Here's to 2016. You weren't the best year for surf, that's for sure. But hey, we had waves. We also had wind, And sunshiney days and spectacular sunsets. Some stunning sunrises. A few big days. A few very big days. Plenty of little days. And the absolutely v*k-all days. So yeh, overall you weren't so bad I guess. Let's run you through the year.
The waves pumped! Oh wait. That's cos I was in Indo....
The bay didn't do too badly either....
As long as you didn't mind sharing the sea with the summer critters.
Funky perspectives kick-started the month. The first in what was to be a year of amazing images from PE's eye-in-the-sky Dean Cothill.
The perceptiveness of PE surfers was shown with a punt for the #mustfall campaign 10 months before it started....just swapped Zuma for fee's.
The pier had it's share of the Pied Piper and his Merry men....
And some wargames kept the locals entertained.
There were a few waves here and there.
Our hood sure is pretty from up on high
March saw some mini-grom mayhem descend on Pipe for the annual Grom Games.
Local restuarant Muse steped up to the plate with an ocean inspired dish from surf chef Allan Bezuidenhout. An edible coral reef for mains.
Surfer magazine founder John Severson famously said "“the surfer can still seek and find the perfect day, the perfect wave, and be alone with the surf and his thoughts.” Or alternately, they can just sit by themselves on the beach at Seals.
PE finally landed a feature in the Zag just to show the rest of the country that we actually do get the odd wave.
Perspective is everything. In PE you need it to make the waves look good.
March ended with a bang at least...
April Fools says Cape Recife has a grinding right point. The irony is that actually it does.
Funnily enough there actually were waves on the 1st
Just a taste of sunsets to come, as autumn started to get it's act together.
The saying goes that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Add to that waves in April.
The wildside doesn't always have to be wild.
The locals just reminding everyone why PE's now called the Dolphin Capital of the world
May madness at Millers
And the NMBM Masters grabbing 2nd spot at the SA Champs
The days started pretty...
...and ended the same way.
A coupla waves about that were worth a shout.
If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.
June means JBay time.
It also means stormy Seals.
Did I mention JBay?
What about a pretty sunrise and JBay? Yeh - it would definitely be June.
July means the JBay Pro
When ou's get to meet famous people like CarPark John and Chris.
And even surfing superstars show they aren't immune to the bricks
There're even waves in PE.
And nothing beats a midwinter sunset.
Winter might be on the wane, but the waves weren't
Little people began to believe in big things...
Other people just did stupid things.
Nature continued with her show.
A month of youthful optimism...
And absolute bloody morons...
The surf still delivered.
Whether it was single-fin logging...
...or Seal point speedlines.
No takers on the Bird Rocks barrels though.
Started off like a lake
And then got breezy.
Went back to looking like a lake.
And then went back to being windy again.
In between the extremes there were some waves.
And some sage advice from a Seals elder statesman.
The friendly fins continued their daily patrols along the backline.
A few unseasonal swells popped up.
Chomp Rock tried to hide away...
But the moon didn't.
Some might say there's light at the end of the tunnel. But a wave will suffice..
And before you know it the last month of the year sneaks up on you.
It did try throw out a few waves.
Some ou's came to a stop...
...at Full Stop
Peeps were in such holiday mode that lil runners like these broke with not a soul out
Avo's was more of a fishing spot than a surf spot
But early birds still got the worms.
The Season opened and the Year came to an end.
2016, to be honest you were pretty kak for surf in the bay. There were some good days and some epic days, but overall we wave you goodbye happily and hope 2017 delivers a bit more!
A coupla waves here and there, and mostly awesome days leading up to Christmas Day. The wind did however come to the party the day before Christmas and tried hard to blow it's pip off. Ther predicted swell annoyingly didn;t arrive. A few lines snuck in at Rincon and Pipe but not much making it deeper into the bay.
Things got pretty wild n woolly out at Seals. If only the wind would listen to the road signs....
Despite the odd day of wind, the weathers been awesome, and the water even more so. Definitely trunkable if you feel like loosing the neoprene altogether. Spare a thought for Peter Coffey who had to layer up to the hilt to take on the Canadian surf whilst over there on holiday with the fam. Can't say even the beach looks friendly!
Pretty big feeshy landed at Bluewater Bay earlier in the week. Always easy to smile for a piccie with a Zambo when it's on land - not sure that many smiles for the camera if you met it in the water....
Kleinbrak near Mossel Bay also had their fishy moments, with a few big Whites spotted off the backline which meant the lifey's cleared the water pronto.
Pull in to the Richmond Hill Brewery down in the Baakens Valley for some Car Park John Amber Ale. CPJ was full of smiles on Thursday after Deno finished shaping him his new sled. 45 litres of volume packed into that sled, which should see John out-paddle just about everyone in the line-up!
The saga of the washed up whale at Cape St Francis got sorted out, with the ou's from Xtreme Projects digging up the temporarily buried carcass and trucking it away - and making sure they mopped up all the miffy whale juices and stuff so no finned friends lurk about.
Summer time means project time. Stefan Swanepoel tuned a tree into a toes on the nose machine. Read about how he shaped his own alaia here...
Seals locals Mike and Grant Beck, together with mom Karen, made a halfway round the world mission to go have a Chrissy in Mexico with Brad and Hannah. Reckon they're hooking some decent waves in between the tequilas and margaritas.
Cannot believe that in this environmentally enlightened age that muppets still give away balloons during beach promotions. Yes - kids love a balloon - but generally let the damn thing go - and when the west is whipping that means cheers and out to see for the balloon - and into the marine food chain. Not so bright neh.
Shot to Andrew Stewart who approached the organisers and pointed out the obvious - and they thankfully saw sense and stopped handing them out. Hopefully the beach manager will in future advise anyone awarded a license to run an event on the beach that balloons are banned.
Holidays mean plenty of time to read. Finally got round to buying a copy of Hagen Englers "In the Maid's Room" - and really enjoyed the ex-Pe locals take on life, love and jolling in the 'hood back in the late '80's/early '90's. Really funny read. you can grab a copy at Surf Centre Humewood. There's even a bit of surf stories thrown in.
Thumbs up to the beachfront's DA representitive Dean Biddulph and the NMBM for some excellent work in keeping the beaches clean this festive season. Every day I check the ladies cruising up and down the road and grass area's picking up rubbish. Great to see everything looking so clean!
Santa unfortunately didn't bring any waves for Christams Day - well, I guess he did if you didn't mind onshore bowls! Probably find there were many happy wives and girlfriends that didn't have to deal with grumpy surfers cos they were stuck at Christmas lunch whilst the waves were firing!
That's a wrap for the week. Hopefully the New Year will grace us with some epic surf. Here's holding thumbs...
You mighta seen an ou wandering down the beach with what looks like a plank under his arm, and wondered “what the hang’s that!?”
History has a way of repeating itself and surfing’s no different. It all started with a shaved down wooden plank and recently the trend was revived. They’re called alaia’s – try spelling that quickly…..
The alaia’s roots span back a thousand years. “Lala” is the Hawaiian word describing the action of riding an alaia surfboard, with its literal translation meaning ‘the controlled slide in the curl when surfing on a board. And that’s what it’s all about – the glide and the slide.
Local logger Stefan Swanepoel decided to have a go at shaping his own.
What made you decide you wanted to try make your own board?
I saw a video of some guy surfing an alaia a few years ago. It looked pretty fun to ride, something totally different to what I’m used to. I enjoy working with wood, and thought I should try build one as a small project.
Did you have any plans you worked from?
I researched a lot on "surfboard", "alaia", and "planing hull" design before starting. I wanted to know exactly what the board would do in the water before I shaped it. I then drew out the design of what I wanted. I couldn’t find much helpful content on the internet about alaia design, it’s all pretty vague.
What sort of wood did you use? Am assuming you need to choose one with specific properties?
I used obeche wood. The most important part about choosing a wood is that it has to be very light, strong and shouldn’t absorb water. There’s a lot of wood everywhere, but I found that getting the exact properties that are needed is very hard to find. Paulownia wood is ideal, but is very expensive to buy and has to be specially imported.
Take us through the process of shaping it – a quick from “tree to toes-on-the-nose” progression!
The board starts as a few pieces of rough cut wood glued together. Cut out your template. Then you have to choose what sort of design aspects you are looking for. Once you’ve decided, use a hand plane to shave off the wood. When you’re done it’s ready for an oil. Then it’s just a waiting game for the drying period.
Am guessing there must have been a few “#@$%@” moments en route? Anything go badly wrong or a case of beginners luck?
Beginners luck definitely!
What are the dimensions? Some rocker or rail or tail tweaks in there?
The board is 5.7 foot. The rocker is flat, rails are sharp, and it has a square tail.
Did you have to give it a few coats of varnish to finish off, in terms of waterproofing it?
I added a few coats of linseed oil to finish it off.
And the million-dollar question – how does she surf?
Pretty stoked with the way the alaia surfs. Functions exactly how I wanted it to. Fast, smooth and paddles easier than I thought.
If you're are interested in shaping one, or to have one shaped for you, then email Stefan at email@example.com
The season opened with a bang on Friday night. One of the more impressive fireworks displays that we've seen in recent years, combined with absolutely tit weather made it an awesome evening down at the beach.
Props to the muncipality, as the next day all the beaches and grassed area's were spic-and-span by 08h00. Still some glass lurking around in the dune area's, so do your bit and grab a bottle or two after each surf and chuck em in the bin. Your hood - keep it tidy!
Surf-wise it was yet another super teeny summer's week. If you drove about a bit you could find a few rideable lumps n bumps to keep the salt water stoke alive.
Star was pretty stoked to arrive in Jbay last week and find super fun waves at the Point and only 3 ou's out. Thinking she'd won the lotto she was out there in a flash. She asked one of the locals out there why so few people - and he said "yah, there was a shark down at Albatross about 20 minutes ago" - Star wishing she hadn't asked!!
A whale washed up at Seals beach on Sunday, prompting everyone to try and shove it back out to see. But it turned out it was dead, so the authorities as an interim measure have pulled it up above the highwater mark and buried it, until they can sort it out after the season is over.
Despite assurances from the authorities that it will not pose a risk, quite a few of the local surfers not to amped on the idea of it being there - the concern being it could leach oils into the sea and attract finned friends. A similar situation at Port St Johns a few years back comes to mind.
The was a penguin release from SAMREC over the weekend, where a bunch of happy lil critters got sent back home. After a bit of a confused strat about whether or not they actually wanted to leave the Cape Recife "hotel", they all got going and made a bolt for freedom.
Goodbyes on the deck at Pipe on Sunday morning, where friends and family of the late Partick McGuire gathered to send him off. Pat died tragically in a bike accident in the UK earlier in the year, and his wife and children returned home to PE to lay him to rest in his favourite place. RIP bru.
The guys hosted a fun comp out at Noordhoek on Saturday - bit of an Anything that Floats kinda set-up, with points awartded for weirdest craft and most outlandish attire. Merv in a tutu probably takes the cake.....
Here's a couple more shots from the week that was....
Hope everyone has a happy festive week and lekker Christmas, and here's holding thumbs Father Christmas gifts us a wave or two!
The PE surfing & motorbike communities lost one of their favourite sons earlier this year in a tragic bike accident. Patrick Maguire was a familiar and friendly face in the line-up's round the Bay, before moving over to the UK a coupla years ago.
Pat's wife, Bridgette, and their children have arrived back in Port Elizabeth to scatter his ashes at sea. There will be a memorial bike run and paddle out on Sunday 18 Dec, to say goodbye to a special guy. The paddle out ceremony will be at Pipe at 10h30, where Pat's ashes will be scattered - forever to ride the waves at one of his favourite surf spots.
His mate's described Pat as a "one-in-a-million" friend.
Sebastian Clarke shares his memories of Pat: "Patrick was huge personality, fearless but with loads of compassion for his wife, kids and his surfing mates. He had a heart of gold and was always ready to assist, always showing loads of empathy to any of his mates situations. He believed in fairness and nothing in-between. He was one of those surfer buddies whose his friendship meant you braai with him, you come to his house and he comes to your house. It was never about the friendship stopping at the sand and you see each other the next-time in the water or at the beach. He was the real deal!
Patricks tragic passing in April left us with months of mourning in silence, since he really was one of the ou's."
Sebastian also fondly remembers Pat's brown Mazda Midge always being parked at the Blackbottoms carpark back in the day - "That Mazda really suffered under Patrick! Even though it had under 60000k's on the clock the handbrake didn't engage!" It was no wonder why - Pat's need for speed was no secret.
Patrick loved Millers, Avalanche and Tubes, and kept up the surf stoke even after moving to England. Ridwaan recalls their surf trip whilst over in the UK, to Newquay & Pump House - "His breakfast preference at 6am in the morning was iced ring doughnuts or eclair’s “to takes off the edge off"!
Jorg Brand remembers Patrick as an adventurous , no-nonsense kind of a guy who would always go to the extreme with whatever he was doing. An an honest, generous and caring man and would always be there for you no matter what.
Johnny Bakker will be saying a few words on the beach before everyone paddles out to say their goodbye's and give Pat the send-off he deserves, and catch some waves in his honour.
"If someday speed kills me, do not cry because I was smiling"
Coupla days of waves here and there to get everyone their salt water dose for the week. Water lekker warm, weather being all summery. What's not to like about Decemeber? (other than the lack of consistent surf!?)
Ou's getting a bit rusty cos of the weekly lulls between half decent sessions. Lee Allers was over-frothing on a lil bump that cropped up at Avo's during the week, and in his enthusiasm to get out into the line-up rather badly mis-timed his jump off the rock and got dragged back onto the rocks with the set. Much to the delight of all those watching - as it is when something bad happens - always funny when you doing the watching, not so funny when you're the peep doing what's making everyone else laugh.
The long flat spell's are enough to do anyone's head in, and Surf Centre's Jacques Jonker finally cracked from the no-wave pressure and decided to see if he went full-on Vaalie mode if it would help cope with the down-time. Apparently some nice gentlemen came to wrap him up in a long white jacket and took him away somewhere safe....
Great week for Saffa's in surf comps - JBay's Steven Sawyer got a 2nd spot in the Longboard World Champs in China. Ou's that watched the final reckoned he shoulda won it - maybe cos the other ou had a beard and Steezy only a moustache? The local logger is super stoked with his win “There were a few things I could have done better in that heat to win but I’m just as happy with second as I would have been winning the thing. Every heat I made was just a bonus, when I made it to the fourth round I was ecstatic. Making it to the Final I feel like I can go home and be proud forever.”
Also some great results from the Saffa's at the ISA Surfing World Adaptive Surfing Champs at La Jolla. Congrats to Antony Smyth on his Gold (left) and Jean-Paul Veaudry (right) on his Bronze. Doing SA proud.
Staying in comp mode - this coming weekend is the Car Park John Pro-am comp at Noordhoek. Seriously not a serious surf comp at all. Ride anything that floats. Plenty prizes and a fun day out. Tune Merv re deets and entries.
Grant Beck is doing some serious round-the-world missioning right now - having just been in China for the World Longboard Champs he has flown over the Pacific puddle and now finds himself in Mexico chilling with boet Brad - who's working as a surf guide in the land of Tequila.
Greg Heasley was spotted at Seals getting his lightie into some waves. If the grom ends up surfing anything like his pop he'll be a ripper for sure. Perfect Christmas pressie for your lightie is definitely a bodyboard or surfboard - get em into that water young!
SAMREC has a few penguins ready to go back home. They have been successfully treated for all their ailments, sufficiently fed to build up their reserves and are now ready to be let loose back into the wild. Pull in to SAMREC on Sunday the 18th of December and jwave em goodbye. The tuxedo boys will be prepared for release at 15:00.
Entrance is R30 for adults and R20 for pensioners and children. Boerewors rolls and refreshments will be on sale at the Flying Penguin café.
It's that time of year again - keep your eye's peeled for beached lil fur seals. Cape fur seals are born every year from November - January on Black Rocks in Algoa Bay. After a big storm, hundreds may be swept away. Many of them are washed up on the coast, mostly from Woody Cape to Port Alfred. These animals cannot survive alone and need to be returned to Black Rocks as soon as possible.
If you do find a seal ashore, please call one of the numbers listed below. Please do not disturb the animal, but remain close if you can until a person with a permit comes to fetch the seal. Please ask other people not to go too close and please keep dogs away. Do not pour water on the lil dude. Remember that all seals (pups also) can bite and are potentially dangerous.
Note that all seals are protected under the Seabirds and Seals Protection Act of 1973 and it is an offence to disturb them. Numbers to call:
As usual - the summer sunrises and sunsets never disappoint....
Another lekker week in the bay. Bogger all surf yet again, but perfect weather to be building sand castles, catching rays and generally chilling out. Some slides to be found if you looked around.
As usual, the more you drove, the better the chances of scoring something slightly bigger than knee-high to an ant.
Coupla ex-PE ou's ng no trouble adjusting to the flatness of Dubai, as being from PE....well, you get used to that. No probs for Wes Weihahn and Andrew Dunn, the salt water fix solved by a bit of SUPíng.
If you really want some juice, grab the 36 hour plane ride over to the Rock. Hawaii been off it's noggin'the last few days. The real Pipeline looking a tad more surfable that the PE Pipe.
e open water swimming crew didn't mind the lack of surf - it made their annual Cape Recife to Noordhoek swim a whole bunch more pleasant. Gotto think the guys must have found a way to effectively filter out the Jaws theme-music must surely be playing in the back of their minds going around that point!
No good getting all bedonnerd with the lack of swell, sometimes you just have to give up doing the Tour de PE in search of a lump and rather just go grab a cold one instead....
PE's shaping maestro Dennis Ellis has yet again hit pay-dirt with his new model, the Hopper MKII. Designed for Brett Hoppe, the sled is something that mad scientist Deno has brewed up in his Baakens Valley lab. It has volume, speed, is loose as a goose, yet can handle 8ft JBay without a blink. An all in one perfect-for-PE-yet-still-works-in-pumping-Jbay model. Go grab one.
ouldn't be summer without the usual assortment of critters with which to share the line-up. Some big-ass jellies about so keep a look-out.
Not so good news on the critter front is that the red tide has popped up in JBay in a big way. Calm seas, calm conditions mean the lil phytoplanton mullets wake up from their slumber.
Gone for a surf check at Rinon and struck out. Drown your sorrows with a cuppa coffee and a muffin. Not as good as a surf, but beats going home empty handed.
Plan B after not being able to surfentails reading a surf mag. Go grab the latest copy of the Boardtalk from Surf Centre or Spar, cos Local is Lekker!
Heads up for the THE BOARDROOM/CAR PARK JOHN PRO-AM on the 17 Dec at Noordhoek. Kicks off at 08h00. It''s an off-the-wall comp, so you ride anything weird. Old boards, off the shelf items (beds,cupboards,ironing boards), something homemade. Tandem allowed.
Scores are given for what you ride - the weirder it is the more points you get. Also for attire - so bring out those man-kini's.
How it works is 5 peeps a team, and it's R100 per team entry fee. Or if you can't gooi together 5 ou's, no worries- somme pitch up and you'll be put in a team. Kiff prizes to be won.
Enter by phone, facebook (tune Mervyn) or on the beach. Lots of prizes.
Staying with some comp news...Accelerate Sport, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA) are proud to announce the launch of the City Surf Series in 2017. This exciting series of internationally rated professional surfing events aims to bring a QS1000 level event to all major coastal Metro’s of South Africa. The Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City Surf Pro’s are tentatively scheduled for 7-9 April and 13-15 April respectively.
That's the wrap on yet another quite surf week in the Bay. Looks like you might need some fresh wax for end of the week though. Holding thumbs....
Caught up with master shaper Dennis Ellis from the Boardroom to find out about his new cutting edge board design, the Hopper MK2. Over to Deno:
"Making boards for Brett Hoppe has been a blast. He's so open minded,and charges in any surf which is great for feedback. If it's 1 foot Millers and he's out there for hours or 6-8 ft Supers he doesn't hold back. So I know the board is getting tested properly.
With the last 2 boards, the Hopper and now the Hoper MK2, he said let's go to town and really funk it up. The original Hopper was totally off the cuff and has a lot going on.
At first glance you can see the Tomo influence, but it has straight deep 6 channels as well as a flat deck with chimed rails. The flat deck adds massive volume without adding thickness while allowing one to have a sensitive rail. This combined with the straight rails and channels adds massive drive while the wide tail keeps it loose.
It was made with epoxy and extruded polystyrene, stringerless with carbon strips for pop. The fin placements, so vital for these types of boards was an absolute thumb suck, although a calculated one. But they worked out perfectly! Brent was stoked with it!!
With the latest board, the Hopper MK2, we had the previous board as a yardstick which makes things so much easier. Again Brett said don't hold back, which is always lekka for a shaper.
The Tomo influence is still there,with the Sci fi tail on the cutoff nose, but we went for some rail concaves for added drive and the wings act as a pivot point to loosen it up.
Coupled with a narrower tail and tweaked fin placements, I reckon this baby should be faster and looser, which is a tall order for a board that was already incredibly fast and super loose. Since the XPS foam has been discontinued, we went with an EPS core which is more buoyant and flexible. It allowed the reduction in surface area and the introduction of extra carbon for more pop.
The double carbon strip was recommended by Gary Maisch,who I've been collaborating with for a few years when it comes to alternative flex patterns. He did a lot of my Vee stringers and always returns the favour with his new stuff. Plus he's fully into alternative construction like epoxies and Poly foams, which I love.
Brett's new baby has yet to be test-driven, as he's now Pretoria-based - and when he came down to PE to fetch it the bay was doing it's best impression o fthe Vaal Dam. But as soon as Brett's had a few sessions on the Hopper MK2 there'll be a follow up article on it's performance."
(Brett weigh's in at 90kg's, to give you an idea of the board size/volume)
To celebrate the launch of the new model, Deno will be thorwing in a FREE set of Scarfini Quad fins valued at R900 with any epoxy carbon board ordered before Christmas. So tune the Boardroom asap to make sure you don't miss out.