Winter, she still be upon us for sure. Good waves, good winds, good rain. All good all round! If you ignore the specter of the nasty "C" word. Let's talk cold instead. It was cold! Air temps were frigid at times, as was the water.
Supers was super, and even Pipe was pucker. Millers was moody (and crowded), and Avo's was above average.
The wildside was most certainly wild, but also had some decent surf for those that knew ehere to look.
Even the locals caught a few family waves.
The secret spot at the end of the road had some fun, albeit, windy barrels on offer. Also water cold enough to turn you into a penguin.
North of the equator no such issues with cold tempretures. Swell going off it's pip. Double overhead for most of the week.
The PE boys stuck at Nias aren't complaining. Plenty of XL size shacks and no-one to share them with.
Still some perfect mornings in among the wind n rain. Just have to be motivated to get up to enjoy them!
You know when you can count upwards of 40 chokka boats hiding in the bay the weather is not so lekker!
Funky weather does give rise to some awesome cloud displays though. Here's the same cloud - captured by Luc at Schoenies and by Gideon at the Boardwalk.
Open ocean conditions during this season can be challenging! The container ships leaving the relative protection of Algoa Bay to head round Cape Recife take a pounding as they round the corner.
The "C" issue means a new form of litter now collecting on our beaches. Face masks should be on your face and not on the sand!
Nothing cooler than a Vee-dub as your surf caddy. Looks like this one is visiting from Somerset West?
Vintage shot from 1920 of the bathing pool at Happy Valley. Surf at Hummies back then must have been so good with regular washouts from the Sark River pushing nice sandbanks out there.
That's it for the week. Here's hoping this coming week keeps the ball rolling.
(PS - blame CarPark John for the cold weather. He caught a coupla waves last week - which is why it must be snowing! Great to hear the ballie finding his groove again)
Hello winter. You been a long time coming, but hell, you were worth waiting for! The whole of the East Cape was off it's pip. JBay seeing some of the best swell in years. And the irony is that the WSL Corona Classic woulda been on right now had it not been corona-crazy-times. There's always a silver lining to every dark cloud. Locals got to enjoy epic conditions without having to compete with the world's best. Only the Kaapie blow-in's to have to worry about.
PE also had some great surf. Wind was an issue at times, as usual. But also some good days between the windy one's. Check out the Latest Shots for some pics from Pipe and Avo's.
St Francis also had a few decent one's, plus a few bone crunchers for those that enjoyed hollow one's that ended with a free sand enema.
The big swells combined with the spring tides were the final death knell for the sand spit that separates the ski canal from the beach, and the sand dunes were breached. Hopefully the council will stop dragging it's feet now and allow the building of the groynes to proceed.
North of the equator has been getting it's fair share. Not sure if I'll be able to deal with wetsuits and frigid water again.
Coupla PE boys scoring uncrowded Nias right now. Josh & Dean thinking they've lucked into some parallel universe. Absolutely bombing Nias and just a handful of guys in the water.
Tales of a close encounter during the week. Shane and her dad scored a late arvo solo sesh at the Pier. Water was pretty murky but fun peelers on offer so out they went. Chris got a wave in and Shane thought she's scored cos would catch the last wave of the day
Next thing something large bumped up against her leg - she looked down and there was a fin right next to her! She isn't sure how big it was cos the water was so murky, but says she has a Great Dane and the midriff on this guy was certainly bigger than that. Needless to say walking on water was an understatement!
As well as lekker waves, plenty of lekker sunrises and sunsets about. Winter is a beautiful beast.
And not to be outdone, the moon decided to get in on the act as well.
And that's the wrap on a moerse lekker week.
How many days of lockdown now? Who knows. Just a moerse long time for ou's to be stuck without their saltwater fix. Luckily not too much happening this week so don;t stress out that you missed anything. Probably the only time in history that surfers are praying for it to be flat.
JBay had a few lil slides, but nothing much really in the way of swell for now. Hopefully everyone is keeping their glide on with the skateboard or even trolley hopping at the supermarket. Just careful to keep your distance from the tannie in the aisle ahead.
Plenty of sunrise beach photo's these days, seeing as everyone has to be up at sparrows for their "get outta jail" time.
You know it's winter approaching when the sunrise shifts round the corner from Pipe and you can see it behind Chomp Rock.
It eventually had to happen. Someone had to crack. So as lockdown restrictions were lifted to allow for outdoor activity this guy decided to head out for a surf at Pipe. Unfortunately for him the police decided that despite the 1000 ou's walking along the boardwalk, the one ou in the surf was a helluva big problem. So he got a R2000 fine for his efforts. Not sure the surf looked worth the price.
There had been a social media campaign calling on surfers to protest against the no-surf ban, but after the weekend's arrest there weren't too many takers for the PE one. Just Andre Venter and Chris Taljaard showed up at the pier to highlight the bay surfers objections. Everyone owes them a few waves when life returns to normal.
The crews out at St Francis, Port Alfred and down the road in Bluewater Bay also came out to support the cause.
Despite the flack the surfing community picked up from the general public about wanting to be allowed back in the waves and the perceived selfishness of it all, there are surfers out there who are really making a community contribution during these challenging times.
Chokka Trahms, Dylan Lightfoot and their mates in JBay started the #letsfeedJBay project and are distributing food parcels to the needy in the area. David McGregor and his crew in Port Alfred are doing the same thing for their local community with their Ndlambe Lockdown Support project. Props to all those making a difference!
The high tides of the supermoon meant some more sand whipped away from the already endangered spit in St Francis. Luckily there wasn;t big swell coupled with the full moon else the ou's with homes on the ski canal could have ended up more sea front that they expected. Work is underway to shore up the sand dunes in the area and hopefully proceed with the construction of groynes in future.
The closest you can get to surfing in PE right now is to stand on the end of the Pipe and mind surf the waves rolling though. Gonna be a scrum out there the first day ou's allowed back in the water!
Everyone will have to remember their social distancing. Like the dew drops on the Pipe boardwalk in the pic below.
So instead of now tuning someone for snaking you, it will be telling 'em to keep their 1.5m distance. Interesting times ahead.
Hopefully light at the end of the rainbow sooner rather than later. Salt water fixes are needed.
If you love surfing you also love things that make your surfing life easier. And the GoDry wetsuit hanger does just that.
A really simple, yet clever, mobile hanging device so you can dry your wettie wherever you're at. No more having to find a fence or a branch or a bush to hang your rubber on. Instead you just stick the GoDry on the side of your cabbie and there you have it - the perfect wetsuit drying spot!
Cos let's face it - hang the wettie on a fence and you gonna end up with a nail rip in it, or hang it in the tree or on the bush and next time you pull it on you realise you ain't the only occupant! Cue the nice big hairy spider who has made a happy home in the sleeve....
Wayne from R-evolve ZA is the SA distributor of the GoDry wetsuit hanger and gave me one to test drive.
Not only does the GoDry work a treat when you out for a surf and can dry your wettie on your car, but it is also a great option for a convenient place to dry your suit at home. No more puddles on the bathroom floor - just pop this guy up in the shower and bam - dry suit and no mess. Also means you won't rust your towel rail!
Plus the way it lets your suit hang means it's not like a traditional hanger that ends up poking holes through the shoulders of your suit. Instead your suit is folded in half as it hangs over the nicely sized rail - and it means no pressure on your suit - and dried in half the time.
Let's take a quick look at what you get in the box:
Super easy to put it all together and stick on your surface. Even the non-technically minded can manage. Of course, once I'd hung one wettie on it I immediately wanted to see if it could handle more! So on went the second wettie - and no issues, hung onto the wall like a limpet still.
I'd recommend setting it up in your shower so it can drip in there - but for purposes of taking some pics I just had it up on the bathroom wall.
To dry your suit after a sesh just attach the GoDry to the side of your car. It extends far enough away from the attachment point so that it keeps your salty suit well away from your vehicle, so no risk of rust!
You can choose whether to dry your suit in the sun or shade - just pick the appropriate side of your car. Too easy. The design promotes air flow around your suit so gets it dry in the shortest time possible.
The GoDry is super light, and dismantles for easy storage. It really is a pretty damn useful piece of kit.
Tune Wayne at R-evolve ZA if you'd like to get your hands on one.
Hai-bo. The waves keep pumping. And no-one can surf. FOMO has never been more real. But as with all things, this to will pass. So don't focus on what you missing, rather focus on what you can gain during these crazy times. Get stuff done, learn stuff, chill, read, relax. The waves will still be there after all this passes.
Despite the platitudes, JBay did pump off it's pip. Like proper. No-one out cos I reckon if you tried to pull that the locals would politely explain the error of your ways to you.
PE also got some kiff lines rolling through. Everyone in the Bay behaving as well. No attempts at a skelm surf. The not-so-secret spot our west was also doing it's thing.
North of the equator, a little chain of islands also benefits once JBay cooks. What wraps around the coast of SA gets up there 5-6 days later. In this part of the world it's more like locked in not locked down.
Despite the lock down the shipping industry seems to be going on as usual. Luc Hosten is currently restricted to his rooftop in Schoenies, and luckily for us as he shoots the ships a byproduct is some nice surf in the foreground.
Been a bit of wintery weather starting. Big winds, chilly conditions. That's when instead of you envying the freedom of the boats, they're envying your nice warm bed.
Luc is still keeping the shots flowing from the wildside in spite of having to climb onto his roof every day to shoot. SABC popped past the other day to do an interview up there with him.
A proper SW buster accompanied the last cold front. The bay at Jefferies looked like an invasion of white walkers.
The big swell and super high spring tides put the spit in St Francis under some pressure. Not much remains of the sliver of sanddune keeping the sea from the ski canal. Ou's in the front row of houses could soon be a bit more sea-front than anticipated.
Some things change and some stay the same. We might be stuck indoors but the dolphins still do their daily cruise along the beachfront.
Pipe seems to have had some fun surf most days last week. Imagine how many waves have gone unridden!
Dennis Eliis at the Boardroom has been keeping busy. Some lekker looking hand shaped fins, and some rad sticks on the production line. Get your post-lockdown orders in!
Andre Venter keeps his salt water froth alive by checking the Fence from his telescope. He spotted something weird on the beach, which turned out to be a dead pygmy whale. The Oceanarium ou's came to sort it out. (pic taken with cell phone through telescope which is what gives it the very arty "Morning of the Earth" feel. Good classic surf flik that - give it a watch).
Just another deserted beach shot. Imagine how all the little ecosystems along the beachfront are recovering nicely in the absence of humans.
Another week of lock down done and dusted. Hang in there peeps. Not long to go.
Woohoo - Neptune delivered. After months of scraps the ocean finally decided to deliver the goods. Yes, the timing was kak - with lockdown looking, but at least it gave ou's the chance to get their salt water injection before time in purgatory.
JBay and St Francis were going off their pips, and PE also had good surf altho you got your pip blown off with it. Pomping wind as usual.
But then this irritating bloody thing called COVID-19 decided to come put a spanner in the works, and as part of flattening the curve SA implemented a lock down. So - cooking waves - can't surf them. Although some mullets tried to. And got their asses handed to them for their efforts.
Firstly a visiting Yank doctor decided lock down didn't apply to him and surfed cooking Supers on Day 1 of Lockdown. JBay locals were NOT happy with his rather pathetic "I didn't know excuse" (as in JBay is pumping and you are the ONLY person out there - doesn't take massive powers of deduction to work out you taking the piss). Anyway - his name is now gat and am pretty sure the locals will teach him some manners.
Some ou's also tried to sneak out at Bruce's and were promptly called in by locals and left in no doubt they shouldn't be doing that.
Day 2 of lockdown and JBay was still cooking, so some more mullets decided they were special and went for a surf. NSRI herded them in and the SAPS gave them a free lift to the station, where they had a choice of 6 months jail or a R5000 fine. Expensive surf!
Tempting as it may be - don't be the doos that thinks somehow you are special and can sneak out for a surf. Your erroneous theory that you are more than a metre from anyone else would then also apply to tennis, golf, kiteboarding - you get the picture....
So in the absence of humans there were some cool drone shots to be had, taken by Renaldo Gouws (flying from his home!)
Usually what happens when you get a new board then Neptune laughs at you and it goes flat for weeks. Jamie Morris got his new stick from Matt McLeod and instead got rewarded with the 16 second period swell - which of course would have been great - but ah, lockdown....
Usually you get excited when you see this. Not as much when you know you can't surf it.
Going to be lots of dawn patrols, lunchtime sesh's and after work surfs that go a-begging for the time being.
If you getting bored during lock down, pleases make the effort to submit an objection to the fish farm off Coega harbour. Kak idea right next to the marine reserve and St Croix island with it's unique biodoversity. Check all the details here:
Local legend CarPark John turned 21 again this week. Tune the ballie some birthday wishes. Also just drop him a line every coupla days to say howzit, as he is pretty bored being stuck at home and away from his beloved carpark (and free Beershack wifi!). You can buzz him on 0824407334.
Despite the mission of lock down, it's just temporary, so stay safe, obey the rules (despite most of us not being good with rules), and guess what - in a few weeks time when you allowed out to play again there will still be waves. Use the down time wisely. Be positive and proactive. Stay fit. Stay smiling!
Last chance to appeal against the fish farm at Coega!
If you are already registered as an I&AP from the original fish farm protest, please read the below as to how to re-submit a new appeal. If you are NOT a registered I&AP, you can STILL contribute. Just send your objections to email@example.com, and he will consolidate them into the WESSA appeal.
From Gary, who runs the Algoa Bay WESSA branch:
We will appeal against the plans of a fish farm off the northern beaches (between Nqgura harbour and St Croix island), as the commercial cage fishing would not be a sustainable development practice within this biodiversity hotspot. If you would like to lodge an appeal yourself or contribute, please see the message below.
“If you are a registered interested and affected party (you would have received an e-mail from the EAP - Anchor Environmental - recently informing you of the decision), please consider submitting your OWN appeal before close of business on Thursday 19 March 2020. We need as many persons to submit original appeals as is possible. Please see details below on how to submit such an application. If you are not a registered I&AP, please forward you comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 18 March and we’ll incorporate it into our consolidated appeal.
Please find enclosed the WESSA Algoa Bay Branch’s guide to completing an appeal against the Algoa Bay ADZ. To repeat, appeals need to be submitted by close of business on the 19 March 2020. It is an onerous process, so we’ve tried to simplify what must be done. So put some time aside to go through the rigmarole. Feel free to circulate it as a WESSA ABB guide to the appeal.
There are several attachments. The first is the WESSA guide, read that first. Then there’s the DEFF appeal form and DEFF questionnaire that we’ve combined into one document for you to complete. This is the key document to submit. We’ve included the EA record of decision (DEFF saying yes to the application), the DEFF guidelines (that duplicates the questionnaire) and the EAP’s (Anchor Environmental) own document. Please note the appeal must raise specific issues you believe the EAP or DEFF have failed to consider or were unaware of in coming to the decision.”
To note: we’re working off the basis that only registered I&AP’s appeals will be considered, but giving input to an organisation already registered and they then submit a consolidated input is possible, There is an outside possibility non-registered I&AP’s will be considered, so would encourage persons to submit an appeal, but be fully aware that their appeal may be rejected on technical grounds.
WESSA ABB will focus our appeal on the fish farm proposal for the Ngqura harbour - St Croix area (we’ll send you our reasons under a separate email), we won’t oppose the bivalve for PE harbour north and off Kings Beach - Pollok based on the conditions within the EA. But we do suggest you think through the access issue for sea traffic off the southern beach zone (check out the GPS co-ordinates specifically in the EA).
WESSA ABB Chairperson
PS - that's a photoshopped image I posted for April Fool's a few years ago!
What was meant to be a less than stellar week still managed to throw out a few gems nonetheless. The heat was enough to inspire most peeps to go for a paddle. Hot as Hades. Water temps are peachy too. A pre-dawn start to the day and drive out to Jeffery's saw Pieter-Ben getting shacked.
The bay didn't do too badly either. Sunday was the pick of the bunch with an unexpected south west blowing through. Pier had some cookers and Fence did it's thing late arvo.
Cape Town had it's fair share too. Their Noordhoek is a lot better surf spot than our one, albeit about 15C colder! An unlucly rider about to rinse and spin in the Hoek. Probably one of the most awesome places to watch surfing - like a lil rocky amphitheater. Surfed there a few times back in the day. #$^%& freezing.
Fasten your seatbelts. The first WSL BIg Wave challenge at Nazare had a green light for Tuesday. The black blob will detonate in Portugal with what is expected to be light winds. So tune in for some insane big wave charging. Maybe the biggest wave ever ridden? The weather system that is causing the swell also set some other records. A BA Boeing flying from NY to London shaved over an hour off the fastest time recorded to date thanks to the pomping winds on it's tail.
The Wildside had some waves as usual (not often it's flat!) A few misty mornings though so you had to know where to go.
If you've been eating all your carrots and your night vision is up to scratch there was the chance to get some zero crowd waves under the glare of the full moon.
One of PE's hottest surfers Bruce Campbell continues to rip local breaks to shreds (and do incredibly well in triathlons, bike races and adventure races) despite having a rare disease called Pompe Disease. the disease is a rare genetic disease characterized by the abnormal buildup of a sugar molecule called glycogen inside cells. This buildup impairs the working of different organs and tissues, especially the heart, respiratory, and skeletal muscles. Bruce has to be hospitalised for enzyme replacement every 2 weeks. Despite the huge and ongoing challenge Bruce remains incredibly active and always has a smile on his face. Inspiration for us all!
Summer time is log time. If the bay is flat just whip out the big stick and get in your car.
Some epic sunrises this week. Wednesday's took the cake.
Groms got to do their thing at Pipe in the Grom Game trials. Lighties froth no matter what the conditions are like.
The windless conditions for most of the week meant ou's could paddle out to the Bell Bouy on the sheet glass lake that the Bay became.
Given the rising fuel prices, JBay's Arman Perez-Pou has got the solutions sorted. Horse power for the win!
No waves, no problem, just stay prone and get slotted! Which you might need to do this week cos not a helluva lot on the forecast.
Apologies for the hiatus in the weekly blogs - but was off the grid for nearly 3 months in Maldives and Indo. Lots of fun waves, no internet though!
Here's a collection of random shots from the PE coastline and surrounds taken during the holidays, wasn't much in the way of waves. Guys reckon the worst summer for surf in living memory! The decent days could be counted on one hand. Rest of the time it looked like the Vaal dam.
Let's start with Luc Hosten, snapping away along the wild side.
Holidays are the time of celebrations, and the beachfront lit up with the annual fireworks display, shots by Morne Condon.
St Francis also got into the swing of things with the Anything that Floats event on the canals, apparently about 2000 peeps participated! Shots by Chris Scott and Elzabe Boschoff.
PE was wave starved and the usual suspects down the N2 didn't fare much better, although there were some good days! A few from St Francis by Chris Scott.
JBay did manage to flip the switch a few times. Late Jan shots by Robbie Irlam.
And don't think Robbie only knows about surfing from behind the lens, he used to be a hot surfer himself back in the day - here's one from the archives of him charging Vic Bay.
Heather Nel always gets some kiff shots during her beach walks and got these over the holiday period. Least the dolphins didn't seem to mind the lack of surf.
Another regular on the beach every morning is Dave Randle, who snaps the sunrise surfers at Pipe most days. Ou's are lucky to have their own private photag.
CarPark John got himself a new stick after plenty of nagging from everyone to go longer and get a mini-mal. But after a few surfs the ballie decided he wasn't yet ready to join the long length/high volume revolution after getting dragged like a lure back to the beach after a clean up set at Pipe.
He has happily now returned back to his original board and Dave Randle is the lucky new owner of CPJ's short-lived foray into the world outside the short board. Old habits die hard!
Visiting JHB photag Leigh Reider got some lekker drone and shore shots whilst he was down in the bay for holidays. You can check his gallery here:
So that's the wrap on the summer season, back to the normal hum-drum of the new year now, so blogging returns to it's regular Monday slot from next week.
Surfing. She be a cruel master. One week feast. Followed by plenty weeks famine. That's why you gotto gorge yourself when there are waves. Cos it has to last a loooong time til they come back again. Still some tiny fun one's about if you happy to duck for cover.
Summer days mean making the effort to travel a bit further to find the waves. And to make things easier - it helps to have a longboard as well.
Not everywhere along the coastline was flat though. The Wild Coast sucks up pretty much any bump in the ocean and it had some decent lil peelers recently. Cape St Francis's Stan Badger happy to have swapped one right point for another.
Here's why it's gone flat! John Scheepers has a new board. We all know the "new board" curse. Lay your hands on that shiny new stick, and it goes flat for ages! Kinda like getting a cool battery operated car for Christmas - just without the batteries.
John has finally decided to try out a mini-mal, after much nagging and cajoling from all and sundry. So expect to see the oldest grom in the 'hood cruising past you on his yellow pocket rocket from the Boardroom.
#localislekker! And it's double as lekker when an Oos-Kaap ou makes the World Surf League big time. Congrats to JBay's Matthew John McGillivray for cracking the elite tour for next year. Like a stealth bomber he snuck up the QS ratings all year to peak in Hawaii and lay claim to his possie. Check it out here...
JBay artist and board spray maestro Stephen van der Watt is also an accomplished kneelo. Stevo kicked ass in the recent SA Kneeboard champs and as winner of the Grand Masters division is now part of the SA team going to New Zealand for the World Champs. It's gonna be Stevo's first flight - pretty good planning to make sure your first flight is halfway round the world!
No waves, No problem. Get down to the beach anyway cos the sunrises and sunsets are worth the effort.
Sustainable Sea's recently did a litter survey at Cape Recife. One of the many pieces of rubbish retrieved was this old Cadbury's Crunchie wrapper. These were last made in 2004. Hate to know what this world is gonna look like 100 years from now. One big junk pile methinks. Pack your trash peeps. And pick up other ou's trash too.
Throw back to a good day at Fence - James Jones on a screamer, and very stoked that Kody McGregor was on hand to catch the moment.
Could be a lil wave or two this week. Cross your fingers and toes.