Let's face it. Black's boring. Colour's cool. The line-ups are filled with black-suited surfers bobbing up and down. Wouldn't it be more fun if everyone had weird wetties like Wilko!? Ripcurl teamrider and WSL competitor, Matt Wilkenson (aka Wilko) is known for his array of wonky wettie designs. And yes, the one on the far right is a tit suit. Literally and figuratively!
By and large the major manufacturers have stuck to black. But at least they're throwing in splashes of colour these days. Maybe it's cos the average Joe surfer isn't looking to draw attention to our questionable cutties, 10'clock snaps or weird arm placement by wearing brightly colored suits? Unlike Julian Wilson below, the closest I get to an airs is jumping off the wall at Millers down onto the beach. But would be more than happy to be a bright looking kook if I could get my hands on some bright suits. Black's so last year.
Apparently wetsuit colour can affect your performance far more than you think. Here's some interesting facts from a Surfer mag article by Justin Housman:
"There are a couple phenomena at work here. First, self-perception. The fine folks at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management led a fairly influential 2012 study which showed that people who wore a doctor’s white coat performed better in cognitive tests than those wearing street clothes. When a different group of people wore the same coat but were told it was a painter’s smock, they recorded far worse results than the group who believed they were wearing a doctor’s uniform. In a nutshell: if you think you’re dressed like a doctor, you’ll actually act smarter.
This same idea is supported by University of North Carolina researchers who argue that uniforms of the right color help athletes reach their “Ideal Performance State.” We react to colors on an emotional level, and peak athletic performance only comes about when your head is in the right place. Imagine what that could mean for your surfing, if you had the stylistic courage to strap on a neon wetsuit. Look like a pro, surf like a pro.
OK then, you’re probably wondering, which color will make me rip? Red. That’s according to reports published in the Journal of Sports Science. And this is especially so for competitive athletes. Soccer (or, sorry, football) teams in England that have worn red unis were found to have won matches at a rate far out of proportion than teams not wearing red. Other sports seem to show a similar trend. Nobody knows exactly why that is—ref bias, intimidation, aggressive self-perception amongst red-wearers have all been suggested—but statistics seem to bear it out. Wear red, perform better. Keep that in mind next time you’re betting on the outcome of a pro tour heat, or choosing between a suit with red logos or with blue.
But wait, if the color of what you’re wearing can affect mood and performance, what does that say about wearing a black wetsuit? “Black is viewed as the color of evil and death in virtually all cultures,” Cornell University researchers noted in a 1988 study of whether or not wearing black screws with your behavior. Their verdict: it sure seems so.
Black uniforms were shown to increase an athlete’s aggressiveness, while at the same time intimidating competitors. Sports teams that wear black commit more penalties than their lighter-colored counterparts. Black can make you feel tough, and can make others look tough. This can’t be helping in those jam-packed, neoprene-filled winter lineups.
Of course, all of this is subjective."
There're a coupla companies out there that have taken wetsuit design to a new level of wonderful weirdness. A bunch called Bydiddo have a series for you if "you have a desire for swimming while one with nature. The Wetsuits will be out soon and would have some truly interesting designs including strangely beautiful lichen patterns, pretty pink polyps and even epithelial cells." Epithelial cells!? Always wanted a wettie full of those.
Would you rather be a tiger, giraffe or ladybug. No prob, the ou's at Selfridges in the UK stock some of these puppies. Or what about a cow? Cows surf, right?! You can yell "cowabunga" when you dropping in and really mean it.
Why not get a wettie to stop you from being part of the food chain? Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS) have found a way to scare-off sharks for good, supposedly. They have designed a line of wetsuits that basically create some “confusion for sharks’ visual systems”. So, instead of biting you in the ass, sharks will swim away thinking that you’re going to eat it. Really.
And here's one everyone would be keen on. A wet Suit. Even wanted to turn your board meetings into "board" meetings? Fit a quickie in at lunchtime without the hack of having to get changed? Quiksilver Japan have got you covered. Their new line called True Wetsuits. Actual business suits made outta neoprene that according to their website "the 1st suit of its kind in the world, which can be worn on business occasions, for parties, and, of course, surfing." Seriously. It's brilliant.
Wouldn't you just love to rock up at the office in some lekker tight neoprene leggings like these? Guessing it's a great theory but kak in practice - cos you gonna sweat like nuts at the office, and if you get a lunchtime surf in it you gonna spend the arvo dripping on your desk. They're a steal at $2000.
Thankfully these days we do have the choice to banish the black. All the big surf brands do have the odd colourful suit in their range. And if you wanna surf like a world champ best you go orange! Medina not scared to go bright.
Cos wouldn't the crowded line-up below seem a whole lot better if it looked like a bunch of smarties instead of a zillion black bobs?
Might not help your wave count, but it could make it more fun.
A rare combination of glassy conditions AND waves saw some long sessions logged on Thursday. Super fun lil waves all over, although things had dropped off by mid-arvo. Snooze you lose.
Sands moved back into all the right places, which has opened up a few of the dormant low tide spots. Good week all round, even for ex-PE peeps. Brad & Hannah scored some sweet peelers in their Maldives office, and Jaryd and Pottie made the mission to Margaret River to check out the WSL event - and charge some pretty serious sized surf.
The weather was so lekker on Thurday that it caught some ou's out....forgetting to take their sunnies off before hitting the line-up. We all laugh when we see it, but it's an ironic laugh - cos we've all been guilty of doing the same thing at least once in our lives.
The local JBay photag Robbie Irlam is known for his kiff shots of that famous stretch of points. Being an ex-surfer he knows when to snap the shutter. But finally, after 40 years outta the wax, he finally got coerced back in to the surf and caught his first wave in 4 decades. said it was like riding a bike. Welcome back to the fold, Robbie.
Once a surfer. Always a surfer.
If you see an old duck hip deep on the reef at Supers, don't dash out and rescue her. She's the local octopus lady - who bravely sticks her hand into all sorts of nooks and crannies to yank out an eight legged lunch.
Nothing beats a fresh stick. Rubbing that first coat of wax on, screwing in the fins, and then seeing how it floats as you walk it out into the surf. Even better when it goes like a boeing. Gavin Rother loving his new Seaflight. Bit of extra volume to cope with the generally pap PE surf. If you surf in the bay - volume is your friend. Here's why...
PE might be the Windy City and we get moered by howling onshores for days on end - but it's never blown hard enough to fill our skatepark with sand! Sydney got hammered by storms the past week - the shot below is of their beachfront skatepark - where you'd have more luck on a sandboard.
Staying in Aus - another hectic shark attack there on Sunday. Chap sitting in a group of 12 other surfers at a right point in Port Lincoln had a huge white come up under him and bite off his leg - swimming off with it and his surfboard. He's in critical condition. Get well buddy.
Seems to be a lot more rubbish washing up on our beaches than usual. Do your bit to keep your stretch of sand clean by picking up some litter on your way back up the beach after your surf. So easy to do, and every little bit helps.
When money is no object. Eccentric New Zealand surfboard shaper Roy Stuart built the Rampant and priced it at $1 million. The 9-foot-long board handcrafted from Paulownia timber features a 23-carat gold lion motif was undoubtedly unique. Roy had the last laugh when a buyer purchased the board for $1.15 million. You could get 3500 boards from Deno at The Boardroom SA for that price!
The SA Longboard Champs kicked off in PE on Sunday. The comp moves out to Seals on Tuesday. Charts don't look to bad for the loggers and they should have contestable surf. If you're out at Seals for the comp, make sure you pull in to the Cape St Francis Resort on Wednesday evening - PE funny-man Gino Fabbri takes to the stage to tickle your ribs, then rock-a-billy's The Brothers get your blood pumping.
You'd be forgiven for thinking Quik was pulling an April Fool's stunt with this. But nup, Japan's Quicksilver have collaborated with a wettie manufacturer there and come up with True Wetsuits. Wetsuits you can work and surf in. Seriously!
CYOH had their 2nd Surf Off for the year on Saturday. The light north winds meant the guys went on a wildside mission for surf - and the chilly morning temps meant a fire on the beach was the best way to stay warm. Lekker lekker fire-krekker.
A while back I posted a shot on Facebook of some decent lil waves in Dubai, whilst we were suffering from a 2 week flat spell. An ex-PE local (now based in Muscat, Oman), Quinton Thrussell, commented on the shot saying he was heading to the coast of Oman for a few waves.
Now for all those that didn't do geography at school, Oman is Dubai's neighbour to the east, and does have a stretch of coast bordering the Arabian Sea. Not exactly surfing nirvana as Quinton points out, but it has an ocean and the sun shines bright daily.
Here's Quinton's wrap on the trip:
At first glance Oman (if you even know where to look....I didn't before I moved here) may seem like a desolate wasteland but dive beneath the ocean surface and the explosion of marine life is spectacular.
Oman truly has a beauty all of it's own from mountains, to deserts, to beaches. The people are friendly, helpful and live very simple lives in the fishing villages.
Surf season runs in conjunction with summer here not the idyllic 25- 30 degrees C which we are accustomed to in PE, but Hades level temps of 35 - 45 degrees and higher which don't exactly drop when night falls.
Advantage surf-wise, is it's always off shore in the morning; even though it does feel like a giant hair dryer blowing from the moment the sun rises.
It was my birthday weekend (18th April) and I was loath to let another birthday pass without a birthday surf (missed it last year as didn't have my boards). Plan A was to hit the Wild Wadi in Al Ain, UAE (the wave pool made famous by the Globe movie "Electric Blue Heaven") till I laid eyes on Magicseaweed - which was saying 2-3ft at 15 sec on the east coast. Binned Plan A, lets hit the coast instead.
Got in touch with the most stoked surf crew in Oman - Oman surfers (https://www.facebook.com/omansurfers?fref=ts ). Most of the guys are starting out but you won't find anyone frothing for a surf more than them regardless of wave size.
I arrived at the Arabian Sea Motel after 4, going on 5, hours drive from Muscat on the Thursday. Chilled out and had some tasty treats from the hotel (freshest fish and cray dinner).
Friday morning wake to the offshore hair drier winds and 1-2ft. Not ideal, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. Sunblock on and paddle out in to what feels like bath water. Parking at the back line feels surprisingly like you are under a blow torch from the sun and the wind. Suddenly "swoosh"; something pops up next to me like a breaching submarine. Mind races ....shark?! But no, just your friendly 100- 150 kg turtle popping by to say "Hi!" Highlight of the day for sure.
After the surf spent rest of the day exploring the surrounds in the car or hiding in the shade or hotel room under the aircon.
Saturday dawns with more hot winds and swell still a little lack lustre. But its my birthday and there is a rideable wave. Thank heavens for Dennis Ellis and his Vetkoek! Certainly made enjoying these tiny swells a lot more fun. Surfed a dumpy shore break just round from the point till the tide rolled in and could move over to the point.
Surfed the point till my arms were jelly and my mind filled with the endless possibilities of how good this point will be when a decent swell comes marching up the coast. No issue with crowds here, till perhaps the Dubai crew make the great trek.
Another birthday down and surf in the bag. Trudge back to Muscat dodging the odd camel, goat and donkey. Proceed to calculate when is the next long weekend and stare wantingly at Magic Seaweed awaiting the next swell.
Story by Quinton Thrussell. Surf pics courtesy of Alejo Bebedor.
Just goes to show - PE peeps have it in-bred in their DNA to make missions to get waves!
That lil point sure looks like it has potential.
Yewee - waves at last. Wasn't always clean, but for sure there was swell. Enough to rinse off the month long wave drought we've had to endure. Winds were funky, but not funky enough to mess things up. Everyone was stoked to be getting wet again at last.
Unfortunately not too many shots from the weekend as was too busy surfing, and the photags had other missions on. But did grab a few at Avo's at lunch on Saturday. Jono and Alex were ripping.
Looks like the sand fairies have come back to visit as there's plenty of the stuff in all the right spots at last. Even Pier had a few good 'un's on the dead spring low. Hummies was also one of the go-to spots, with guys getting some solid shacks (and a few beatings).
However, you apparently had to do some serious kook dodging whilst barrel hunting. Back in the day, when you were just learning you weren't tolerated at spots like Hummies and Avo's when it was firing. The older ou's sent you packing. Chatting to ex-EP stalwart Vince Barnes in the lineup today and he reckoned Gavin Rudolph and the crew just took one look at you and told you to head straight back to the beach in not so many words.
Makes sense really, cos basically you weren't capable of catching the waves anyway, and were just getting in everyone's way and ended up being a danger both to yourself and others.
Not only was PE getting surf but for a change the WSL comp had some solid waves as well. Margaret River has dealt out it's fair share of beatings and broken boards and we're down to the business end of the comp now. Semi finalists are JJF, Nat, Taj and Adriano. Jay Davies, the wild card, did well to garner a 5th possie. Taking down some big seeds in the process.
Ex-PE local Jaryd Mason, now living in Perth, managed to grab Lakey Peterson for a lekker snap. He's apparently also trying to challenge her to a game of table tennis - which is probably safer than trying to have a surf against her!
Turns out it's not only sharks we gotto be worried about. Crocs are pretty gnarly characters to meet out in the line-up. As a surfer in Colombia found out this week. Lucky he lived to tell the tale - albeit with a few croc's teeth embedded in his leg!
Work continues on the pier, and appears to be running ahead of schedule. Still odd seeing it without it's railings and mast at the end. Wondering if this ou could be dared to fling a 180 and gun it off the end of the pier and see how far he can get that cabbie? Where's Jack-Ass when you need him!?
Stoked that my Hanalai fin which I knocked outta my board during the last decent swell a month ago turned up on the reef. Ronald Marais found it sticking out a hole in the reef whilst he proned back in after a surf last week. Amazing how fins always eventually turn up on the reef. Just gotto be patient.
Here's hoping the flurry of swell we had over the weekend is the first signs of winter arriving? Altho forecasts for this week don't look too exciting....
Next bit of size is May 1st -but that's only a 11-12sec period so chances are it'll downgrade plenty by then. Basically divide the offshore swell size you see on the charts by 50-70% if it's west or SW in direction, as that's what makes it's way into the bay. For east swell - what you see is what you get, no dividing needed.
Yet another week plagued by unseasonal east winds. Anyone with some connections at the weather office, please put a request in for a return to the normal light west conditions of April. At least a coupla waves finally showed up at the end of the week, with a few fun one's on Friday/Saturday.
Water temps were a wee bit chilly out west thanks to the week of east causing some serious upwelling. And the week ended off with a huge fog bank sitting over the Seals/SF area for most of the day on Sunday. So even if there were waves you couldn't see 'em! Probably find some guys scored good waves in total stealth mode.
Local legend Mush Hide was spotted ripping at the Point. Ballie decided he was over rights so turned it into a left instead! Mushie's been ripping since the beginning of time. Check out Len White's shot of him getting shacked off his pip in Durbs circa 1971.
Sad news of another fatal shark attack in Reunion on Sunday. A local grom was attacked just north of St Leu. It does appear to have been an actual attack, not an investigatory bite, as he was bitten multiple times, and had limbs severed off.
Since 2010 there has been 15 attacks, of which 7 have been fatal. The majority of attacks have
occurred on the NW and west side of the island – in close proximity to where the only fish farm on Reunion was located. It closed just over a year ago due to public pressure.
Whilst it is not possible to prove a direct correlation between the presence of the fish farm and the significant rise in human/shark encounters in Reunion over recent years (since the farm was built - and in that area particularly), the possibility exists that it could be a contributing factor.
It must be so hard to be a surfer in an area which such a high shark encounter rate - all you wanna do is go for a surf, but at the same time have to weigh up whether your life is worth the risk. Reckon a wavepool would do well there.
Staying on the subject of sharks, a local fisherman, Gareth Wright, had a close encounter over the weekend. Fishing out at Hougham Park, and was walking back to shore in about knee deep water when he stood on a baby raggie by mistake. The lil dude took exception to that and turned round and gave him a nip on the calf. Just darn lucky it was a baby....cos a bite from mama mighta been worse!
If you check out Nikolaas du Plooy's aerial shot of the inside of Coega harbour below, you can get an idea of just how many of the lil critters are in the area. Yip, ALL those black things you see are sharks. Pretty serious looking raggie nursery. No wonder there's so many of them either side of the harbour.
Must say, there are certain beaches where I start paddling from shin deep water and try to avoid putting my feet down at all costs. Avo's is one (plenty docile raggies there) and Anne's in SF another (biggest raggie in SA was landed there a few years back). Raggies only normally bite if you give em a fright by standing on em, so rather keep those feet off the bottom if you can help it!
One way to stay safe from finned friends is to do some wake surfing instead. JBay's Dylan Lightfoot has been doing plenty of travelling round the country lately, and is now based in CT for a while - where he got a coupla waves in behind the jetboat. He was also snapped at Llandudno by Ian Thurtell doing a kiff wheelie air - not sure if it was shark avoidance or ice-cream headache water avoidance that inspired his take to the sky approach.
Other spots to stay safe from sharks is in the barrel. Josh Enslin doing his best critter-avoidance maneuver out east. Also getting in some practice for the upcoming EP Open trials. The U20’s and Open trials will have their first trial this coming weekend in JBay on Sunday 19th April.
The Masters will have their second trial in Port Alfred on Saturday 18th April. The SA Open Championships and SA Masters will be held at the beginning of August in Richards Bay. It will be run as 2 separate contests.
Plenty of these lil dudes continue to wash up from Seal Point through to Port Alfred. The unseasonal easterlies and big surf wash the loggerhead turtle hatchlings ashore. They're too weak to return to the sea, so please pop them in a container with some sand a bit of water and get em to your nearest sea-life rescue centre. SAMREC, Bayworld and the penguin rehab centre at Seals can all assist.
Might be more than turtles that wash in at Margaret River soon. Might be a few of the WSL surfers! Forecasts show a monster swell approaching for the start of the waiting period, with organizers predicting 12-15ft faces. Pretty sure there are some ou's in the top 36 that suddenly wish they had a sprained ankle or something! The event starts on 15 April. Remember to enter the ML Fantasy Surfer comp - pick your winner and you could score a kiff stash from Billabong.
Some cooking surf went down at Pipe on Wednesday. Was chucking lips like it was the real Pipe. Ah wait. maybe it was! Lil April Fool's prank caught out a few peeps. Hawaiian Pipe photo-shopped onto ours. If only life imitated art. Pity ours is named after an actual pipe and theirs is named after the crystal blue cylinders bombing over a shallow reef. Wonder if the Pipe Crew stickers will help in the line-up over there?
The Billabong SA Grom Games went down at Pipe last week. Conditions were tough, as day 1 was easterly slop, and then once the wind switched offshore there was hardly any surf left. But groms are froth machines, and nothing could dampen their enthusiasm. Congrats to micro-grom Zia Hendricks from Jbay who claimed the u9 girls title. The EP team got a credible 3rd possie.
Coupla waves about over the Easter weekend out west. Easter Sunday in the Kouga region meant no power for the whole day, but luckily that didn't stop the surf. The pomping east on Saturday night created some solid wind swell for Sunday which snuck into the normally protected points.
Rock jumps weren't for sissies - only the brave and determined made it out. Grant lost a fin as he made the leap, but luckily had a backup board so could head out and snag a few bombs. Luckily Sean Payne arrived with the jetski and provided some much need lifts in and outta the line-up.
Dave Lippie seems to be looking before he leaps quite a lot lately. Just recently he had an altercation with a nail on one of the Pipe steps, and then this week a rock at Seals jumped up and bit his foot - and another 8 stitches. Good timing cos it seems we're gonna be subjected to a week and a bit of easterly winds. So those wanting to get wet will either have to do the onshore thing, or think outside the box.
Extended spring cleaning turned up some more old suits. Including my first suit, bought at Oceans in Rink Street way back in the early eighties. Went to choose a Chrissy pressie, which was a spanking new fibreglass Macski bodyboard, complete with glassed in fins and handle on the top deck. Perfect for foamies at Kings beach as a kid. Just don't get hit by it! The suit was a Banzai. And is still in perfect nick today....rubber's 100%, as are all the seals. Don't make stuff like they used to!
The other suit was a Frontline. My 2nd suit, bought 10 years later when I started to surf. Surf shop in the Bridge opposite the Ster Kinekor. Also a great suit. Lasted forever. They were Saffa made, apparently by a dude in East London - can anyone shed more light on the brand?? They were awesome suits.
Small swells mean having to drive a few extra km's to find your glide. Sometimes it comes with unexpected perks, like finding lighthouses growing under your arm. Here's Taz Wright dealing with the inconvenience with style.
Not only do they make rad socks, it seems like the ou's at Stance have a solid sense of humour too. They've posted Jules some of their funky footwear. Pretty sure he'll wear them too!
An old shot of the Baakens turned up - the factory is where the Boardroom is today. Just don't think they were making surfboards back then. Pity, cos pretty sure there must have been some awesome set-up's back then thanks to the massive dune field which emptied into the bay from Rincon down to the top of Kings.
Perspective is everything. Drone shots can make any spot look lekker. Like this aerial pic of the Grom Games at Pipe by Brad Grobler. Hides the fact that the surf is knee-high to an ant!
Sometimes you eat too many easter eggs, so in order to make space for more it helps if you stand on your head. Like this ou at Seals over the weekend. Pretty fine balance to get that right. Respect.