Finally the swell gods smiled upon us again. After a 3 week dry spell in the bay a few fun waves made there way round Cape Recife. Friday was the pick of the week. Sheet glass most of the day and super fun lil runners around. Jbay delivered well overhead walls.
Beautiful weather the whole week gave things a summer feel in mid-winter. The usual array of amazing sunrises and fiery sunsets as well. Eish, we have such a rad lil town.
Tuesday evenings sunset was particularly spectacular. Even more so when viewed from the line-up. Hard to beat surfing down the line into a setting sun that makes the wave a kaleidoscope of fiery reds and burnt oranges.
Big fat high pressure sitting over the interior which is giving us all the kiff weather and light winds. Gonna keep giving us light northerlies for a coupla days yet. Remember school geography? Air moves from a high towards a low pressure....so the winds gonna be blowing from the high inland towards the low pressures down south.
And giving us some more days like these.....
The NSRI has been issuing a few shark warnings lately due to an increase in sightings along the coast from Mossel Bay to Plett - just part of the normal migration this time of year - but better safe than sorry. This ou was taking them seriously though - anti-shark wettie and board. He was missing the Island Style Sea Snake leash though which woulda made him totally eat-proof. Wondering if the wettie comes with a money-back guarantee if you get nibbled??
The balmy weather made it perfect conditions to hit the skate park as well. Best way to get your glide on if there's no waves. Lightie CJ Posthumus not afraid to give it some air.
Stoked with awesome paintings by JBay artist Stephen van der Watt (aka Stevo). Bought the first one a while back and loved it so much ordered a second, which arrived this week. Now just gotto bust out the hammer and nails and pop em up on the wall. If you're looking for some lekker surf art to brighten your possie then pop past the Core Surf shop in Jbay to check out Stevo's gallery.
Not only us getting waves this week - Indo fired. Well, it fires most of the time. But just fired more than normal.
No-one can encapsulate PE in writing quite like ex-local Hagen Engler. His new book "In the Maid's Room" is out soon, so asked him for a head's up as to what it's about:
"In The Maid’s Room is a scruffy, hilarious shambles of an episodic novel set in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, that trendsetting bellwether of national change. It’s about the surfer, stoner culture of the Bay, but also the slow ignominious death of white entitlement. There’s also lank pomping."
Yip - it's gonna be epic!
4 more surfers have been added to the JBU Supertrial presented by RVCA - and 3 of them are East Cape homies. Shot to PE's Dylan Stone, JBay's Remi Petersen and CSF's Simon Fish, who join Dan Redman in making up the final trialists. Big up's to JBU/RVCA for bringing these bro's on board. More here...
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em goes the saying. Or in this case, buy 'em. WSL has bought a stake in Kelly Slater's Wave Company. Guessing there's a CT event in Idaho coming up?
A crew from Jbay got skunked on a recent trip to Indo. The Secret Sumatra Surf Camp had looked like all the bell's n whistles on the website, but ended up being a bust in reality. Nutso owners, dodgy accom, kak surf guiding etc etc. Everything that goes into making a surf trip from hell. Don't go there.
(at least the ou's got a few waves though.....)
The NSRI and the army spent most of Saturday morning buzzing about Hobie beach area doing some practice drills. Always wonder why they choose the most perfect weather to practice in though, as invariably rescues happen during gnarly conditions......
Did I mention the sunsets were pretty rad all week??
Strike three and you're out. So says baseball. And so say the swell gods to us as the punishment continued for that good run of swell a while ago. Yet another lacklustre week in the bay as far as waves went - the 3rd in a row, although things did kick up a few notches on Friday.
Calm conditions saw heavy mist on Tuesday morning, which always begs the question: is it 6ft and cooking out there in the whiteness? Probably not, but optimism is the lifeline of every PE surfer. Would be pretty fun to actually surf in those conditions one day, if ever the stars did align and we had mist and swell coincide.
As usual up the coast delivered some fun days if you made the trek. The further west you traveled the better surf you got. Swell quality and the size of your petrocard seems to be directly proportional.
Pretty big cold front pulled through on late on Wednesday, and those that had got in the water for a paddle about in the glassy lumpy onshore surf were stoked when it blasted through late arvo and went offshore. Humewood had some good 'uns. The groundswell arrived overnight on Thursday to deliver some decent sets on Friday before the wind went onshore.
An optimist is someone who always sees the bright side of any situation — a trait that can be either encouraging or annoying, depending on your frame of mind. Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Well, this dude deserved the Optimist of the Day award for sure. The wind was howling, there was tons of chop, the water was chilly and brown, with probably a viz of 6 inches....and he went out for a snorkel!
Still plenty of sealife about during the week. The big pods of dolphins continue to cruise past on a regular basis. Still lots of bait fish about close inshore, so the mobile McDonalds drive (swim) thru continues.
The dead whale is still vrotting away down the beach at Kabeljous. Be careful if you decide to go take a look, cos it's releasing some pretty gnarly gases during composition, and besides smelling kak, can actually make you sick. So don't hang about there too long. Another reason not to lurk about is that apparently dead whales can explode - due to the build up of gases in their stomachs. That would not be a lekker experience to get covered in rotten whale....
October. November. December. January. February. March. And now April. The 7th month in a row that has broken highest global temp record for that month since weather records started getting kept - about 100 years ago. El Nino certainly has delivered in terms of some crazy temperatures. Can't imagine it's going to be doing good things to the coral reefs - as higher sea temps can kill of the lil critters, causing coral bleaching. Eish.
Pumpkin shells on steroids! Paul Hosten found it out at Schoenies. The one's we normally get along our shores are the guys on the right - a Cape Urchin Parechinus Angulosus. The monster one on the left is called a Short Spined Urchin Tripneustes Angulosus. Only about 4 of them have been spotted in the last 20 years at Schoenies so it is not that common in the area. Just as well we don't get many of these guys - cos imagine they would not be fun to stand on whilst in urchin stage!
The Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders (NMBS) were pipped into 2nd spot at the SA Masters Champs at Seals buy a coupla hundred points by Border - I mean Buffalo City. Alan Byram won the over 60 division and is SA Champ. You can check out the wrap, results and shots from the event here:
There are certain things that grant one immediate kook status. One of those has to be sticking your board in the sunroof, and further compounding matters by having the wax facing upward. In it to win it? Maybe not - but at least you'll be assured of a lekker waxy back seat later. Admit it - we've all left a board in the car before and learnt how quickly wax melts....
You're standing on the beach and just spotted a fin cruising near to the line-up. How do you get the attention of the ou's in the water to give them a head's up to get their leg's up? Screaming like a banshee doesn't always work cos if the surf's biggish or the guys are sitting far out, they aren't gonna hear you no matter how loud you holler.
Waving your arms about like a spastic chicken just conveys there's an issue, but isn't necessarily interpreted as being a shark warning. You could be yelling at your grom to come in, or to tell some guy his cabbie has just been broken in to, or a whole host of other things.
Take this weekend for example. CarPark John and a few others were trading peaks on the wildside, and a crew walked down the beach after having surfed another spot further up and started waving wildy at them. John and the ou's reckoned they were just trying to tell them that the peak they'd surfed was better - and that they should move down there.
Nup. Turns out that whilst Merv was on a wave at the other peak he got dropped in on by a finned local, and after a stare down Merv decided to give the wave to him and call it quits and go home.
They finally did get the message across about the friendly fin in the area to John's crew, but it took a bit of time getting lost in translation.
So how do you specifically indicate "SHARK" to those in the line-up?
The dive sign for shark is to put your hand vertically on your forehead to resemble a fin. Which works fine when you diving and the ou you signalling to is a few metres away. But there's no ways you'll spot something like that from the line-up over 100m away.
Reckon the best bet would be to raise your board over your head and wave it about like the guys in the shot above at Ballina beach in Aus, a super sharky spot. At least anyone who's read this will know immediately what it means then if they see waving boards!
If you don't have a board? How about making a triangle shape using your arms to try mimic a fin? Also likely to get lost in translation.
Any better idea's out there?
The punishment for that good run of swell continues into it's second week. The bay was pretty dismal, although a few bucks worth of petrol woulda seen you getting wet in some fun stuff round the corner. Charts still looking rather dire for the coming week, although next Monday might see a reprieve for the bay.
For what we've been lacking in waves, the sunrises have more than made up for it. And some lekker calm weather as well. Although most peeps would happily swap it for some cold fronts and waves!
'Some really big pods of dolphins have been hanging around all week, likely due to the shoals of lil feeshies close in shore. They've been cruising the beachfront on most days, in no great rush to move on. Loads of them out in SF as well. Saw them do some blatant drop-in's on two ou's out at Anne's over the weekend.
It's actually kinda daunting having them surround you when a waves coming, cos as they're surfing the wave towards you, you have to try work out how to duck dive between em so you don't collect a dolphin headache.
Plenty of other sealife active at the moment as well. Big whale carcass washed up a few k's down from Kabeljous, with plenty of finned friends lurking close by in the hope of grabbing a quick feed. Heads up and legs up.
The ballies are starting to hit froth-mode with the Master's SA Champs coming up at Seals this week. An absolute A-list of entrants for this year's comp, so the standard of surfing will be sky-high. Just hope a bit of swell pops up so the guys get the odd decent wave and don't have to grovel in the shorey.
Nelson Mandela Bay Surfing (NMBS - the ex EP) are hosting the event, and are doing some fund-raising by raffling off a Dennis Ellis Boardroom surfboard to the value of R4000. If you'd like a shot at winning a brand-new stick, then go grab a R20 ticket from Surf Centre, the Boardroom or Streetcred Chef. Draw is on Saturday at SA Champs
In the absence of waves, surf photag Luc Hosten has had to get a bit creative. Here he does a great job of turning some wind-blown sand into a New York cityscape.
There's a new surf factory out in SF aptly called St Francis Surf, new home to shapers Greg Smith, Eric Stedmann and Isaiah boards. Pull in for a new stick.
Another big fin spotted at Ballina in Aus this week - they've had their fair share of attacks in the past year. Bunch of ou's on the beach trying to tell their mates that there's a big local in the line-up. Wonder what the universally accepted sign is for seeing a shark? No good just yelling cos often with the noise of the shore pound your yells won't carry to the line-up. I guess just flailing your arms about like mad and waving your boards about has to be the way to go?
Whilst we go through the surf doldrums in the bay, one of my fave waves in Indo was pumping all week. Life ain't fair....
Hangover week for sure. After a run of really good surf the whole of the previous week, this week was a bust instead of gangbuster. Sure, there were waves about if you took a drive, but as far as the bay went it was rather dismal. Unless you dig onshores, then you were smiling.
Monday offered up a few dribs and drabs, but as the week wore on the surf dropped and the winds grew increasingly iffy. Not a bad thing though, it meant ou's got some work done, lighties went to school, peeps attended the odd lecture. Productivity levels inversely proportional to surf. This week productivity won.
The periodic rain squalls meant the opportunity for rainbows. The Greeks and Romans thought a rainbow was the path made by Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, between heaven and earth, linking gods with humans. The iris of the eye is named after her, because of its colour. “Rainbow” in Latin is arcus iris or arcus pluvius, a “rainy arch”.
A rainbow doesn’t actually exist. Optically speaking, it is just a distorted “virtual image” of the sun. Each raindrop acts as a tiny, imperfect mirror.The light is refracted or “bent” slightly as it passes from the air into the water; and again as it bounces back into the air again. Each raindrop acts as both prism (refraction) and mirror (reflection).
Moving from pretty rainbows to ugly mugs. Duncan Scott - EP's new SA Longboard Champ in the Grand Masters division got a kiss from his board during the comp. Rail vs lip is always gonna end in lip coming second....
Unfortunately some red tide has been seen lurking around Table Bay again. Big red patches were visible suring the calm spell in the early parts of the week. Maybe there's something about red critters that make them persistent.... the EFF refuses to go away and so does the red tide.
Some really flat days midweek meant the rockpools became more interesting than the surf. Gideon Brunsden snapped this cool shot of a lil starfish at Pollock. If you're really bored one day when you find one, sit down and check him out for a while...cos you might catch him eating something, which turns out to be a rather neat undertaking. They have tiny suction cups to hold their food, and then their stomach comes outta their mouth to chow the food, and then reenters the body when they’re done eating.
Reduce, reuse, recycle is the manta we should all be living by. An Oregon surfer decided a novel use for his old board was to convert it into an outdoor shower. Gotto say the board doesn't look too buggered though, and might have been more useful staying as a surfboard instead of a shower?
Whilst we had a quiet week, the west coast of the states is still getting plenty of El Nino swell. The Wedge in Newport's been macking. Bit like Fence on steroids.
The weekend saw some pear-shaped weather. Pomping east meant plenty of growly onshore mushburgers about if they're your thing. They ain't mine. Winds fairly light and variable this week, so there should be something to surf if you wanna get wet.
What a week! Waves, glorious waves. If for some cruel twist of fate you weren't near the coast this past week, stop reading now, else you're likely to try something with a blunt knife. It really was that good. Waves every single day for an entire week. Ou's were surfed out by the end of it. Reports of only 8 guys in the water at Supers, a handful at Point. Solo sessions in the bay.
Didn't even have to drive west this week for surf, the bay dished up some decent waves on most days. Apparently Dane Cox takes the win for a behind the rock take-off at Avo's that went awry and ended in a proper thrashing. Warri Canepa reckons he's never seen a guy take such a beating and come up laughing before.
Obviously if you did drive west things were even better.
And if you drove to the end of the road they weren't too shabby either...
And if you kept driving west, well, it was a helluva lot bigger still. You know when Hout Bay gets full of foam lines that Dungeons is pretty serious.
After you've gone as far west as you can, then you turn north up the West Coast, to the now famous grinding left sand spit. That was pretty freaking good too.....
The thing about big swells that smash our coastline is that you can chase em across the Indian Ocean if you want to. Maldives lights up with what we get a few days later - and light up it did.
Always lekker to get dropped in on by a dingy. Thankfully it was a happy ending with the ou managing to avoid landing on the dude's head, but apparently it was a bit close for comfort. Sometimes the dingy dudes aren;t all that familiar with waves/lineups etc and can end up in the wrong spot at the wrong time cos some lazy guest doesn't wanna paddle the extra 10m into the lineup and wants to get dropped right on the spot.
A bit closer to home but also starting with an M. Yip, that was firing too. Such a pity that flights there cost more than getting to Indo, else reckon there'd be plenty Saffa's doing the swell chase there.
It takes about 8-10 days for a swell from here to hit Indo, so technically this shot is actually from our swell the previous week not last week, but either way, Ulu's was going gang-buster. Triple overhead screamers keeping the line-up pretty empty.
The huge surf wreaked havoc at the SA Longboard Champs at Mossel Bay, breaking over 17 boards during the course of the week. Shapers are smiling for sure.
EP (now known as NMBS) got second possie, just getting pipped by WP. We got a bunch of SA titles though, including Steve Sawyer winning the Open Mens. Check out all the results and shots here.
The big surf saw a wayward whale shark wash up at Cannon Rocks. Thankfully the locals were able to get it back out to sea after it beached itself.
The big surf also looked like it jumbled up ou's brains. Cos you gotto be not quiet right in the pip to transport your board like this. Most peeps recognised the board as Emma Smith's, but luckily she doesn't get the Kook of the Day award, as although is was her board she's sold it. Maybe when you sell a board you should also explain how to transport it?
Besides great surf, the week was also full of kiff sunrises and sunsets. So yah, if you missed this week. Be miserable.
Nothing beats escaping the summer holiday doldrums in PE and heading to the tropics to find some surf! Chris and Shane Pyke, and Damon Edwards, did just that. Shane takes us through their trip:
"What a trip! Everything from pumping surf to onshore days, a severe case of bali belly, and all of us getting flu for a few days. But what an experience! We went to Macaronis Resort in the Mentawaii's. starting our trip on Christmas morning and only arrived at Macca's 3 nights later.
The trip there consisted of a 1hr30 flight to JHB, a 4 hour layover there, then a 9 hr flight to Doha, with another 4 hour layover. Onto the plane for a 9 hour flight to Jakarta (which we thought was 5 hours but forgot to account for the time difference! only figured it out on the plane). A hop over to Padang (1h30hrs), then finally onto the overnight ferry out to the Mentawaii's. Travelling is not for sissies!
Once we landed in Jakarta it was just after Midnight, and we checked into a hotel. But without thinking I had brushed my teeth on the plane before landing and ended up sleeping like this most of the morning on the bathroom floor...welcome to Bali Belly!
Needless to say I was not looking forward to that overnight ferry!
On the ferry we got some chicken curry, some other unidentifiable dish and rice served in plastic packets on a palm leaf. Still not sure if that was super cool or super unappetizing!
After the overnight ferry we had to catch a lil speedboat to the resort, it was a beautiful day when we arrived, glassy and sunny conditions. Could not have been a more perfect way to be introduced to Indonesia,
The first two days we had cooking waves and incredible weather! The resort was amazing.
And the surf was great!
Unfortunately after these 2 days we all got flu! I hadn't even got to surf at this point and we were bed ridden for about 5/6 days. By the time we started moving around, the storms hit and strong onshore winds followed.
After about the 5th day of constant rain we weren't happy campers, haha. A photo says 1000 words.....
But what we all figured out is that onshore on a reef is still pretty good! But also quite intimidating.
There was a fun lil beachie across the channel from the resort which was so much fun on some SUPS and Longboards.
They had these cool surfboard racks around the resort, and of course they were always full.
We met some pretty cool people along the way
But after it was all over, not too sure what was worse for everyone, the idea of leaving......or the idea of leaving on that overnight ferry!
We weren't so lucky with all of us getting sick, having lotsa onshore wind and of course the horrid weather...... but it was a trip none of us will forget. "
(Head's up to anyone headed to the Ment's - quickest travel routing is JNB - SIN (8hrs), then hop on a fast ferry across to Batam (1hr) and then 30min to the airport in Batam by taxi, and hop a plane straight from there to Padang (45min). Chop chop! Annoyingly no direct flight from SIN to PDG so you have to route via Jakarta if wanting to fly from SIN, which usually entails going through customs etc with luggage in Jakarta before catching connecting flight. This can entail swopping terminals, which is no fun trying to squeeze huge boardbags onto the lil transit bus and everyone glaring at you!
You can also fly to Kuala Lumpur, and then from there straight to Padang. But. You arrive at the international airport in KL and then have to transit 25min away to the Low Cost airport for your PDG flight. Can't use local bus with boards so must hire a cab. Low cost airport is pretty hectic with queues at times. Plus on way back you annoyingly have to pass through customs at the low cost airport - which can take a few hours if busy - and then taxi across back to the international airport for the flight home.)