Let's be honest, surfing carries with it some really unique ailments. We get weird sh*t happening to us that certainly doesn't happen to the rest of the population.
Let's start with the obvious. Sinus drain. Yeh, just gotto love that.
What happens when you wipe out is water flushes it's way up your nose and into your sinuses. There's plenty space back there, and cos some of the cavities are below the level of your nose it means once it gets in there, it stays put as long as you're upright. Just waiting til later that day or the next when you bend forward and force that water upward....and out....
Generally happens at exactly the worst moment, like leaning over your colleagues desk or something. Next minute a whole lotta gunk comes pouring out your nose. Lovely, ain't it? Just tell 'em it's seawater not snot...
At least nose drips have humour value. Nothing funny about Surfer's Ear. It's proper name is Exostosis, which is the medical term for an abnormal growth of bone inside the ear canal. It occurs cos of frequent exposure to cold water and/or wind, which causes the bone surrounding the ear canal to thicken and constrict the canal.
No-one really knows why cold temps causes a bony growth to develop, but it's thought to be an evolutionary defense mechanism. Basically, your body reacts to the cold by growing a protective layer of bone around the ear canal to stop cold water/wind from entering it.
The bony growth can trap water, ear wax and other crap within the ear canal, and you end up with repeated ear infections. No fun in that. As it gets worse, it ends up affecting your hearing too. So if you're finding it hard to follow the chatter in the line-up or you're finding water is always getting stuck in your ears, go get em checked.
It mostly affects only one ear. And if you're wondering why that is...it'll generally be the ear that faces into the prevailing wind direction that's offshore at your local break. And hey, PE's not called the windy city for nothing....so we may not have the cold water as a factor, but the wind chill sure is.
The hectic thing about Surfers Ear is the treatment. They drill that bony growth out. Yip, some ou sticks a drill into your ear and goes zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Actually, things have improved a bit these days, and some doc's go in from a cut behind your ear. But either way - you're outta the water for at least 6 weeks.
Best ways to prevent it are to keep those ears happy - so either chuck some earplugs or prestik in there, or wear your hoodie. That's why you'll always see me in my squid lid.... look like a dork, but no-one's gonna have to drill my ears.
Not sure how many people have had this next weird one. But I did ask around a bit in the lineup to make sure it wasn't just me! Turns out not. When the waters really cold, my lil finger goes AWOL after a while. It just sticks out to the side, and no matter how hard I try to bring it back next to my ring finger it ain't interested. Stays stuck out there like a Teaspoon Tips ad. It's the oddest thing to sit there and stare at your hand and just will that pinkie to move back to where it should be, but it won't move.
I can't work out the mechanism behind it, despite dredging up my anatomy memory bank from 20 years ago at varsity. Best guess is it's either a cramp in the abductor digiti minimi, which is the hands most superficial muscle (and the guy responsible for making the lil finger go outwards), or it's some sort of temporary nerve paralysis of branch of the ulna nerve which gets knocked out by the cold and stops working, and in the process stops working the lil muscle whose job it is to keep Mr Pinky in place. Anyone else have a theory on this?
The cold doesn't just make the pinky misbehave. It can turn your hands into useless stumps. Come out of a mid-winter sesh, fumble to get your key, and then try unlock your car door. And hope no-one is watching. Cos you stand there like a muppet trying to rotate your whole upper body just to get the damn key to turn cos your stupid hands refuse to turn it! I'll admit to having to accost random people in the car park at Hummies and asking them to unlock my door for me. They look at you like you're nuts!
The refusal of your hands to operate in a sensible manner might be due to low-grade hypothermia. The body reacts to being a a really cold environment by prioritizing where the blood should go to keep you ticking. This means blood gets redirected to your core whilst your extremities are treated as being expendable in the bigger scheme of things. Getting less blood makes your hands not only cold, but also impairs the ability of the muscles in that area - so goodbye dexterity, hello lobster claws.
Speaking of cold, ice-cream headaches anyone? if you aren't a dedicated hoodie wearer then you've certainly had a few of these every winter. Generally hit you on that 3rd duckdive in a row. Feels like someone has thrown liquid nitrogen over your head and it's about to explode.
Wonder why it's worse when you're paddling back out versus just wiping out? Wind chill! Expose that freshly dunked pip to the icy breeze and boom, brain-busting pain engulfs you.
A quick anatomy lesson - your blood vessels expand and collapse in response to your bodies temperature, and the environmental temperature. Your bod is a happy camper wrapped up in it's layer of neoprene, to the point that you might actually be getting a bit hot in there when you're paddling your gat off to get back out to the line-up. Your pip becomes a way your body can regulate some of that heat, so the blood vessels up there expand to allow you to cool down a bit.
So far so good. Until you duck-dive and stick that pip with it's nicely expanded blood vessels into the vrek-cold water. Funny enough it's still feeling OK. BUT. Then you surface. As your head emerges from the water the wind hits. Welcome to a world of pain.
Your heads gone from trying to help you blow off extra heat to suddenly thinking it's in the Antarctic cos of the wind chill. So now the blood vessels go from being wide open, to trying to shut down shop as quick as they can to prevent heat loss. It's called vasospasm, and it hurts like hell.
Don't like em? No choice but to stick a hoodie on.
Not all weird surf ailments are cold-water related. Sometimes it's long summer sessions that get us too. Summer water temps mean no wetties, which translates into no nice rubber protection between you and your board. For guys who're stacking up multiple daily sessions this could end up giving them what known as surf bumps. Those funny growths on your body that grow to protect some place where a lot of unusual pressure takes place. Mostly on the rib cage, but it can be the knees or feet to for those longboarders into knee-paddling.
They're fibrous half-domed lumps of thickened skin and overgrown connective tissue caused by the friction and pressure of paddling a surfboard. Cos let's face it. Lying on your board isn't as comfy as lying on your couch, and your body thinks so too and reacts accordingly.
Wettie and boardie tans make spotting a surfer dead easy. Either brown from the knee's down. Or nice lil brown ring around the neck and some brown hands stuck on the end of lily-white arms. Funny how most of us are good at putting sun screen on our faces, but the hands & neck are just get left to fry.
And long-session induced neck rashes thanks to your wetsuit neck rubbing it raw leave you looking like someone into S&M. Remember to vaseline that neckline if you don't want to be getting funny looks. Unless you gonna hide it by wearing a poloneck for a coupla days...
So there you have it, some weird stuff surfers get. You can't call yourself a surfer til you've had at least one of these!
Other than one good day last week, it's been a bit it quiet on the wave front, unless you have a nice petrol allowance that let's you go have a squiz around the corner. Long walks nearby got rewarded with long lefts. Long drives got rewarded with some decent size, and a family wave from the locals.
Fence surfers and skaters, watch out for this lil gremlin at Kings Beach. Ran off with one of the kiteboarders bags last week. Getaway vehicle was a BMX. Keep an eye on your kit. Unless you are happy for it to be unofficially adopted.
Back from a stint in the desert, Gavin Rother is only to stoked to have been able to wash all the months of sand out his bones with some kiff Supers pits last week. Watch out for a short clip of his fun sesh coming up soon, which includes a short glimpse of a secret left in JBay...
Coupla vintage shots of Denvils surfaced again last week. This first shot is so old that even La Roche drive isn't there yet. The Hotel pictured is what became the Elizabeth, and is now the GardenCourt. No Big Mac's in those days, that's for sure. And only 1 row of buildings in Humewood! Those lil houses dotted all over Brookes Hill look like they must have had a great view of Denvils & Fence.
Jbay local, Deon Lategan, is back to his early morning beach walks before work so those of us who prefer a bit of a lie-in still get to see how awesome the waves can look at sunrise.
Outlook for the week? Not terribly exciting, but the weekend offers a sniff of a wave.
The start of the week saw some pretty fun swell sneak into the bay. The charts didn't look like much but there were decent lil waves from Millers through to Rincon. Thankfully Thursday dawned flat, so everyone to get back to doing some work.
Bit & pieces of news for the week:
JBay & SF locals Dylan Lightfoot and Faye Zoetmulder are over in Aus at the moment competing in the opening leg of the 2014 WQS campaign which kicked off in Kangaroo land. Faye got knocked out early in her first comp cos the waves were basically non-existent and it was just a lotto as to whoever managed to catch something that resembled a wave would win the heat. Tough to travel halfway round the world and then get skunked by conditions. But Faye's one tough cookie and will no doubt bounce back in the next comp to kick butt.
Another St Francis local, Dale Staples, is also over in Aus competing, but was another victim of the minuscule surf in his first comp. Luckily the 6312 boys know which end of a fishing rod is up, and so if the surfs flat there're lines in the water.
Speaking about comps...good news is that the JBay Open has been upgraded to a 5A PST event for this year. It means the Juniors will get a shot at surfing the event as well. The main event of the Open will run from 16-20 July. Plenty else to do at the WinterFest.
More good news....Dungeons gets included in the Big Wave World Tour for next year. So here's hoping Twig gets to win the inaugural event. It will run in the southern hemi big wave season, some time between April and August.
Mentioned that there was some super fun surf Mon through Wednesday this week. Even back of Pipe had some waves for Big Dave to go try out his new "shortboard". That being an 8ft 4inch thick mother that entailed having to glass to blanks together to get it to the right thickness. Seems to be working though, Big Dave is ripping.
Spots west of PE have been throwing up some good 'un's as well. Word is that by Wednesday everyone was so surfed out that there were empty perfect lines running down the point and no-one on them! Luckily the huge trucks delivering wind turbine parts to the windfarm being built out on the Oyster Bay road have been snarling the traffic up nicely and keeping the crowds down. They're running at least 5 loads a day out there so be prepared to get stuck if you're trying to do a quick dash out there for a wave.
Local is always lekker. And not much could be more lekker than locally made surf wax. Introducing Zen surf wax, made right here in PE by father-son duo John and Josh Enslin. Caught up with Josh and fired him some questions:
Where did the idea to make your own surf wax come from?
My Dad, John Enslin, is the scientist and inventor behind Zen Surf Board Wax. I simply created the name and authentic look and feel and brought the wax to life. John Enslin is the master behind the formula. Dad surfs and introduced me to the world of surfing at an early age. Back then we lived on a farm in Green Bushes and surfed on weekends, days of onshore were spent playing with sheep/running after chickens and riding horses.
Dad owns a factory that makes dental wax. Back in the early days he used to make the dental wax and candles on the farm, and being a surfer he started playing around with formulas and using different wax formulas on his boards. Mainly because traditional surf was expensive and being out on a farm it wasn’t easy to come by. So that’s how it started … long before I even knew what wax was.
Is it something that’s been a long while in development?
Dad and I have been working on it for the last 3 years. He’s the brains behind it and I have been testing it in different conditions. Overall I reckon Dad has officially been experimenting with surf wax formulas for about 20 years and made over 250 different samples that I know off! So yah, it’s not an overnight thing!
Must have been a real trial and error process?
One day I would slip and get over it, and then tell my dad how “not good that batch was!” I would get a call at 6am the next morning with him telling me that new samples were in the post box. He would have worked all night burning the proverbial midnight candle!
Kitchen get trashed in the process or did you boil it up in the garage!?
My dad started on the farm in a garage with chickens running around, but now works in his factory he has built up with state of the art machinery.
So are you allowed to tell us what’s in it or is a secret recipe like Coke & Kentucky Fried?
It will be a well-kept Enslin secrete for a long time. Let’s just say you would be amazed!
Love the holder it comes in, specially the lil removable wax comb inside. Is that a first for the wax market?
Dad and I had a common goal - to make a very sticky wax. At one stage too sticky! But it was still an incomplete product. I knew to make it more marketable in the surf industry, with all the established brands out there, we had to make it more than just a wax. It had to become a “lifestyle product with more than one official use.”
It was Shelz, my fiancé, that come up with the “wax comb” idea and then my scientist of a father put it all together - developing a mould and making it from scratch and housing it in the wax container as a “all in one product.”
Will we be able to buy refills for the box?
Yip, that the catch, you can only have so many containers. Re-Fill packaging is designed and we just waiting to hit print. We want to get the containers, which are the “core of the product” into the market place and gradually start filtering the re-fills in.
I’ve seen it in a coupla stores in PE, Jbay and St Francis – is it local only or available countrywide?
Billabong South Africa are stocking it, my dad and myself are really humble about this as the surf industry has so many ‘products and brands”. Billabong has given us a break into the market, and will stock it in their Billabong retail shops for now.
What makes your wax different from other blocks on the market? Tell us why we should buy Zen!
I could tell you we did tests between Zen and 4 of the best waxes in the world. Over and over again Zen and Wax brand “X” topped the charts, but that’s our tests and was proof for us that it was a great product.
Zen really is right up there and is the only wax that comes with a “complete package.” The Wax container with wax will not melt and mess in surf bag or car sets or dash board or on the ground. The wax comb is also a detachable device perfect for water use, as it’s small and can be kept in your wetsuit.
We’re planning to add a fin key to the unit as well. So why buy 3 different products when Zen is heaps cheaper and comes with the full package? Maths 101!
Zen are also offering a percentage of sales to development surfing in the country so we have a rad little initiative forming which we’ll keep you posted on.
I’m not going to come out and say Zen is “the best”, cos that’s just not “Zen!” Every surfer prefers a certain feel of wax, but try it - cos you might like it!
Zen meaning “a state of coolness only attained through a totally laid-back type of attitude”.
Both empty and full
Beginning and end
Nothing and yet everything
Zen is a lifestyle not a brand. Authentic natural functional product for surfers.
Have you got some positive feedback from guys who have ridden it?
Heaps of oaks are raving about it! Coupla guys have won contests on it. At the Vic Bay Quad we had it in a little white container and oaks would come past and give it a “rub”, half a day later we had random oaks coming up to us asking in a quiet voice “Got any of the white magic left?” It created a buzz and some really top names surfed it and were impressed with it.
So will the Zen label be sticking to wax? Or any other product lines that might be hitting the market?
My dad has a couple of tricks up his sleeve.....!
Note that at the moment Zen wax is COOL water surf wax - which means it rocks in water temps of 14-19C. Cold and warm water blocks will be hitting the shelves soon.
Wanna order some? Tune John on firstname.lastname@example.org
New kid on the block. Well, new food truck in the parking lot. Meet Warwick McKiever, the chap who’s gonna be behind your pre and post-surf fuel-ups.
How long have you had Coffee’s Up?
I decided to become “Haz Bean’s” the official name of the business with “Coffee’s Up” as the surfing spot trailer. It took a while to find the trailer shell, which I then had modified. So I’ve been trading for about three weeks in total now.
What was the motivation behind trying the food truck concept in PE?
I’d been chef’ing at my hotel in the UK for a number of years, and noticed this type of trailer-based business becoming popular there & in Europe. Thought it was an interesting concept if done correctly. I’d started with the idea of driving a 40 foot RV through Africa, which would then have become Coffee’s Up. However the shit hit the fan in the Middle East and northern Africa, which scuppered that plan. After a few months back in PE, and looking for work in the safari industry without much success, I started browsing and looking for trailers. Eventually found the shell which I then kitted out.
You have a degree in botany – how did you end up going from plants to being in food & catering?
After getting an honours degree in botany at UPE, I became a game ranger/lodge manager at Shamwari for nine years. That threw me into the hospitality industry. I built a lodge in Zambia for an owner, and when that came to an end I moved to the UK. I managed a small hotel in Kendal, but ended up buying a hotel in the Snow Belt near Glenshee (Scotland). I had trained as a chef in the Navy, where I worked in the Submarine Base. That, combined with watching the ex-executive chef of Sun City (who worked for me in Kendal) prepare food; I decided to become the chef in my hotel.
You seem to know quite a few of the ballies on the beach, did you grow up in PE?
Being at UPE where a couple of my mates (Bunny and Tablet) were surfers, I met a number of other dudes like Gavin Macaulay, Zibi and Chappy during the first year. Through the years of the early “book club” I met Barry Heasley, Randall Davies and Mark Reed amongst others. I never became a surfer after slicing my leg with a skeg at J-Bay, but took up wave skiing, until I broke my board at Muizenburg during a naval compo.
Give us a quick run-down on what the guys can grab to drink or chow?
I offer good coffee and filling, tasty food for a good price. There are a number of different coffees and teas available. A well-priced breakfast roll may become a best seller in the future. Things will change as I gauge the needs of the community. Summer drinks like non-dairy fruit shakes and Glühwein in winter.
What are your best sellers so far?
Cappuccino’s, filter coffee, muffins and a pizza thing I make. The food items will change with the seasons.
Is the plan to be permanently based at the Pipe car park? What times are you open?
Yes, I am now officially licensed for the car-park at Pipe. I will be in the car-park from sunrise to sunset, depending on certain factors. I may not be there on Mondays.
How’s trade been so far? Busy?
I have to thank the community at Pipe for their support and friendliness. I have only been there for a few days but was there during the Grom trials this weekend, which was great.
I don’t drink coffee so got Margot to be my official coffee taster; she had the filter coffee and said it was lekker. I tried out the hot chocolate – and can see this being a winter post-surf winner. Bonus is that you can get your drinks in a proper cup and saucer if you’re gonna drink it there and not take away. Civilised kinda stuff for a beach carpark!
And a huge bonus for surfers is that you can leave your car keys and cell phones with Warwick when you head out for a surf. Catch waves without the stress, knowing that your stuff will be kept safe and not be affirmative shopped. No charge for the service, but I reckon it’d be good form to at least buy some coffee or a snack every once in a while to say thanks!
So there ya have it. Pipe’s got a new local! If you’d like him to stay local please give him your support.
(PS if you leave your cell with Warwick please turn it onto silent, else the poor ou’s gonna end up in a loony bin listening to a whole bunch of phones beeping & ringing incessantly!)
GoPro POV (Point of View) shots can get pretty boring after a while unless there's an interesting angle or a good barrel like the Duckster's above. Seeing as I don't get barreled, I have more fun getting shots of others peeps surfing, or random stuff like a kiff unset or the dolphins cruising by. The hiccup is that GoPro is designed primarily as a POV camera, and that means the majority of the mounts that are made for it have this in mind.
So no probs to stick it to your board, or fasten it to your chest, head or wrist. All good as long as you're wanting shots of yourself, or straight in front/behind you it works like a bomb. Considerably less practical if you're wanting shots of other peeps or a different angle on the POV image.
There're some great lil point and shoot grips such as the LangArm (what Dale Staples is using) which is an extender pole you attach your GoPro to, or the Bobber, which is a small pistol grip. Hiccup with both of these is that although you can get some great angles with them, you have to hold em in your hand or bite em in your teeth whilst paddling and getting up. Doesn't work so lekker if you have a small mouth or small hands! Your only other option is to leave it dangling from the wrist leash whilst you paddle, but that gets in the way most of the time and acts like an anchor.
Scouring the internet proved fruitless, nothing out there that was what I was looking for. So along came the idea for the home-made Shoot, Clip & Go arm mount. All the perks of being able to have your GoPro on a stablising grip for better angles, but then being able to clip it away after shooting so you can have a hands-free paddle back.
Lots of scribbling on bits of paper later and I arrived at the start of an idea. A bodyboard elbow leash that had a clip attached to it so you could clip/unclip a GoPro on a small pole into it. Bottom of the pole attached to the leash so your GoPro doesn't go swimming off by itself.
Pretty stoked with how it turned out - even think it might work! Hasn't had a test run in the surf yet, so hopefully some swell this week.
Everything you need besides the GoPro and GoPro tripod mount you can grab at your local surf shop and hardware store. Just one item at the surf shop - the bodyboard elbow leash. Here's the list for the hardware store:
For the pole: small piece of irrigation tubing which you'll hacksaw down to the preferred length of your hand grip, stop cock to screw onto the thread of your irrigation tube. Short 1/4 inch bolt & 2 nuts which will be what your GoPro tripod mount screws on to (take your GoPro Tripod mount with to make sure you get the correct bolt size). Cable tie (to attach pole to leash), small bit of pool noodle to stick into pole for flotation. Drill.
For the clip: small strip of webbing (stuff that looks like your seatbelt), superglue, pack of things called clip terry tools 19mm, pack of very short 3mm bolt n screws - need one to fix terry clip to velcro of leash, needle, fishing braid (stronger than cotton), pliers, blow torch, carpet knife or scissors.
Make at your own risk. If you burn yourself, set the house alight or stab yourself with a needle it's your own fault.
Apologies for the kak quality pics but a Blackberry sucks for photo's.
Put the elbow leash on your left arm, up as high as you can. Have it facing so the leash clip is pointing forwards and the velcro strap ends up fastening between your arm and body. Make a mark in the middle of the velcro strap where you want the clip to go - I put mine on the midpoint of the outside of my arm. This is where you're going to attach the clip. Double check when you take the leash off that this mark remains about 1cm away from the leash buckle - else you ain't gonna be able to get it on once the clip is attached cos it won't open wide enough! This isn't a problem if you've used a wrist leash. But just not sure if a wrist one will be wide enough to fit on the upper arm?
Take the leash off your arm and have it in the opened position on a clear surface. Grab the short bolt with the pliers and blow torch it til red hot. Then push it through the velcro strap where you made the mark - the super-heated steel will just melt right through the velcro. So imagine what it will do to your flesh. Don't touch it!
Put the hot bolt down somewhere safe. Take another bolt out the pack. Put it through the hole in the base of the terry clip, through the hole you just made in the velcro, and pop it's nut on at the bottom which just protrudes out the bottom of the velcro strap. Tighten hard with the pliers, so that the clip is parallel to the strap.
Grab the fishing line and needle. Sew over either end of the terry clip to secure it to the velcro so that it won't swivel on the single bolt attachment. Use a thimble if you're struggling to get the needle through the velcro, and pull it out the other side with pliers. It helps to roll up the end of the velcro strap and secure it with an elastic band - else it gets in the way whilst you sew.
Just to keep the clip on vas, I also then glued a piece of webbing over it. You could stitch it on to for an even stronger bond. You could probably put a few drops of super glue on the nut on the other side to keep that from undoing itself. Good idea to burn the edges of the webbing with the blowtorch or a lighter before you stick it on - this just makes sure the edges don't unravel.
Cut the irrigation pole to whatever length you want your handgrip to be - just big enough for you to be able to grip it and yank it out the clip should work. Mine's about 15cm. Drill a hole through the top of the stopcock and put the 1/4 inch bolt through from inside the stopcock so it protrudes out the top. Pop the nut on and secure tightly, so you just have enough of the screw protruding out the top that you GoPro tripod mount will screw firmly onto it. The stopcock then screws onto the threaded part of the irrigation pole. Cut a bit of pool noodle into strips and shove em up the pole using the back end of a fork or whatever. This gives the pole some flotation. Drill a hole through either side of the irrigation pole near the bottom, and attach a cable tie through it - this is what the leash will secure to.
So hopefully by the end of the process you'll have something that looks like this, and have not burnt a hole in the table of stuck a needle through your finger.
Absolutely no idea how well this thing will work or not - still needs a test drive. Am already thinking about shortening the handle a lil more. Will also add a security string which attaches GoPro housing to the pole - just in case the tripod mount comes loose. Then reckon it would be safe to use with a normal backdoor not the red floaty.
The LangArm Gopro extender pole (which you can get at Cape Union Mart or the OUtdoor Warehouse on William Moffet) also snaps snugly into the 19mm terry clip so could probably use that too, instead of the homemade pole. Cos then you won't need the GoPro tripod mount as the LangArm comes with one built on.
Stay tuned for Part two.....will it work!?