Pollok beach, home to Pipe, was named after the Pollok Hotel that used to stand where the present Summerseas is today – before it became the legendary (and infamous) Summerstrand Hotel. Buildings here dated back to the 1890’s, when the sand dunes were reclaimed and allocated for use of a hotel. The dude who built it came from Scotland, and was called Pollok – so guess what, he named the hotel after himself! And the name of the beach followed....
Pollok was always a popular surfing and bathing beach. The Summerstrand Lifesaving Club has always been a familiar landmark. Favourite chill out spot was right in front of the club, where the ou's used to park their brolley's and hang for the day. Bit of a chick magnet thanks to all the hot lifeguards. Back when lifeguards used to be hot.
There used to be plenty of brush fences scattered around the beach - designed to help trap sand. So the whole sand loss thing isn't a new problem at all. Actually, Pollok has suffered from some serious sand loss issues at various times. At one stage the whole beach was reduced to stone - looked a bit like those dodgy rocky beaches in England.
Summerstrand Hotel was a favourite hang-out back then. Ou's used to sit on the wall and chirp everyone on the beach and in the water. A favourite possie for after-surf beers that could end up as an all-nighter and the guys going home with as many glasses as they could sneak under their jackets, the odd table and chair even a few attempts were made on the ciggie machine.
Summies ended up getting pretty ratty, so it had to get demolished. The building of Summerseas in it's place wasn't without controversy, as no new developments were meant to take place beachside of Marine Drive. But up it went anyway. More issues ensued, when there was a moerse argument about the construction of the walkway in front of it, which finally went up in 2008.
Pipe's got a fair bit more developed over the years. But some things never change. It's still the most popular surf spot in town, and it's still the coolest beach to hang out on. Long live Pipe.
Thanks to Peter Schwartz for all the images.
JBay continues with it's awesome run of swell. PE continues to get it's usual skunking in the bay. A few snuck through late Saturday arvo that at least got everyone wet before the rugby.
Plenty ou's making the mission west to JBay. Some even did the PE-JBay-Seals mission, only to end up turning round and heading back to JBay. 3 hours drive for a 2 hour surf? Got the balance wrong guys!
Big Dave managed to turn his quad into a thruster by smashing off a fin during the paddle out to the Point. Rule #1 - never paddle too early in the gully. Always a nice lil rock just waiting to nibble off your fins. He'll be bummed, cos his new "shortboard" (8ft10) has been going like a bomb - check the shot of him smashing a damn fine turn at Jbay last week. Doing the impossible at Impossibles.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. That 8ft10 was reborn by splitting her down the middle and adding an extra 2 inches of foam to widen her up. Looks like it's worked.
Some of the SF locals are still lurking in Nam. Mike Hill and crew were due to leave last week, but car issues forced them to stay. They managed to get their car fixed, but then got their camera gear nicked. Win some, lose some. But maybe a win in the end. The enforced stay means they might be lucky enough to score another swell on the way. Guys have been scoring some insane waves there, and clocking up serious tube time. Dale Staples' vid of his trip there is crazy good. Check the video box on the home page to watch it.
Some scary facts starting to come out about the Fukushima disaster in Japan. It appears between 300-450 tons of contaminated water a day is leaking into the Pacific. Given that the Pacific is one big-ass ocean system it could see the radioactive water reaching as far afield as the Western seaboard of Canada and the USA. Glow-in-the-dark surfing coming soon? Probably not, but still not lekker that stuff's leaking out.
Don't get caught out by the graphic doing the rounds at the moment supposedly showing the spread of the radioactive water - it's actually a NOAA infographic on how far the tsunami spread. But still, nasty stuff is leaking out, and it will enter the Pacific ocean & spread onwards from there. Eish.
Something to consider in light of the proposed reactor at Thyspunt. And I'm pretty sure the Japs are a lot better at running these things than we are. So if a uber 1st world country like them can get it wrong, yoh - what does that mean for us? I'd be a bit more confident in our chances of success as long as we get some qualified peeps to run it - not our Eskom muppets. Let's not forget the incident a coupla years back when the ou's dropped a spanner into the Koeberg reactor, which put it offline for yonks.
Tough call. Nuclear is cleaner than coal - until it goes pear-shaped, and then it does so spectacularly. Pity we can get enough power from wind farms, like those going up outside Jbay, as definitely take a wind turbine over coal or nuclear any day. Those turbines are flipping big - check above to see how lil the 3 ou's look standing at the axis of the blade.
Don't forget to get your entries in to the Cobbles Classic coming up next month. Kiff retro event for single fins and old school moves. Great vibe and great prizes. Entry forms here.
By Remi Petersen.
"I started riding Alaia’s about 4 years back when a friend from Italy brought his own one over here with him. It took me a while to pluck up the courage to actually paddle out on it, but once I did, the feeling I got riding it in that very first session was enough to get me hooked.
Most of my experience has been on an Alaia, but I have also had the honour of surfing Derek Hynd’s Personal Friction Free boards, Tom Wegner’s Albacore/Tuna from the Seaglass Project and more recently, another finless board (sorry for using that term Derek!) shaped by one of the local French shapers.
Currently I have 6 Alaia’s - of which 2 are snapped, 2 have been fixed, and 2 haven’t broken yet. I've been lucky enough to have a good relationship with some Italian surfers, which has allowed me to refine the shape of my boards and over time I have had the opportunity to ride Alaia’s from around the world in all types of conditions. From a Tom Wegener in 4-6 foot Bali, to the Hidden Wood boards in small French beach breaks. So although I might not be the oldest and most experienced Free Friction rider, I do know a bit about them.
Let’s get one thing straight, it’s hard - extremely hard - to ride them. For instance, with an Alaia, it starts with the paddling and it’s actually harder to paddle one of those boards then it is to swim around the ocean for a coupla hours! This is because the board has next to no flotation so you have to keep yourself balanced over the board while at the same time trying to paddle forwards.
Catching the wave is slightly easier, as long as you put yourself in the right position! As soon as you pick up a bit of speed the lack of any additional drag due to things such as fins, leashes or rockers, results in the board being lifted above the water and starting to glide.
I reckon it's essential to start out at a spot that is frontside for you, and with just enough power to let you get onto the wave. Even then, keep the pace slow or even directed towards the shore - as at first turning may seem impossible!
It is super fun to surf with because you are able to catch any kind of wave with it, you can’t get injured due to the fact that it is made from a boogers material, you are able to make better turns, and it is easier to handle than an Alaia. To me, it is ideal in all types of small wave conditions and is still fun when it comes to slightly larger waves.
On the other hand, Derek's FFFF* boards are definitely not as easy to get your hands on. Each one is hand shaped from scratch and a lot more technical details go into it. Where the SeaGlass project’s bottom deck is almost exactly like an Alaia's, the FFFF has had a bunch of experiments and test runs done on it in order to have these crazy asymmetrical channels and cut-ins built into it. These boards definitely favor clean conditions and are by far the best FreeFiction boards to ride in solid surf as they are the biggest (apart from an Olo, which I have yet to try) and have the best hold and most rocker of all the fin free boards.
(*Far Field Friction Free or just ffffffff - as that's the sound the boards make!)
My preferred Friction Free craft is my custom AlaiaReligion board (recently renamed OM or OfficinaMed), but I will always be open to try new boards that capture my interest, because I believe that the only way to learn is to try different things with an open mind. I try to take the good and the bad from each one to learn about this art-form I have the privilege of riding."
Shot to wave-slider extraordinaire Remi Petersen for giving us a bit of an insight about going Friction Free. Sounds like a blast!
Coupla random bits and pieces from the week. Good to see the whales are back in the bay at the moment. Chilling, bonking, having babies, who knows. But there sure are plenty of them. Lil dude pulled in just off the back of Millers on the weekend and did his best to act like a shark. Cruising about with his fin up. Had me fooled for a bit. Was about to reconsider my Millers solo sessions.
How's this for a cool idea to colour up your stick. Check out Casey's kiff Retro Electro CYOH board below. Nice huh, rad design. Guess what. It's a sticker! Just email your high res image to the dudes at DPi Sign Industries (Barry Heasley's company) and they'll do the rest. So for a hundred bucks you get a lekker sticker to plak onto your board. If you're ordering a CYOH board, then Casey can sort it for you, else get hold of DPi on 203 Walmer Boulevard 041 581 5131 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't foget you can demo the CYOH Surfboard Retro Electro and Big Foot models. Just tune Casey here.
Just like when a taxi cuts you off and you go "where'd you get your license, muppet!?" the same could be said for this ou. Boat driver at Chopes the day after the comp goes to drop off a client in the surf. But instead of dropping him in the channel like normal, he reckons, nah, small day....I'll just drive right up to the line-up. The ocean teaches you a lesson for such disrespect. Promptly threw up a nice 6ft west peak that he had made it over by the skin of his teeth. And then went home to change his underwear. Brian Bielmann got the shot. Pretty calm under fire - cos that thing mighta been rocketing straight back at him in the foam ball if it didn't make it over!
Weird board shapes are becoming more common, which is cool - cos must be kinda fun to ride something really different. Saw this guy out at Avo's during the week. Not too sure what you'd call this? Ironing board attacked by belt sander? Rode pretty good - he got some nice waves on it despite the chop.
Wes was spotted doing some tow-in skating down the boardwalk at Millers. He's obviously in training, as had had a surf that morning at avo's too. Definite points earned by towing your lady. Nice one!
Cool to see one of the original Millers locals back in the line-up after a long absence. I remember when I first started surfing Millers about 12 years ago, Wes and Nick were regular faces in the water. Wes went AWOL for many years - and turns out he went to the UK and became a para-bat in the British Army. Pretty damn cool. Jumping outta planes whilst ou's shoot at you! He's back here on holiday at the moment, and was out at Millers trying out his new Greg Smith stick he'd just collected. Looks good.
Another long weekend chalked off. Still 2 more to go this year. Here's hoping they also coincide with some swell. Peeps got properly pitted over the last few days. Even PE had some waves. But yoh, there were some smokers just a lil way down the N2 as well.
Local photag Nick Cadle made the mission to Supers and stood in the pee'ing rain to get some great shots - check em out <here>. PE style-meister Brownie Moulang snagged some bombs. International crew Taylor Knox and the Coffin kids were also in the line-up, both at JBay and St Francis. Wondering how many guys got washed off the jump-rock? Been there. Done that. Great entertainment of you aren't the one getting washed off!
The trials at Chopes got a lil gnarly - and it wasn't cos of the waves. Surf was pretty bleak, but ou's were amping. Tis a big deal to crack the main event. Jamie O'Brien was in 3rd, needing just a 3 to advance into the next heat. With 30 seconds left in the heat he got into a paddle battle with Ricardo Santos. You ain;t gonna beat a Brazzo in a paddle battle too easily, so Ricardo won out. Jamie had such a mindblast that he proceeded to drop in on Ricardo, and turn around and punch him in the face just as he bottom turned!
J.O.B did recover from his temporary insanity, and apologized to Ricardo afterwards. Just don't think he'll be going to Brazil anytime soon.
Here's a classic lil clip from Surfer Mag, of why you shouldn't just assume your boat driver knows what's potting just cos he's local. He can still end up getting you into a spectacularly kak spot!
Dog's are known as man's best friend. And 2 local surfers are lucky enough to have them as dedicated surf buddies too. If you've surfed Millers at all both Shabu and Shaggy will be familiar sights to you. Shaggy, the cocker spaniel, comes to the beach most days with dad Ken - the resident paddle-skier at Millers. He tends to be a dog on a mission, so Ken has to plonk his special Shaggy Stick in the ground near the pipe, and loop his leash over it to make sure he doesn't head off to Pipe to pick up chicks. Shaggy then chills in the sun with his water bowl and bottle.
Ou's used to get really confused to find Shaggy just sitting there attached to his stick - and would be looking up and down the beach wondering who'd left him there - so Ken realised it was best to leave a message on his stick.
"Hi, I'm Shaggy, I'm happy to sit here while Kenny is stuffing around in the sea. "Trying" to surf or dive. There is more water in a bottle in my bag if my bowl is empty"
Shabu is another Millers Local. He comes with dad Mark Gerharty, the classic old school longboarder. Shabu, a massive ridgeback, is a pretty scary looking beast when he first gallops up to you. Ou's walkinBut thankfully he is a super mellow surf dawg. He just waits patiently in the shallows until Mark catches a wave, then sprints down the reef after him! Mark always straightens out and comes in after each wave, and Shabu gleefully joins him in knee deep water for a bit of a head rub and pat. Stoked out mutt.