that!
Hopefully within the next coupla months the shark activity will move back offshore again, as they move back toward the Bird Island area for their seal pup buffet. But til then, be sensible, and be alert.
Damn. It's pretty much impossible to settle into some productive work when the day is an absolute pearler. Gave in eventually and grabbed my board for a quick skate down to Pipe. The excuse was that it was exercise. That's almost like saying surfing is exercise. On both points you'd be deluding yourself. Unless of course you're surfing at say 6-8ft Supers, then that definitely counts as a bit of effort on your part.
Took the GoPro with just to take some random shots. Sad to see my neighbours and fellow Millers Locals, the Elliot clan, are finally selling their prime possie. Be sad to see the guys go, as well as the old landmark house, cos no doubt whoever buys it will smash it to the ground and build something big there. Pity.
Stopped and had a chat to the dude that makes the wire thingy's on the boardwalk just behind Millers. Ended up getting him to make me a Millerslocal key ring and a surfboard fridge-magnet - so will head back tomorrow to collect em. At R30 a pop it's worth a chance. Did try and see if he understood what a surfboard looked like, so he said yes "those things that the people use to stand on the water with the 3 spikes underneath!?" Well, there you have it!
The first bench overlooking Millers is dedicated to Nolan McSkimming. For those of you to young to remember Nolan was an ex PE local that had moved over to San Diego. He was in Hawaii on holiday testing his surfing skills on the Rock, when he suffered a heart attack in the water at a spot called Tunnels in Kauai.
Despite signalling to the lifeguards that he was in trouble he'd already lost consciousness by the time they got him to the beach. He didn't make it. He was just 31 years old. So I reckon Nolan was enjoying the view from his bench today. No wind, warm sunshine, sheet glass sparkly sea. RIP.
So the surf's flat. So what. Get your ride on. Grab your board - the 4 wheeled not the 3 finned variety, and haul ass to the Donkin. I'm sure through sheer coincidence the esteemed Madiba Bay Development Agency built an Art Walk - a lekker tarred path snaking down the hill towards the Phoenix Hotel - which also happens to be quite a kick-ass downhill track.
For all your history heathens out there - Sir Rufane Donkin was the dude who arrived in Algoa Bay back in the day (1820) with 4000 of his mates...and called it Port Elizabeth (after his wife - guess who scored major points for that move!) He built the lighthouse on the Donkin so ships could find their way into port.
A coupla years back the MBDA dropped a cool chunk of change (~R20mil) to upgrade the Donkin area, so there's some pretty funky art stuff going on there, as well as the skate track, um, art walk.
The guys from Downhill Eastern Cape, Renier, Greg and Nick took on the challenge on Sunday, giving the photags the opportunity to capture some thrills n spills. You ride this spot, best you be ready to tumble.....unless you got your hairpin turns waxed! I'm glad I left my board at home. Mind you, the top of the run is a nice beginner section, just as you get further down things get a wee bit more technical. Make sure you ride with a helmet, unless you aren't too fussed about leaking brain cells onto the tarmac.
All you ou's with boards out there, the Downhill East Cape guys are keen for you to hook up with them as they aim to grow the sport in the Eastern Cape. So invite them on their Facebook page to keep up with what's going down.
Hopefully they'll get the go-ahead from the MBDA to organise a race down the Art Walk, so anyone interested, including potential sponsors, get in touch with Renier.
Eish, even paradise isn't perfect. Yesterday saw the culmination of mounting pressure on the President of the Maldives amidst increasing violence in the capital, Male. President Nasheed resigned yesterday in a bid to avoid the escalating violence - not wanting the country to erupt into civil war.
Nasheed, a former political prisoner, became the countries first democratically elected leader back in 2008 after 30 years of dictatorship. Everyone had hoped this would herald a new era for the island paradise - and for a brief while it did. Nasheed was best known for his activism around climate change and highlighting the perils faced by his country due to rising sea levels.
However, opposition party hardliners didn't take kindly to his westernised outlook and economic reforms, and have have been attempting to disrupt his government since he took office. Things came to a head a month ago, when the government jailed a judge, who was a member of the opposition party. They alleged that some of his ruling were politically motivated.
After growing civil unrest, and clashed between factions within the defence forces and police, Nasheed decided it was best to step down in order to avoid further violence. The Vice President, Mohammed Hassan was sworn in as the new President.
With elections next year it could be interesting times for the Maldives as the opposition party is now in a much stronger position to contest given the latest drama. This could see a return of the same party that was responsible for the dictatorship rule of the country prior to Nasheed's election. Pretty darn ironic to vote to return to dictatorship!!
But could democracy be an essentially western concept - and if so maybe we shouldn't just assume that all countries will thrive in it. Can't say much of Africa has done a great job of democratic leadership when given the chance! Democratically elected officials have an amazing propensity to evole into dicatotors once in power.....
Anyhow, does that mean you have to cancel your trip to the Maldives? Nup, all good...provided you just don't head into the capital for the next lil while til things calm down.
Going forward though, might be interesting to see how things change in the country if the opposition party does get back into power, as they are Islamic hardliners - and have already tried to shut down the country's resort spa's - claiming they are fronts for prostitution! There is still a ban on alcohol in the islands, although resorts and charter boats get special licenses allowing them to sell it. Which explains why your Amstel rocks you back R80 over there!
Hoping things settled down soon, as Millerslocal is still making plans to try become a Maldives local!