Winter is well and truly here - and with it some icy weather and equally icy water. Ocean temps last week hovered around 14C, which by PE standards is full-on polar bear stuff. So how to survive the chill? Here's a few handy hints to keep you from shivering to death in the surf.
Start warm! Crank up that heater in the cabbie, have ya beanie on. No good hoping to stay warm in the surf if you ain't even warm in ya car. This is not the time to be a CarPark John wannabe and stand on the boardwalk for half and hour trying to decide whether or not to get in. Longer you stand shivering out there the less likely you are to get in. Commit.
Start dry! Have a dry suit. Nothing sucks more than having to yank on a wet wettie. If you only own one suit and you surfed the day before, no problemo - here's how you get it dry for tomorrow's surf. Rinse it out when you get home and hang it up. Best bet is to hang it on a plastic hanger folded in the middle - this means it dries quicker cos the top half is draining out the wrists and the bottom half at the ankles. Versus the whole thing having to drain down through the ankles. Lekker logical like.
This also saves the wetsuit shoulders - cos when it's wet, it's heavy - and if you just stick the hanger into the shoulders it's gonna wear through them real quick. Ever wondered why your wettie wears thin there? Now you know!
After about 20 min's go give the arms and legs a squeeze - starting at the thighs and working down towards the ankles, and shoulders down to wrists. Do it again 20 min later. By getting all the excess water out of the suit it allows it to dry soooo much quicker. Try leave it somewhere well ventilated cos that'll aid evaporation of the remaining water. You can even grab your fan and aim it at your suit for a while - guaranteed dryness.
No chance it's gonna dry whilst scrunched up in the back of your boot overnight. So don't do that to yourself!
K, so you're off to a good start - you're warm, and you have a (semi) dry suit. Now what? Helps to keep as warm as you can whilst you change. Using a changing mat keeps your feet warm - reducing heat loss through your toetsies is a must, and a changing robe or poncho helps cut down the wind chill factor to the bod (and stops you flashing your butt to granny in the car next door).
You can buy those funky artificial grass changing mats - Island Style make em, or just buy an el cheapo doormat. Changing poncho's you can grab from your nearest surf shop. Let the force be with you Jedi Knight.
Have the right gear - invest in a decent suit for winter - 4/3 will be enough for the coldest days at JBay - as long as it's decent quality, preferably with liquid seam seals, and lekker furry stuff inside on the chest, and that slickskin rubber outside on the chest and lumbar panels - this is way more effective than normal neoprene at keeping the wind chill factor at bay. If you can bend yourself like a koeksister then zipperless suits are the way forward.
Be like a chick and accessorize darling! Hoodies, booties, gloves if you have too. Keeping the extremities toasty goes a long way to maximizing water time. Plenty of truth to the old wives saying that you lose most of your head through your head. Most effective hoodies are the hooded vests. You get double bang for your buck cos the vest is generally lined with nice furry stuff, which adds another layer of warmth, and then get the one's that have the extra lil neck flap that fits over your wettie neck - that way you get zero flush through your suit when you duckdive or wipeout. Makes a massive difference to keep that water out.
Make the effort to try on a few different types, cos some can feel a bit claustrophobic, others have the face string thingy's in annoying places.
Keeping your feet warm helps loads too. Booties can stop your feet turning into 2 lil stumps. Make sure they fit tight. When you try em on in the shop they should be a bitch to get on. Too easy to get on in the shop means gonna be too big when they wet. Water sloshing around in your bootie ain't the way to go.
Cold hands post session can make getting them off quite a challenge, so hook one of those plastic shoe horns. Get em from the shoe repair places in the shopping malls. Else you gonna stand there struggling to get em off cos your fingers refuse to co-operate.
Now you're all geared up and ready to hit the icy water. Get out there and keep moving. Keep busy - paddle about hunting waves, cos sitting there chilling is gonna get you chillo's real quick. Once you start getting the shivers you're a goner. That's the signal to head back in, and go grab a warm coffee.
Remember to hang the wettie up and do the quick dry trick so you good to go again the next day! Roll on summer!
Cold, rainy and surf. No problem. Cold, rainy and flat. We all bitch like mad. There was the odd lil lump about if you went looking, with the weekend throwing up the best of the surf. Friday and Saturday were pretty damn chillo's in the water. If you had the full 4/3, booties and hoodie set-up you were fine. If you didn't, you froze your ass off.
John gooi'd the pool thermometer in at Denvils on Friday and it was 14C. Reckon Saturday mighta even been a smidgen colder. Gotto say we pretty spoilt with comfy sea temps most of the time. No idea how the northern hemi guys do it on a regular basis. Guess we just wimps....
Flat as we've been, the Pacific has been spewing some XXL sized surf at Chopes recently. Plenty of ou's getting absolutely pasted. No idea how you pop up alive after having 3 story's of ocean fall on your head and drag you across the reef?
Guessing the WSL guys are stoked they're not there right now. Nowhere to hide when it's a 2 man heat. You gotto go, else all the armchair critics have a field day. Reckon I'd be too scared to even sit on a boat in the channel.
Note that SAMREC at Cape Recife are always keen for volunteers. So if you have a spare hour here or there during the week, they'd be stoked to have you come round and help out. Apparently feeding the tuxedo critters is harder than you'd think!
Ian McLeod has taken his waveski business over to Cali, and spotted the Boardroom's clone down on the beachfront. Maybe Deno must start serving a brew with a board?
Sometimes shortcuts aren't always the fastest. Like this Orca found out when he tried a lil rock hop in Canada last week. Luckily he got rescued and was reunited with his pod, no doubt the first thing his mate tuned him was "...told you so...."
Long range charts aren't must to enthuse over, a few blips in the swell this week - specially at the end of the month, but after that it goes quiet again for a while. Eish - anyone keen to build us a wave pool?
I have no idea to be honest. It's bugged me for ages that I can't seem to pin down who my front yard is named after. Obviously it was a Mr Miller. Doesn't take rocket science to work that one out. But who was he, and why did he get it named after him. More questions than answers.
Google wasn't much help, so headed off to the various libraries in town. Gotto say the Main Library is a pretty rad old building, and even got to visit the basement in search of old Admiralty maps to see if it was marked off on those. Nup, no such luck. Although Bird Rock was already named back then. And Avo's was called Fishery Point. A few hours scouring the old PE history books didn't shed any further light on matters, although it did at least raise a coupla contenders for naming rights.
But let's dip into a bit of the area's history first. The beachfront at Millers was originally part of a huge farm called Strandfontein (which later became the Summerstrand). It belonged to Piet Retief from 1814 to 1821. He then left PE to became a Voortrekker leader, and was killed in 1837 by Zulu king Dingane during negotiations about land. The memorial on the grass in front of Summerstrand Village shopping centre is dedicated to him.
Strandfontein comprised of the land from the Shark River (Humewood Beach) to where Humewood Golf Course is today. The homestead was situated where the Beach Hotel now is.
In 1821 Frederick Gordon was granted a piece of land next to the farm Strandfontein for a whale fishery. The small cove was said to provide safe landing for boats - and is most probably where Avalanche is today. Likely that there were no rocks on the beach in those days due to the huge driftsands emptying into the sea along that whole stretch of coast.
Members of the whaling team included a famed Portuguese harpooner and a West Indian boat captain. The whale fishery ended up becoming a fish salting factory until they all got engulfed by the driftsands by around 1909.
His whaling industry alone was bringing him in over four thousand pounds per year besides the lease of Saint Croix and Bird Island which produced in one season over 14,000 seal skins. No less than 152 whales were killed in Algoa Bay between 1819 and 1841.
These fisheries were very successful, but declined, owing in later years due to the large number of foreign
whalers on the coast, who apparently used to intercept the whales on their way to calve in the bays. No less than 60 to 100 vessels, principally American, are said to have been fishing off the South African coasts at one time.
Summed up perfectly by one dude who said :"The whale fishery is a lottery, in which there are now too many tickets for the number of prizes."
Found some classic descriptions of the whale fishing industry back in the day in some old books in the library:
"We had the good fortune to see a fine fish killed, which was done thus. As soon as it was observed in the bay, three boats set off from the fishery, having 4 oars and 6 men in each. That which carried the harpooner led the way. No sooner was the fish struck then he made a desperate plunge towards the bottom, carrying the harpoon with him. But soon, returning to the surface he dragged the boat along with the greatest velocity, until being exhausted he once more permitted them to approach, where they dispatched him with spears and then towed him ashore."
In 1828 Retief sold a section of the farm, called Gomery (now the suburb Humewood), to a WB Frames. In 1851 Frames started a woolwashery at the Shark River (which runs out to the sea at Humewood). In 1864 he then dammed up the river and became the first water supply to PE.
Ok, so history aside, how did Millers get it's name? Best place to start seemed to be to find some famous Miller's in PE that somehow might have ended up with it getting named after them.
A dude called John Miller came out to PE with the 1820 settlers, and became mayor from 1868 to 1879. Besides being the mayor he also was responsible for opening a number of churches in town, notably the Hill Presbyterian and St Augustines. So he was a well known Miller - but still no connection with why he would give his name to a stretch of beach.
Roll forward a few decades, and along comes Allister Miller, the pioneer of civil aviation in South Africa. In November 1917 he landed the first plane in Port Elizabeth, at the PE Golf Course of all places. No airports back then! The whole town showed up to watch and there were so many ou's lining the 17th fairway that he ended up having to crash the plane into the bunker so as to avoid running into them. Planes in those days didn't have brakes! Luckily all that bust was the propeller - which still resides as a memento in the Golf Club to this day.
Miller was a member of the Royal Flying Corps, and fought in the skies over the Western Front in France and Belgium. He'd returned to SA on a recruiting drive for the RFC, and recruited more than 8,000 volunteers, of whom 2,000 were accepted, most of them as pilots. They were known collectively as "Miller's Boys".
In 1929, Miller founded Union Airways, as the country's first commercial mail and passenger carrier. It amalgamated with South West African Airways in 1932, and was taken over by the government in 1934 and renamed South African Airways. The main road leading to the PE airport is named after him.
So yah - he's a pretty famous PE Miller. But is he the Miller that Miller's is named after? Maybe the point was used as a landmark when planes flew in to land, hence being named Millers? Who Knows?
Maybe there was an old sawmill there back in the day? Hence Miller's Point?
If anyone can shed any light on how Miller's got it's name that'd be great!
A cutting from EP Herald of the flight:
"The whole of the city had arranged to suspend activities from 10.30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in order to afford everybody the opportunity to witness the arrival, it being expected that the plane would circle around the city before landing on the golf links. A large crowd had gathered from an early hour, some had come in from the outer districts, such was the excitement and novelty of the occasion; many of these people had never seen an aero plane before.
The occasion - the first long distance flight in South Africa - would have been dramatic in any event but the unexpected climax lent additional force to it. Major Miller left Cape Town at 6.30 a.m. accompanied by Sergt. Mechanician Way, in fine weather, the flight took 5 hours and 22.5 minutes. This was of-course the fastest time ever up to that date.
Every vantage point in and about the city was thronged with eager people. The Donkin Reserve was crowded as with the Market Square and also the roofs of most of the buildings in the city. Unfortunately these latter spectators saw very little of the aeroplane. Many failed to see it at all particularly those on Market Square. It having been expected that it would circle overhead before landing.
The plane circled twice dropping in altitude all the time until at a couple of hundred feet a white message bag with streamers in the colours of the R.F.C. was dropped to the waiting crowd.
He "volplaned" down to the fairway of the eighteenth hole, dashed towards the green crashed into the bunker and buried the nose of the 'plane into the turf it remained balanced on its nose (planes of those days did not have brakes). If he had swerved he would have gone into the crowd. Ready hands assisted both the pilot and mechanic out, unharmed, wild excitement gripped the crowd. The propeller was in splinters, undercarriage twisted, a wheel totally wrecked and damage was caused to a wing. Later he said that he should have touched down further back as the breeze at ground level was very slight."
Part of my research involved buying an amazing book on PE's history. It's simply called "Port Elizabeth" (written by Margaret Harradine) and can be bought at no7 Castle Hill museum, which is near the Donkin. It gives a short summary of the most important happenings in each year, from 1820 through to 1945, and is an absolutely fascinating (and easy) read, plus has some cool old pics. Cool coffee table book to have.
Replace "S" with "P" and you get "PHARK!" Which pretty much sums up what went down in the finals of the JBay Open. Mick Fanning had a close encounter that no doubt he'll care never to repeat. Sitting out there wondering when a wave was gonna come and next thing a big-ass fin pops up next to him and the shark gets tangled in his leash, severing it. Being the good Aussie he is, Mick got a punch in, before being rescued by the water-patrol. Credit to Julian Wilson who when he saw the fracas started paddling straight over to Mick to see if he could help.
And with that, ended the 2015 JBay Open. WSL commissioner made a wise decision to call it quits, and both Mick and Julian got awarded second place points. Think sales of the shark pods are gonna be high this week???
Thankfully the final day delivered some waves, and there was some great surfing going down before a finned friend popped in to visit. Props to the event organizers Koffie Jacobs and his crew. Despite there being nothing much they could do about the surf (and the shark) they got everything else 100% spot on. Nice one ou's!
Besides, even on the "flat" days there were still some super-fun peaks about if you didn't mind putting a bit of fuel in the tank.
Even if the waves didn't quite co-operate, everyone still had a jol at the event. PA local Kye mcGregor (aka the Gremlin) will soon be seen ripping on the back-half of Glenn Micro Hall's board - after he kindly donated it to the stoked grom.
Some ou's timed their vacations perfectly. Gavin Rother bailed for a cultural tour of Europe, and hardly missed a wave at his local, and fellow Millers local Kemble Whitfield pulled the trigger on a trip to Nias. And scored. Big-time. Watch out for his trip report coming up this week.
The frikking cold conditions persisted this week. Besides making it feel like your feet were about to freeze off, it also gave rise to a cool phenomenon called a sun halo. Basically a trippy lil the "aliens are coming" ring around the sun thanks to how the UV light is reflected by the ice crystals in the cirrus clouds.
Our aussie mate and surf guide had a gnarly experience last week. He was scoring a cranking remote Western Aus left point, when he pulled into a big barrel which pinched shut on him. Didn't hit the reef, but the shear impact of the lip detonating on his shoulder fractured his shoulder blade in 12 places and dislocated his arm.
Paddling back in and climbing over the rocks with one vrot arm was no fun, nor was the 1-armed 4 hour drive back to civilisation over bumpy dirt tracks to find someone to put it back in! Eina!
Kelly Slater's new brand Outerknown finally launched last week. Ou's picking up plenty of stick about the pricing, with $95 for a beanie being pretty steep in anyone's books! But kudos to him for sticking to his guns with wanting to develop a sustainable clothing brand. Although am still not sure how you get to R1180 for a beanie. Maybe you knit it from wool you just pulling off the sheep as he's standing there chowing his grass?
Definitive proof that municipal councillors are seriously outta touch with what goes on in their communities. The St Francis lot decided that the most appropriate description for the sign showing the way down to Bruce's would be to call it Granny's Pool, which of course we all know is far more famous than Bruce's. Ou's come from all over the world to surf Granny's Pool. Or not.
The new wavepool in the UK has it's first round of testing this week. Not quite hitting the 2m swells that they reckon are possible, but must be a huge sigh of relief that the thing actually works as planned. Even with a fairly hefty entry fee of 45 quid of an hour or 80 quid for 2 hours, the Brits are frothing at the prospect of waves on demand. I would be too.
One of PE's surf legends turned 70 this week. John Macleod is an example to us all, still surfing regularly and frothing like a grom. And how best to celebrate your birthday? Grab a sesh with your sons!
Nanaga might soon be famous for more than it's pies. An application has been made by Aberdeen Offshore Engineering Pty Ltd to drill for oil just a coupla kay’s inland of Woody Cape Nature Reserve’s coastline. If you'd like to comment or keep updated as to development, then click the link to find out more, and to register as an Interested & Affected Party.
When the bay finally gets some waves, make sure you ain't so amped to get to the beach you forget to mind the speed limit. Look out for this new lil critter at the end of the freeway just waiting to snap a shot of your surf-froth speeding and send you a fine.
Ever wanted a see through surfboard? Well, thanks to the Campbell Brothers your dream has come true. Check out those kiff coral heads as you skim over them, or have a clear view of everything swimming underneath you whilst you sit out in the line-up. Ya well no fine.
Man, these things are cute. Check out this lil crew of otters having a blast in the shorey, and even bodysurfing a coupla lil foamies. Proof that waves are just fun, whatever you are.
Nanaga might soon be famous for more than its pies. An application has been made by Aberdeen Offshore Engineering Pty Ltd (AOE) to drill for oil just a coupla kay’s off Woody Cape Nature Reserve’s coastline.
If the application is approved, it could be the start of a 20 yr project to drill for, and produce oil. The initial plan is for a single well covering a 2ha area (located only 1km from the boundary to the Woody Cape Reserve); but another 4 wells could be drilled in other parts of the 4 832ha site (not part of this application process).
The Algoa Basin has long been identified as an area with the potential for economically viable onshore hydrocarbon deposits and has previously been explored with proved indications of oil-bearing sediments. Oil production has been estimated at approximately 400 – 500 barrels per day.
Apparently the proposed project will not involve fracking, and that only conventional methods will be used in production.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is currently being undertaken, to allow interested and affected parties the opportunity to voice any concerns, or submit comments.
Issues which could be of concern include the location of the oil well in close proximity to sensitive ecosystems.
There are a number of protected areas within the surrounding area and immediately adjacent to the application area. These include the Woody Cape Nature Reserve along the southern boundary of the site, Conga’s Kraal Nature Reserve just to the east and the main protected area to the north-west of the site, the Addo Elephant National Park. All of these protected areas are now integrated into the Greater Addo Elephant National Park.
The application area of the Algoa Production project falls partly within an area prioritised for future inclusion in the Addo Elephant National Park expansion programme. The initial proposed production is located 1 km from the boundary of the Woody Cape Nature Reserve.
Other issues which may occur as a consequence of the project could be surface and ground water contamination, air pollution and hazardous waste generation.
You can find a detailed report about the proposed project online here:
If you’d like to register as an I&AP, please email Caryn Clarke on email@example.com
Please note that only registered I&AP’s will be notified of further opportunities to participate in this Scoping and EIA process.
Eish, another slow week wave wise. Your best shot at a barrel was doing some tarp-surfing in the car park. The JBay Open kicked off, sort of. Round 1 could have had some decent surf, if it wasn't for the howling onshore that smeared it to bits. Matt Banting pulled out with injury, allowing Mikey Feb to jump in as a wild card replacement.
Jordy's run of bad luck continues. Back in his first comp after missing Chopes, it seems like he's done his back in. Managed to limp through his round 1 heat, with only 1 scoring wave. Hopefully the physio's and chiro's can work their magic and get him sorted for his Rd 2 match up.
As much as we bemoan the run of flatness in the bay, there is always the option to stick a bit of petrol in the cabbie and drive round the corner. Where you can go find some throaty lil slabs, like this one snapped by James Jones, to get shacked on. Although keep those toes up, cos the sardines are still about.
Speaking of slabs. The Tand Invitational is SA's most extreme bodyboarding event. It's held at one of the countries heaviest reef's, up the west coast. St Francis local Pamela Bowren became the first ever chick to be invited to the event - and ended up schooling quite a few of the ou's, and getting into the semi-finals! Just goes to show you don't have to have balls to charge! Shot Pam!
The Coffey's are still jolling in Bali, and getting kiff waves and warm weather whilst we stare at flat ocean and freeze our toes off. Might look like our jealously gets prolonged cos a volcanic eruption on Java is screwing with the flight schedules in & outta Bali. Not the worst place in the world to get stuck!
Lots of debate these days about whether the Banting diet is any good for you. St Francis local Mike Hill goes to show you can lose 30kg's and still lay down some major gashes by saying cheers to the carbs n sugar! You'll see him powering into some carb-free cutties and some sugar-free stomps at Seals. And be sure to ask to see his 8-pack if you see him in the carpark.
Seals local Brad Beck is only too glad he's missing the flat, chilly winter back home. Not a shabby office to have, when right in front of your canteen is this schweet lil right. Much better to skip lunch and surf!
And just before they get too homesick, the local dolphins show up to say howzit. Life sucks in the tropics. Really it does. I'm sure he'd much rather be stuck behind a desk in a windowless office wearing a suit and tie.
Yip, it's official. We're a hick town. We have tumbleweed! Check this monster ball dicing with the traffic at Humerail opp the Virgin Gym yesterday arvo. A massive one was floating about close to shore the previous week - which the NSRI went to investigate cos ou's thought it might be a sea-mine! Anyone have a clue where they're coming from??
Slater's Outerknown brand is due to launch some time in the next week or two. It's designed by John Moore, who was named American GQ Best New Menswear Designer for 2015. Be that as it may, am not sure how you can warrant charging $95 for a beanie! How flipping designer can that really be!? Can only imagine what sort of scary number a TShirt will go for!
Ex-Bluewater Bay local, and now one of the world's most stylish free-surfers, Craig Anderson, pulled into Indo during the recent mega-swell. By his own admission Ando's not really a fan of the big stuff, and has a schizophrenic relationship with charging heavy waves. Yet he takes off at maxed out Kandui's, one of the heaviest waves around....on a lil 5ft4 sled. Go figure.
Always lekker to see what beaches looked like back in the day before ill-conceived and controlled costal development contributes to it's demise. Anne Avenue in St Francis used to be home to some of the best beach breaks around, with consistent sandbars thanks to a really wide beach. These days the sea has encroached to the point that the car park at Anne's is now closed to the public as it's busy collapsing into the sea.
Not only is St Francis losing it's beaches, it might also soon be home to a shark cage diving operation according to recent reports from the Zag. The Seal Point Boardriders are onto it, and are establishing whether it's possible to object against the permit.
Seems like an odd spot to station a cage-diving operation cos most peeps doing cage-diving wanna see the big Great White's. The point between SF and Seals is called Shark Point, so yah, plenty of sharks about there. But they ain't whites. There are no known resident White's in the area, and those that are spotted are basically in transit along the coast. Which means you gonna have to chum big-time to draw them in. Kak idea really.
Max Wetteland, South Africa's first representative surfer, respected surfboard design visionary and great surfer departed for the green room in the sky last week. Max opened Durban's first surf shop, and was the man behind the Durban 500 - which became the Gunston 500. RIP.
The tuxedo dudes made a bid for freedom last week, in the latest release of rehabilitated penguins from SAMREC. Looks like the ou's were trying to decide on whether they should surf the right or the left!
We're so lucky to have peeps like SAMREC doing a great job at looking after our marine birds and mammals. And then you get morons like this lot in Bali. Shocking photographs show dolphins kept in horrific conditions in a small resort swimming pool in Bali. The four dolphins are kept in a chlorinated pool measuring 10m by 20m at a hotel at Keramas Beach in Bali (and are busy going blind thanks to the chlorine).
The Wake Bali Dolphins tourist attraction charges visitors money for an 'exciting' dolphin experience, allowing people with swim with, hug and kiss the dolphins. What a bunch of absolute kooks. Still can't get over why a bunch of surfers haven't simply barged in with a tarpaulin or two and rescued them. Something that Saffa's would do for sure. So if there're any Saffa's over there now - pull of a lil Rambo raid ou's.
Otherwise you can add your voice to the call to release the dolphins. Sign the petition here:
Luc always gets some beaut shots. Last week there wasn't much in the way of waves so it was rainbows inbstead. Here's hoping there's some gold at the far southern end of this one and it makes it's way up to us soon! Ou's starting to get a bit tense about the lack of waves.
Throw out a shaka to the latest members of the Saffa surf tribe. Welcome to Jozi, the newest region in SA Surfing. The dust has settled since the big restructure of SA Surfing, and in the process a new player has emerged. The inland surfers are finally recognised as a legitimate part of the SA surf scene.
Props to former CT and EL surfer Nathan Gernetzky for taking on the challenge of getting a Jozi surf team up and running - and ready to compete in next years SA Champs. Gonna be plenty of surf-stoked land-locked ex-coasties who are gonna be so amped to once again belong to the tribe, despite having to endure minedumps instead of shoredumps.
Nathan's call to action sum's it up perfectly...
"Calling on all board-riders and moving-mountain sliders. Coast dwelling yearners or movers and shakers who once lived at the coast and thought about getting your daily surf in before heading home. Those part of the tribe and those who miss the tribe. Those who ride on water and dream about barrels whether on a short-board, longboard, sup or bodyboard. Those who surf their desk calendars with two fingers and those walk along Jo-burg Zoo Lake ducking under branches as they throw the biggest green room over your head.
Those who toggle their laptop screens between work stuff and your old local spot surf report. Those that have shredded at Sun-city or just returned from Indo. For those that have salt in your veins. If you are a surfer living in the Gauteng/ Jozi region inbox me your details. Keen to gather your details so the tribe up here can meet for an upcoming event. (And for the tribe along the coast, forward this to someone you know who has a jar of beach sand and sea water on their desk while working in the City of Gold)"
So Nathan, why the move to start a Jozi Surf Club?
We are currently living in Bedfordview, after moving here recently from Queensbury Bay. So while we are here, my wife and I had the thought there most be so many surfers who live in Jozi and feel 'displaced' mostly by choice, but the issue is feeling that you have left your 'tribe' behind. And so we thought it'd be a good idea to start gathering fellow surfers from the region.
What's your surfing background?
Originally from CT, so surfed mostly Dunes, Kom and surrounds including all the big wave spots. I lived in Hermanus for 5 years and for the first 2 years surfed Bayview (big wave spot) on my own, until we formed a local big wave crew. Big wave's are really my thing but anything heavy and slabby gets me going.
Recently been living in EL on the Qbay side of town. Surfing there mostly and working with photo guys on a project. I got a cool double spread in this current issue of zag which was like ice-cream to a child before we moved to Jozi.
So what are the plans for the Gauteng surfers?
After a long chat with SA Surfing's Robin de Kock about opening the Jozi branch, the cherry on the top was finding out that Gauteng can surf at the SA Champs. But that wasn't the main motivation for us. We thought- let's be the catalyst to gathering this inland tribe of people. Surfer love, besides surfing, talking about surfing. Whether over social media, a meal, a beer or coffee. Anything to keep the stoke alive.
Maybe a fun/ novelty event at Sun City's Valley of the Waves later in the year too.
I have a couple of friends who I have been gathering thoughts with about this but now we are keen to have our first event in the next term and rally guys to come together from across Jozi for a surf film, conversation and food. I'm sure out of these events will flow a club which is the necessary beginnings for a province to put forward surfers for any national event.
One of my good mates here was a top bodyboarder before moving to Jozi so we are going to try and gather all surfing forms together into one body which then would have different representations.
We'd want local business involved and the various communities to be impacted by this 'movement' in Jozi. Yes I suppose it's a movement, not a static list of names on paper. Hopefully one day a future force in this city at a social/justice level, but also impacting surfing at a national level.
But all things begin with like-minded people gathering around a common vision which is built slowly with time and trust. We need both for this things to really take off.
So, if you're a land-locked surfer in Gauteng and would be keen to be part of the inland surfer renaissance and to keep the stoke alive, then shoot Nathan an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Yoh, another really slow week for surf in the bay. Beaut conditions mostly, just bogger all waves. Water's been crystal clear, which means if you did venture out you got to see the entire ecosystem at work beneath you as you sat out there. Personally am not a fan of clear water as prefer to not see all the weird shadows and swimming things that go by. Overactive imagination coupled with recent number of shark incidents means ignorance is bliss.
Pity there wasn't much surf, as with the super bright full moon's we've been getting a midnight sesh woulda been on the cards. No waves, but shew, are there fish! Chad Putman caught and released this monster Leerie in Swartkops last week. None of the usual fisherman's cheating of holding the fish out at arm's length towards the camera to make it look bigger! It's big enough anyway! Great catch!
The Richmond Hill Brewing Company has released it's first official bew - Car Park John. CPJ made an appearance a while ago, but had to be withdrawn from the kegs til all the official licensing stuff got sorted out, so now with a rubber stamp from the Liquor Board all sorted, it's back. Officially! Dave McGregor reckons it should be called a Pale Male instead of a Pale Ale! Pull in to the Beershack and grab a pint.
The NMMU ou's are still recovering from their babbel-aas after a great victory at SA Varsity Champs. Despite all the usual fun and games that accompany inter-varsities, the ou's put in some solid surfing. Jean du Plessis gave the guys a quick physics lesson out there, showing 'em how you can go forwards even when you going backwards.
Shout out to Faye Zoetmulder for taking the runner's up possie in the Ballito Pro, and showing the Saffa boys how it's done. They all got knocked out before the business end of the comp. Luckily Matt McGillivray saved the Saffa boys pride by winning the Expression session with a great aerial.
The clock's counting down to the start of the JBay Winterfest, which kicks off on the 8th July. Plenty of stuff going on. The JBay Open of course, but also plenty of jols, skate events, runs, bikes, swims, kites and all sorts. And more jols. And more surfing. Why would you not wanna be there!? Just hope Neptune pitches up.
All the deets here http://www.millerslocal.co.za/comp-news/jbay-winterfest-is-one-week-away
Whilst we stare at a flat ocean, the guys in Indo have dusted off the rhino chasers and have been blessed with a surplus of cooking surf. The whole archipelago fired for four days straight. Looking more like it's Pacific cousin Hawaii than Indo.
Pity most of the Saffa's missed the swell. Chappy, Terry and crew got back from the Ments a few days before it started, and the Coffey's arrived in Bali a coupla days after it settled down.
Dean Simpson is back from Cali, and has wasted no time in getting his groove back on. Kody McGregor captured Dean being his usual stylish self. Deamon van Antwerpen decided he looked like someone else famous - and posted this pic as a comment to Dean's shot. The resemblance is uncanny!
Sharks were active again this week - with 2 incident in Aus - over the space of 2 days and just down the road from each other. In the first incident a chap got bitten on both legs, whilst in the second the guy was lucky to escape unscathed. Just had his one fin munched off and some tooth mark souvenirs. Guessing the shark objected to his 5 fin set-up and decided the board would work better as a quad.
The Pacific has also had a spike in shark activity - with 3 attacks in Maui last week, two of which were fatal. A swimmer was attacked and drowned following her injuries, and a kayaker was attacked by a shark and killed. A snorkeler who was busy cruising after a turtle got bitten on the calf. Sharks are certainly bev*k with us lot at the moment. So keep those toes up peeps and don't surf sketchy spots at the moment.
With all the shark incidents lately you can imagine what sort of epic pranks you could get up to at an event like this. The Texas Ski Ranch hosted an "in-lake" screening of Jaws in recently, to celebrate the film's 40th anniversary.
Props to Nathan Gernetzky for taking the bull by the horns and being the impetus behind getting a Gauteng Surf Club started. After the restructuring of SA Surfing into the new provincial/regional set-up, it turned out that some Gauteng representation was gonna be needed. Nathan was amped for the challenge, and after getting the all clear from Robin de Kock, is on a mission to get the Vaalie boys to SA Champs next year.
Reckon there'll be a few ou's nipping to face them in their heats, cos losing to a land-locked surfer is blind. Mind you, they could field a pretty decent team cos there are some good surfers who've had to move to the Big Smoke. Maybe some team trials at Sun City's Valley of the Waves??
If you're a surfer stuck in Jozi, then shoot Nathan an email on email@example.com. Not only about getting a competitive team together, but also about keeping the stoke alive, with social events like getting together to watch surf flicks, or planning a quick surf trip to the coast.
Nice concept shoe from Adidas, who've made a sneaker entirely from recycled ocean trash - the green trim are strands of fishing nets. Clever. Scary how much crap ends up in the ocean. Remember to pick up whatever junk you spot on the beach as you walk back after your sesh. Gooi it in the bin. Every bit helps.
The price of progressive surfing is that sometimes things don't go according to plan. St Francis local Shaun Payne experiencing what happens if you spell his surname differently.
Shot to Robin van der Merwe for winning the Berrshack surfboard raffle. The raffle was drawn on Friday night, and was part of the fundraising effort of the NMBS Masters team to get themselves to the SA Champs in Richards Bay in August.
Got some old wetties you no longer using? Don't leave em lurking in the garage, go pop em in the bin at a Billabong store near you for their Surfers Helping Surfers campaign. They're get passed on to disadvantaged surfers, plus you score a discount on a new Bong suit. Wins all round.
Charts not looking very exciting for the bay again this week. As usual, if you're prepared to drive a bit you find something better. Should be a wave or two for the opening rounds of the JBay Open (which I still refer to as the Billabong. Old habits die hard!) Unfortunately the crystal ball isn't showing any signs of a classic JBay swell during the event as yet. Contestable waves for sure, just nothing spectacular. Thankfully forecasts are fluctuating things, so there's still hope for a purple people eater to sneak through.