Local surfer and photographer Dean Cothill’s known for his amazing photos of our hometown’s coastline; whether its spectacular sunsets, stunning sunrises or his unique eye-in-the-sky drone shots.
The man and his camera recently swapped the sandy stretches of home for snowy vistas of the Faroe’s. Caught up with him to find out more about his epic trip - and if he found any icy waves.
Most peeps have probably heard of the Faroe Islands, but have no idea where they actually are. Give us a quick Geography 101.
The Faroe Islands are beautifully nestled halfway between Norway and Iceland and around 300km north west from the UK. The Faroe Islands form part of the Danish Kingdom. The people there speak both Danish and the native language of Faroese. There are actually more sheep than people on the islands and that’s how the islands got named: Faroe actually means ”sheep”, so they’re the “Sheep” islands!
How did you end up going to such a remote possie?
Craig Howes and I were invited by the Faroe Islands Tourism Agency (@visitfaroeislands on INSTAGRAM) to explore the islands and take photos for them for their digital media platforms. Craig Howes is the biggest Instagrammer in SA and works with various tourism boards on a social media level as a photographer, influencer and content generator. (@craighowes)
We stayed in the country’s capital of Torshavn at the Hotel Foroyar for a week over February and March. We were incredibly fortunate enough to meet INSTAGRAM greats like @lebackpacker from Belgium and @hannes_bekker and @meunchmax from Germany who were also busy on the islands doing campaigns for @visitfaroeislands.
What were the islands like?
The landscapes are something out of a Tolkien novel and we have never been colder in our lives. We landed in snow with the sun shining on the mountains, lakes and rivers. The landscapes are so incredible vast and different to what we know in PE or South Africa, not better or worse, just incredibly different, imagine Vikings and Game of Thrones. Snow-capped mountains, crazy awesome sheep all over the place and little grass roofed homes like you’ve seen before.
Looked freezing over there, how did you cope with shooting in such cold conditions?
Incredibly difficulty… Hahaha… We used mittens that we could pull our fingers in and out of quickly… So hard shooting with gloves on.
The scenery looks mind-bendingly beautiful; it must have been hard to decide what to take pictures of with everything just looking jaw-dropping?
Yes yes and yes… It was seriously unreal… There is such an incredibly fine line between “You can point your camera anywhere and get a great shot” and just “stop and try and take it all in”. Never really been in a position where I just know that a camera will always fall short of what I’m seeing…
Speaking of jaw-dropping, get any vertigo standing on the edges of those sheer cliffs?
Hahaha… Yes and yes… Especially when it is a clean drop into the ocean. Mountains are great cos there’s often a slow gradient. But with these cliffs, its really 200m straight down into the ocean. Nothing in between.
Happen to spot any waves whilst you were missioning around the coast?
Craig and I are both surfers and were constantly looking for some waves along the coast, sadly nothing while we were there. We hoping to follow in the steps of Chris Burkard and get some waves a little more north, Iceland and the arctic circle.
Get to eat any strange local dishes? A bit of whale maybe!?
Nothing that was really off the charts. But it really was salmon country. So Salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
See anything weird and wonderful besides the landscape?
The most beautiful old churches and homes. All with these incredible grass roofs.
Any recommendations for peeps planning a visit there?
If you go in the winter, pack warm, really warm and a solid pair of hiking boots. We were incredibly well kitted out by Cape Union Mart, can’t go wrong.
Thanks to Dean for sharing his journey, have just added the Faroe's to my bucket list, despite the absence of surf.
Plenty of swell still around on Monday last week, how better to kick off the week with a public holiday AND surf. The holiday plus surf combo meant that there was a bit of congestion in the line-up's, but at least quite a few waves to go round. Things quietened down as the week progressed, but a bang down to a whimper beats a whimper to a whimper!
Perfect waves at Pipe for the Billabong SA Grommet Games. Our NMBS lighties did flipping well, hooking second possie overall, and taking home the Surfing Trophy, 3 SA titles (Zia Hendriks, C-Jay Posthumus and Daniel Orpen), as well as a 2nd in tag team event. You can check out the full wrap, results and shots here:
Some more waddling tuxedo's got released from SAMREC on Monday. The organisation does an awesome job of rehabilitating seabirds and other marine wildlife, and is always on the lookout for volunteers. So give em a should on firstname.lastname@example.org if you keen to help out. Otherwise pop in to see the penguins, as entry fee's go towards funding the centre.
Was waiting at the pedestrian crossing with Galed Smith recently after a surf, and laughing about how no-one ever stops at them. Some of the worst offenders being fellow surfers who'll yell a greeting and ask how the surf is as they drive past without stopping to let you cross. Spotted this on my newsfeed later in the day and thought it was a pretty clever idea - Two ladies from Ahmedabad in India have designed a very creative 3-dimensional zebra crossing that gives the illusion to oncoming drivers that it is a actual blockade, making them slow down.
Galed mentioned that Dieter Kuhn seems to have the right (or downright crazy) approach to pedestrian crossing. After an EP trial once he didn't even look and just walked across, making cars come to a schreeching halt on either side. Not sure I'd place that much faith in ou's brakes to be honest!
Been digging around our early surfing history and interviewed a few ballies to get an idea of how surfing started in PE. Pretty interesting darn story they had too. Go give it a read here: http://www.millerslocal.co.za/pe-surf-history.html
Jogged quite a few memories, with Craig Cuff coming up with some classic old shots of his pop, Peter, on a home-made crocker ski - almost like the first SUP. The first surfboards made in PE were called (confusingly) Seal Point Surfboards, and Craig has one of the originals in his collection.
Lionel Daniel remembers he couldn't afford one of the Seal Points or Swifts, so his first board was a Sunsurf - which cost R50 bucks. He had to save up and pay R25 towards it, which was tough going when his pocket money was only 25c a week! He made up the difference by catching and selling a lot of snakes to the Snake Park that year!!
Ever wondered if anyone uses that gym equipment on the grass patch near McArthur Baths? The answer to that is "yes"! A group of peeps called Zeus Calisthenics regularly do calisthenics and streetworkouts at the King's Beach possie. Shoot 'em a message on FB to find out about training times etc. Working out on the beach beats working out in a smelly gym any day of the week. Fresh air rules.
Surf Centre held a few grom surf camps over the hol's, and also hosted some lighties from Missionvale for a 2 day camp - with 6 kids coming each day. Dave Lippie contacted Annie and Willem from NMBS and asked if they'd like to arrange some kids, which they did. The groms had an absolute blast, with great weather and waves both days. Nice one Surf Centre, Dave and surf coach Alan Buchanan.
Josh Enslin's Guinness World Record is now officially official - he was awarded his certificate by SA Surfing Johnny Bakker at the opening function of the Billabong SA Grom Games last Wednesday night. Josh surfed for 30 hours 11 minutes and rode 466 waves; as well as raising over R30k via the CYOH Charity Drive for disadvantaged communities and animal shelters.
Head's up if you dig Killer Whales. Everyone's invited to attend a public talk about these finned friends that hang around Marion Island, by NMMU's Dr Ryan Reisinger. Venue is Bayworld next week on Tuesday 29th of March at 17:15 for 17:30.
Dr Reisinger is a world-renowned specialist on killer whales and a post-doctorate fellow at the Institute of Coastal and Marine Research, at NMMU. He will be talking about his amazing experience with Killer Whales on Marion Island.
Still another week of school holidays left, so expect a few extra peeps in the line-up all day. Charts looking like the odd wave or too during the week - nothing spectacular, just enough to rinse off in.
Head's up if you dig these guys. Everyone's invited to attend a public talk about Killer Whales around Marion Island, by NMMU's Dr Ryan Reisinger. Venue is Bayworld next week on Tuesday 29th of March at 17:15 for 17:30.
Dr Reisinger is a world-renowned specialist on killer whales and a post-doctorate fellow at the Institute of Coastal and Marine Research, at NMMU. He will be talking about his amazing experience with Killer Whales on Marion Island.
Killer Whales are absolutely fascinating animals. They are the ocean's top predators, among the world most widely distributed animals, and have fascinating foraging and social behaviours which vary from place to place.
Dr Reisinger will talk about these aspects, with examples from his research on sub-Antarctic Marion Island. He will also talk about a new project with which they are hoping to map important habitat for killer whales, seabirds and seals around Marion Island using tracking data.
It started with a whimper, and ended with a bang! A solid 16 second 4m bang. Pity the wind was the usual accompaniment, but that's how the proverbial cookie crumbles. Supers was super, whilst everywhere else struggled to deal with the breeze.
A sign of things to come was seen earlier in the week when an impressive lightening storm cracked over the Sards area, the big cloud build-up lending an pretty cool backdrop for the streaky bits to do their thing.
Mid-week saw a lil warm-up swell that let everyone wash the cobwebs off. Josh Enslin has started training for his 3rd surfing world record - which see's him going for the fastest speed ever traveled on a surfboard. Spotted doing some ninja moves out at Pipe.
Talking of ninja's, a lil teenage mutant ninja turtle washed up at Sards during the week. Super cute lil green critter. Heres hoping this dude's a toughie, cos it's estimated that only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings will survive to adulthood. An interesting fact about how climate change will affect these guys is that scientists are concerned that rising global temperatures will result in warmer sand, causing more female than male baby turtles. Chicks gonna be ruling...
Shot to Matt McGillivray for getting second possie in the Papara Pro Tahiti and moving into the top 40 on the QS rankings. Local is lekker!!
Ex-PE and now Perth local Jaryd Mason was stoked to get some PE company for a surf out at Rotnest Island, when Wes Weihahn popped past for sesh. Wes is busy ticking off just about every country on the globe whilst working for Qatar airlines.
Another local stacking up on stamps in his passport is Shannon Ainslie, who swapped the long right walls of JBay for the long right walls of Morocco. The locals seem friendlier there - as although camels are known to give you a nasty bite, they're probably preferable to the finned locals of the Eastern Cape.
How's this classic shot of Bruce's back in 1966. It was from a feature article in the Personality mag, which was looking in to the start of a new coastal community just down the drag from JBay. The mind boggles at how good the wave must have been with all that sand. Pity it's now packed full of houses. Hindsight is an exact science.
The lighties got a chance to show off their skills at the PE Gromcomp held at Pipe on Saturday. Perfect waves for the kids before the big swell hit.
The saying goes that life imitates art, and spotted some kiff new pieces from JBay artist Martin Bakker mid-week, showing JBay going off it's pip - which turned into reality by the end of the week with waves funneling down the point.
Gotto love the purple people eaters, and this Sunday saw the first serious one of 2016 hit the shores. The wind klapped it a bit, which made it tricky in the bay, but JBay cooked. The NMBS Masters trails went down at Seals, with the guys having to mission with the howling offshore.
Groms - get filming. Kiff opportunity to win a trip to California, to surf in Volcom’s 2016 Totally Crustaceous Tour Global Championships to be held at Lower Trestles. Win the comp and you $30k richer.
All the deets here
Pretty short week ahead - only 3 work-days outta 5, so ou's will be hoping to hook in some extra surf time. Forecasts look pleasant enough to keep smiles on dials.
If you're a PE surfer there's a good chance you'll have at least one Dennis Ellis board in your quiver. Deno's been shaping boards for about as long as he can remember, and has been keeping things funky at the bottom of Brikkies in the Boardroom for the past 16 years.
Decided to catch up with Deno to find out more about his shaping career:
It seems like you’ve been making boards forever, but when did you actually start out?
It does feel like forever! I made my first board in 1985/86 when I was 15 years old. I’m 45 now, so that’s 30 years ago, ouch!!
What made you decide to get into it?
I’d been surfing for a year or so, really enjoyed working with my hands, and I didn’t have the 250 bucks for a new stick. It just made sense to give it a bash.
The first one was so bad, the older okes at the beach gave me a hard time. It didn’t have Vee in the tail, which was the go then, as someone pointed out, so I went home and glassed a solid chunk of resin and chopped mat onto the tail. Plus the four fins (it was a quad) were made of foam, lightly glassed. First wave, they just exploded. Haha, what a laugh.
I rode that thing for about a year and actually got it to go eventually. But I think I felt the challenge within to make a proper board and perfect the technique. It’s 30 years later and I’m still learning!
Did you have to get your trainer-wheels at a local shaper before branching off on your own?
I actually got a book out the library!! Seriously! It showed how to make these old school single fins, but my first board was a bit more modern.
I knew so little about the process, it was starting from absolute zero. Every time I got a chance to pop in to Surf and Sail in Jbay I would drool over those beautiful boards.
Tell us a bit about your first stint shaping for yourself, how did you decide what to call your label – and any memorable successes or gaffs in those early years?
I started doing boards for friends from the beach. I think I’ve still got one in the roof. The 80s were all about ripping, slashing and tearing so my first label was called 'Aggro' with an icon called the 'Slasher' from a surf mag. Nick Pike used to joke my mates and I were the Aggro crew, which was pretty far from the truth - we were a bunch of weedy grommets trying bunny hops in the shorebreak.
My most memorable gaffs would have to be the exploding foam fins and the glass on vee panel weighing 2kgs!! I also cut a blank too short by a foot once, but generally the materials have always been so expensive, you really don’t want to mess up.
You ducked off to East London for a while – was that a business decision or where the waves just better!?
It was all about the surfing.
I’d spent some time in EL on school holidays and everything about the place was appealing to a young surf rat: great waves, incredible surfers and a tight knit community who really looked out for each other. Some of the best friends to have.
As soon as I got out of the army in 1992 I packed up and headed North. I’d surf cranking Nahoon Reef with people like world champ Wendy Botha, Andrew Carter, Wayne Monk, the Corby Brothers, Brad Bricknell and a bunch of unknown guys who absolutely ripped. "Maras" Steenkamp, Glynn Dalbock, Swern Mervin, too many to mention, but the standard of surfing was incredible.
Then you'd meet up at the Dolphin Hotel for pool, beers and some swinging from the rafters! Great comradery from such an epic surf community.
I had a bicycle, a board and a bag of dirty laundry. And I’d met a girl. I hadn’t even thought about a career, I was actually getting by selling empty beer crates and living on toast, tea and beer.
Andrew Carter took me in as a ding guy, and he was a real inspiration, surfing like nobody else, shaping a few boards, doing amazing artwork.
Marius Steenkamp was his glasser, such an underrated surfer. He won a Pro Am at Reef against SA's best and still no-one knew who he was. Magic Maras. He went over to Ireland for a few years and became a legend there, then just dropped off the radar.
Andrew was a living legend and really down to earth, getting to hang with these okes, I thought "jingoes ,this looks like fun"
Suddenly I was making some money, and surfing for Border with who I thought were the best guys in the country, so life was peachy.
Did you shape whilst you were there?
I didn’t really shape much on my first stay in EL. It was strictly ding repairs and surfing my brains out!
Then you missioned back to PE?
I came back to PE as a 'career' move after being offered a job to glass for Greg Smith, and this is where I learned about the search for the truly perfect board.
Tom Curren had just come to JBay for his first time, Greg made him a few boards and it opened up my eyes to the craftsmanship side of board making. I learned a helleva lot, Greg is a proper craftsman. Phil Weddel was sanding and myself and the ding guy surfed loads of uncrowded Seals and Jbay. Greg was making boards for guys like Quinten Jones, so it was a great learning opportunity.
And where to from there?
I went back to EL afterwards and opened my first proper factory and surf shop. I enjoyed 4 years of absolute bliss, shaping until 11 every morning, then driving to the best spots and surfing them usually alone with my mate Clint Bradfield RIP. The shark factor was heavy though, and after Bruce (RIP) and Andrew got attacked I felt I’d done my time.
You did a stint with Puka’s over in Spain, take us through that.
Dave Malherbe hooked me up with the job at Pukas, the huge surfboard factory in Spain, sanding boards for some of the best shapers in the world. I barely knew how to sand a board when I started there, but it was awesome to see and work on shapes by guys like Peter Daniels, Maurice Cole, Bruce Mckee (the Quattro guy) and Ron Roush, a guy who lost his hands in a car crash and used to shape boards for Sunny Garcia using prosthetic arms!! Unbelievable!!
I remember not having enough money for the air ticket there but somehow selling my car the morning I was supposed to leave and covering it with an hour or 2 to spare.
That trip was my first experience working in a global market factory, with the world’s best. Plus I got to surf 6-8 ft Mundaka which scared the s*** out of me, it was so heavy.
It was an exposure to real hard graft, but the cash was great and it was an awesome cultural experience. The total opposite to the Andrew Carter shape all morning, surf all day, party all night business model.
And how about the shaping mission over to Taiwan – not a possie most of us associate with surf?
If Spain was a cultural experience, Taiwan was a cultural SHOCK. Almost too much to comprehend, especially living with the locals, with a communication brick wall. A mate, Gavin Vos, who’s in the MTB industry hooked me up with the oppurtunity. Gav still lives there, still struggles with the language.
The factory was massive and the Taiwanese have a work ethic second to none. Their unemployment rate is something like 3%, everyone just works their butts off. With very little recreation.
I had a great job as a consultant, and the surprising thing was the surf. Such a big coastline with every type of break imaginable and only about 150 surfers in the whole country. Throw in a tropical climate and super warm water, it really is a legit surf destination. When the Typhoons hit, the surf can get massive. Although I reckon the wind in PE is stronger than most typhoons over there. And I got to experience a little earthquake, which was kind of cool.
On the cultural side, hanging with the factory workers, eating weird food and endless tea ceremonies. That Oolong tea is like having 3 Red Bulls at once. I brought some back to SA and my girlfriends father almost had a heart attack from the stuff.
Not a big alcohol drinking culture, but the Karaoke scene is massive. I admit to squawking out a couple of numbers under a bit of pressure.
Weird things were the indoor fishing pools, betel nut chewers with miff teeth and the food, all of it. Especially the green '100 year old eggs' and smelly tofu which pongs like a dead sewer rat!
Since your time in Asia you’ve been back in PE full-time, and seen your business really grow. What was behind the decision to get a shaping machine – and how’s that been working out?
PE is always going to be home, like everywhere there are pros and cons. Here I’ve really had the chance to fine tune small wave boards, because it’s pretty much all you ride. Anything will go in good surf, that’s too easy.
And we have the best surf community for sure.
The support from the community has been fantastic, its humbling, and my goal is to make every customer the best board possible and improve their surfing or enjoyment of surfing as much as possible. My business is about building long term relationships with customers and eventually their families, and that right there is the reward in itself.
I’ve been lucky enough to have help from Mervin Goddard on the shop side, a custom board factory on its own, doing small output, needs a second stream of income. Mervyn came on board with massive input to the shop and outlay, and so many other guys chipped in to help out, it was really amazing. Guys like Andre Venter with the paint job, Barry Theron with the electrical and a bunch of others who pulled in and hammered a few nails, every bit helped. It was a traumatic experience, but so worth it!
The repair side of the business is really just an aftersales service. Very few factories even do repairs because of the time and effort involved. Even fewer do repairs to other brands of boards.
Making boards is not about the cash, that’s for sure, I could have spent a quarter of the amount of time learning another trade and be making way more. It’s never been about getting rich or stroking my ego as some sort of shaping 'guru'. I do it for the love and to be part of the lifestyle and community I love.
What are the advantages of machine shaping vs hand-shaping?
Getting the shaping machine was a no-brainer. A factory has to have one or use someone else’s to be competitive.
Unfortunately in the custom board market, there is a limit to the market and the amount of custom boards one can do as it is way more time consuming than doing stock.
It’s always going to be difficult to compete with the big factories which do high volumes as their costing is way less per board. So the pressure is always to increase output and favour stock over custom, which I don’t really want to do. I’m on the AC program, not the Chinese business model.
I once asked Peter Daniels why he didn’t use a shaping machine (back then) and he said he was a shaping machine! True, but there aren’t many people left like him. Shaping a board is a really physical job, doing 5-10 a day like those legends used to is damn hard work. It’s like throwing bricks on a building site all day. In the end with high volume shaping, it destroys your body.
The other 2 aspects are accuracy and the ability to reproduce a board, a few years down the line. I’ve got everything on file now. If you come back in 5 years’ time, I will give you the same board.
A nice bonus and a real design tool, is the volume calculator. Knowing the required or preferred volume for a customer takes away the hit and miss. Plus if you're building a quiver or redesigning your go to board, it's an exact science. So easy to take your 5'9 or whatever and blow it up to 6'0 with the same volume. Or maybe you're getting older and want an extra litre volume. I can do that without even changing the dimensions on the board, just adjusting the foil.
I can’t really see any advantages of a handshape in the performance board market, apart from the fact that the customer is getting a once off work of art, which they generally aren’t prepared to pay the real value for. The average shaper in a factory might get R 300 as a shaping fee, or maybe R300 for a full day. For 3 hours of physical hard graft per board which took a 20 year apprenticeship? The temptation in big factories, and I’ve seen it, is to get someone who has never even surfed to do the hand shaping because they will work cheaper than a legit shaper.
One could make comparable analogies in any industry or artform. For instance, is it better to carve an ice sculpture using a chisel or chainsaw? It’s the same artists work at the end, so it doesn’t matter, but do you want to see a little rabbit or an ice castle. And really a tool is a tool, some are just more efficient.
At the end of the day though it’s an efficient ,accurate tool, if you know what you're doing with it. Hand shaping will always be the root of our craft, but times change and one needs to keep up.
Hats off to the hand shapers for sure it is a real artform, and unfortunately a dying one at that.
The really telling fact though, is that not one Pro surfer with any sort of credibility rides a hand shaped board anymore. There’s a reason for that.
You’ve always been innovative with your shapes, what are some of your most memorable models over the years?
My innovations have always been performance based. Function before fashion. Sure a board should be nice to look at, but there are also some butt-ugly boards out there that fly. One has to keep an open mind. Unfortunately most of us, myself included, are reluctant to try things which aren’t widely accepted.
My Tokoloshe and Vetkoek are 2 of my favourite and bestselling designs. The Tokoloshe started as a blank which I hand shaped until it looked like what I wanted: small and fat. That board changed my perception of small wave performance.
The other thing I’ve put a lot of energy into has been alternative construction methods, like epoxy/xps/eps foam etc. and various flex patterns. Just too much work for the average big factory though.
My D-bar which I patented years ago was tested by Firewire in California and Marc Price was stoked. He just wasn’t about to give any cash for the idea though. I see JS in OZ have come up with something of the exact same principal. But that’s surfboards for you, there’s no money in innovation. Ask Simon Anderson!
Have you ever had team-riders per se?
I’ve always preferred to have a small team of riders and I’ve had a couple of hot guys right from my EL days.
Guys out for a good deal though will drop you for a hundred bucks cheaper from another shaper.
It’s very difficult to support team riders. I do limited output and work a 50 hour week, 6 days a week just to make ends meet. Giving boards away is not always financially viable.
In fact, if any top 20 WSL pro walked in and wanted boards, I would think long and hard. Giving a guy 150 boards a year has got to equate to direct cash return. That's how many boards a top pro will go through in a year. For example, Toledo arrived at Snapper with a quiver of 60 boards!
Although it’s a slippery slope, its vital to have good feedback from good riders. I’ve built an entire range of Grom boards from my work with Alex van Rijswik over the years and it pushes me to shape a better board to help him surf to his full potential. That being said, I try do that with every customer. Build a long term relationship, shape them a better board every time, otherwise I’m not doing my job.
Back in the day your boards used to sport a crusty the clown logo – what’s the story behind that!?
AAAhh, good old Crusty!
You know that logo was just about not taking things too seriously and being able to laugh at life. It didn’t go down with a lot of people though. Clorophobes for one, yep it's a word and there're a lot of them out there thanks to Stephan King. Haha!
Also guys who were really serious about their surfing. I guess trying to get a set wave off the locals at Supers is difficult with a smiling clown on your board.
What’s your favourite aspect of being a board shaper?
My favourite aspect of shaping is easy: Seeing someone enjoy surfing one of my boards. Simple.
I also love riding something that I’ve made and learning about my surfing and the boards as they change. If I won the lotto tomorrow, I’d carry on making boards for myself.
Anything new planned for the near future?
In the future I’m hoping to grow really long hair, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll keep smiling…
I had a ride on Ryan Andersons log at Cobbles during the Cobbles Classic, and it was such a blast. It’s the first time I’ve ridden a proper noserider and I think they do have a place in your quiver especially in PE. Just watching those okes gliding on the nose, looks like such fun. My 2 second hang 5 felt epic too.
So I think I’m going to give the longboard thing a good bash and see where that goes.
Any last words?
Here’s a few random stories…..
I ended up in London wanting to do the migrant worker thing, but big smelly cities aren’t for me. I had no cash, so I borrowed 100 Quid from a mate and missioned to Jersey Island where I knew a guy I’d met in EL and who said I could crash on his floor.
Jersey was so beautiful after London, but I had zero chance of getting work, I’ve only ever made boards. Can’t even waiter or bartend! There is one small board factory on the island and a few surf schools so my mate said try the factory owner, who also ran a surf school too.
Next day at the beach I introduced myself to him and he looked super stoked and said "hey (can’t remember what name he used) we've been waiting for you, you start tomorrow!!! The real guy never showed up, and I inherited his job and had one of the best Summers of my life, and made some incredible friends for life.
In the same vein, I once last my car keys sandboarding. You have almost zero chance of finding them, after a day all over the dunes. I said, stuff it one more ride, and rode until I stopped and fell over – and my hand landed right on my car keys!
I think the moral of the stories is, even if you think you have Zero chance, you actually have a lot more than you think, anything can happen!
Deno shapes amazing boards, from high performance wave schralpers to easy-paddling heaps-of-fun boards, and everything in between. Want a board? Tune Dennis here.
Tel/Fax: +27 41 586 2276
A decidedly slow week surf-wise. Very much a scratch and grovel affair with no groundswell gracing the coast. These was the odd wave window, but pretty much Pipe or bust in the bay. The waves might let us down, but the dolphins never do. Cruising past every day like clockwork.
Now's the time to give our finned friends a hand. The Addo Marine Protected Area (MPA) has been proposed, and we all need to lend our support to it so that it gets approved. It's a chunk of the bay, including the islands, from Motherwell across to Cannon Rocks, a vital breeding area for our penguins, as well as home to huge pods of dolphins and breeding whales.
You can make a difference by heading over to the blog post I did explaining the importance of the MPA, and download the letter of support and email it to the govt peeps. More the merrier when it comes to the number of emails they get from peeps saying, yah - we want that thing!
Stoked to have been given the opportunity by Zag to get PE some mag-time. Our lil town tends to get ignored most of the time, so lekker to be able to show the rest of the Saffa surfing community that we actually do get some surf, and we have such a kiff surf community. Go grab the latest copy of Zigzag to check it out. Some kiff pics from Kody McGregor.
Not only does Car Park John gets his pic in the new Zag and a mention in the PE feature, he's also getting interviewed by NMMU journalism students. What's next - a clothing line, a surfboard label? The skies the limit.
Ex-local Ryan McSkimming is back in the bay for a visit. Lucky ou is living the dream in West Africa with a cooking left point as his front garden. Guessing he's staring out at Pipe going, yss, glad I moved! But hey, once a PE peep, always a PE peep. Never gets outta ya blood.
Whilst busy researching for a PE Surf History article I'm doing came across this shot of Peter Gilchrist taken by Jonty Hansford at Seals. Noticed how he had his leash on the front foot. So was he switch-stancing? Nup, turns out Pete marched to the beat of his own drum, and just dug to have his strap on the front foot.
Whilst in time-machine mode, came across this ad for plots at Seals back in 1967. For only R900 buckaroo's you would be the owner of a possie at Cape St Francis, with princely monthly repayments of R13 bucks. Hind sight is an exact science, isn't it.
Make a plan to go give Dane Staple's new FB page a like - head over to Dane Staples Films here https://www.facebook.com/danestaplesfilms/ so that you can stay up to date with all the fresh edits dropping from this super talented St Francis surfer. He's just finished a short film with Jordy Smith, about his pre-season prep for the WSL 2016 - the big man is looking sharp as a razor. Here's hoping early form translates into some tour wins this year!
The 2016 WSL is about to kick off - Join Billabong's Fantasy Surfer Club “Billabong SA” The overall winner walks away with a R10 000 shopping voucher as well as prizes for every event.
To enter, log onto fantasy.surfermag.com, choose your teams and join the club “Billabong SA”. Open to SA residents only. Prizes will be awarded to both Men’s and Women’s team winners, plus prizes for each comp.
The Billabong Grom Games are coming up soon, and organisers are asking for anyone who's keen to sponsor an ad in the brochure to give em a yell. Check out the info below, then give Shirley a holler if you can help.
Caught up with PE's salt-water chef, Allan Bezuidenhout, during the week, He's a Millers local and owner of the newest spot on Stanley Street, Muse. Not only does he make his own Hobie Beach salt, but one of his dishes is this "edible reef" - after being inspired whilst surfing Millers one day (edible sand, with dried out prawn shells, oysters in shell for the rocky bit, deep fried nori seaweed and crayfish tail). Stoked PE finally gets some fine dining - and it's a surfer who's doing it. You can check out the interview here (and see some of Allan's amazing looking chow)
Collect shells from places we visit and have some nice big 'un's from Maldives and Indo, which we bought from the local community. Decided it might be cool to try turn a couple into lamps. Came across Peazy Projects on FB as spotted the shaka they had as their profile pic on my newsfeed so went to look up their page. They seemed to do all sorts of design and engineering stuff so got in touch and they were keen to make it happen. The shell lamps turned out great, super stoked. For any design/engineering projects from furniture through to treehouses, contact these guys, cos local is lekker!
https://www.facebook.com/PEazyprojects/ or Brendon on Peazyprojects@gmail.com
Saw a classic vintage shot of PE this week - of where all the boats used to anchor off North End. Imagine the amazing beachies that stretch of coast used to dish up before it disappeared after the construction of the harbour. If the swells are big enough to beach a few ships, they sure would be good enough to surf.
Round 2 at Snapper saw the underdogs klapping the main ou's. Jordy out to Ryan Callinan, Kelly out to Stuart Kennedy, Julian out to Seabass, Kai out to Conner. Not quite the start to the year the big guns were looking for. Ironically, Stu Kennedy, an underground Aussie pointbreak specialist (and injury replacement for Bede Durbidge), beat Kelly Slater on one of his own boards - a Daniel Thomson-shaped, Slater Designs 'Sci-Phi' Firewire. In doing so he resigned the King to his worst result at the Quiksilver Pro since 1992.
Jordy looked suitably mortified after his loss. He's going to have to pull something outta the bag if O'Neill's going to resign him when his contract ends in 2018. The WSL site lists his career wins total as over $1.3 million to date, so he could probably live off that the rest of his life anyhows. But flip, just wish things would finally click for him. Such an insane surfer who just can't seem to get it together. World champ material no doubt.
Things are looking promising for a bit of a wave later in the week and into the weekend. Hopefully the swell gods cut us a break! Roll on winter - although hopefully El Nino has died by then - as it didn't do us any favours last winter.
The new Addo Marine Protected Area (MPA) has been proposed by the Minister of Environmental Affairs on the 3rd of February of this year, together with another 21 other MPAs in South Africa.
Marine Protected Areas are crucial for healthy marine ecosystems. They are beneficial for the recovery of exploited fish stocks, ensuring the sustainable exploitation of our marine resources, hence jobs and food security. They also offer safe havens for many species and top predators' populations.
Algoa Bay is home to more than half of the world African penguin population. Their population crashed by 70% in the last 10 years, and they need this MPA. Algoa Bay also hosts beautiful reefs, the largest pods of bottlenose dolphins in the world and hundreds of whales coming to give birth here every year.
You can show your support for this MPA by completing the attached template letter and sending it to MPARegs@environment.gov.za before the end of April.
A public participation meeting, open to all, is planned on the 17th of March at 10 am in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Reception Room at the City Hall (Port Elizabeth) to discuss the draft regulations for the MPA (file available for download below)
Make a plan to pop your email off to support the creation of the MPA, and get the word out as well. More the merrier when it comes to supporting great initiatives that'll preserve our special bay.
To make it even easier, below is a letter you can download and just add your name to - then email it off. Easy peasy.
Surfers make pretty good chefs. Allan Bezuidenhout, a regular Millers local, has just started his own restaurant in Stanley Street called Muse.
Popped past for supper last week and had a flipping lekker meal.
Fine dining without the associated pretentiousness or price tag. Kiff, tasty food from a menu that was off the beaten track. Also the kind of possie you can happily munch through 3 courses enjoying the taste-bud journey, without feeling prop-vol afterwards.
Caught up with Allan to find out more…
What was behind the idea of opening your own possie, Muse?
It has always been a dream of ours but we had to wait for the right spot to open up. (ML - Muse is located at the bottom end of the Stanley Street strip, under Two Olives)
What sort of food are you guys dishing up?
Classic comfort meals that have been modernized. We use the freshest produce we can find, and source from local suppliers as far as possible -the smaller okes who can guarantee quality.
What’s the inspiration behind how you cook?
Fresh and good quality produce. I love filleting a whole fish rather than buying it in already filleted. I enjoy making my own sauces and salts from scratch, and changing the menu every 3 months is very inspirational. You need to keep upp'ing your game.
Heard you were into foraging – hope that doesn’t mean we end up with some weeds outta the gutter on the plate!
HAHAHAHAHA, no, nothing from the gutter, but definitely from the valley and some stuff from the beach.
Anything that can be foraged down at the beach, so you have an excuse to come check the surf?
Ya, on my previous menu we had samphire, so I got to go to the beach quite regularly. We also make our own salt from the big blue, except if there is red tide. So get to check the surf but can't always paddle out which sucks.
(Samphire is a plant from the parsley family, which grows on rocks by the sea. Its aromatic fleshy leaves are sometimes eaten as a vegetable)
You make your own salt? How's that work?
The Salt making process is pretty simple. I look for a rock pool with lots of mussels cause they filter the water lekka. Then I take the water back to the kitchen where it gets strained a few times to get rid of any possible impurities.
From there is goes on to the stove at a low heat, so the water starts to evaporate and a crust of salt is formed at the top of the pot. I gently remove the crust and follow this process until all the water has evaporated. Then the crust of salt crystals gets dried under my salamander for a couple of hours and there you have it - home-made salt!
We incorporate herbs, chilli and all kinds of other produce to flavour it. The salt is lank potent so if you enjoy a pinch of salt on your food, with this you only use half the amount you normally would.
You’re into using fresh and organic ingredients, what’s the motivation behind that?
Flavour, I just think that you get the best flavours from fresh produce. It is also a respect thing for me - we need to respect and understand where food comes from.
Has running your own spot meant more or less time in the water?
Actually more time, but early morning surfs most of the time. I need to get to the suppliers by 09:00 to pick up my stock.
Ever come up with recipe idea’s whilst you’re out in the line-up?
Definitely, lots of inspiration out there. Once sat out at Millers looking at the reef, went back into the kitchen and recreated a complete edible reef! I made edible sand, with dried out prawn shells, oysters in shell for the rocky bit, deep fried nori seaweed and crayfish tail that was standing up to represent the plant life.
What would you say is your signature dish?
Currently I would say it is the Beef Short Rib, dehydrated vegetables, chipotle aioli and charred corn, but it changes all the time. We change our menu every 3 months to stick to seasonal produce.
You work together with your wife Simone. What aspect of the cooking is she in charge of?
She is in charge of all the desserts - She is a pastry chef and designs all the desserts on the menu.
(ML - and they are all-time! The chocolate ball thingy - officially known as a Choc-nut Sunday with twist, is a win. It comes with some hot chocci sauce on the side, which the waitress pours over the ball which melts the top half and exposes the ice cream inside it - neat, huh!)
She also does wedding cakes, novelty cakes, birthday cakes and sweety tables for weddings.
How’s the response been since you’re opened?
It has been really good. We have been blessed with lots of support.
Any words of advice to those out there wanting to own their own restaurant one day?
Have fun, stay humble and work hard at it. Things change daily so adapt.
Muse is located at 1b Stanley Street, Richmond Hill, and is open TUesday to Saturday from 12h00 - 22h00
The menu is seasonal and changes regularly. Download the current menu by clicking the link below:
Go support a fellow surfer, and have some kiff chow in the process! Cos admit it - you lekker hungry after looking at all those food pix!
Coupla days to get wet on during the week, but a lot more heat waves than real waves unfortunately. Has made for some lekker days on the beach, despite the surf being a bit hit and miss.
The calm conditions have seen water viz be pretty darn good on a few occasions, you coulda swum out there with your goggles and had a good chance of spotting Nemo. Waters been so warm you'd also be able to swap the wettie for baggies without becoming hypothermic within 30 minutes.
Now that the hype around the Eddie has died down a bit, some shots are starting to surface of other spots that were going off on the Eddie swell - like Jaws. Here's Brazzo Yuri Soledade on what many are calling the biggest wave ever surfed out there. The thing started to pitch midway through his ride and he thought he was about to become Chicken Licken with the sky falling in on his head - but thankfully he made the section - and now might well stand a chance at winning the Billabong XXL Ride of the Year.
Been on a bit of a mission recently tracing down PE's surf history. One of the ou's I chatted to was Bruce Matthew, who was the first guy to make surfboards in PE - shaping under the Seal Point label. If anyone happens to have a Seal Point board in their collection would be great if you could snap a shot of it, and send that together with the board deets through to me on email@example.com
Hannah Bing shot through a cool wrap on their first coupla months in Mexico. Brad & Hannah have swapped Maldives for Mexico and are now surf-guiding in Punta Mita for Tropic Surf. You can check out Hannah's wrap and shots here http://www.millerslocal.co.za/travel-blog/life-in-the-land-of-tequila
Bunch of compo's happened over the weekend. The groms had the first Tag Team event at Pipe which was a blast.
Shot to CYOH who donated a whole bunch of second hand wetties to Development Surfing just before the comp. They'd been collected through CYOH's various charity drives. Reduce, reuse, recycle - and share the stoke! If you have any old wetties you no longer use, give CYOH a yell and they'll find 'em a new home.
Groms take note - another comp coming up soon so get your entries in asap - as numbers are limited for the Grom Comp happening at Pipe on 19th/20th March. Snooze you lose! Entry forms here http://www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za/13055-2/
The loggers decided to mix things up a bit for their 4th trial, and went round the corner to Noordhoek to glide along the peeling rights, which are ideally suited to logging.
Eye's peeled for a pink Globe skateboard that got nicked from Taz Wright's car. It's a one of a kind in PE, and even more noticable thanks to it's blue and green wheel mix. See anyone on it then kindly re-appropriate it on Taz's behalf.
Not sure how to keep the lighties entertained over Easter - chuck em off to camp - surf camp! Surf Centre are running a 3 days Learn to Surf Camp, deets below.
Local shutterbug Dean Cothill who usually brings us kiff shots of the Pier and surrounds has upgraded to shooting waterfalls in Nordic climes instead! He's visiting the Faroe islands and is getting some awesome shots of all things snow-capped!