After being a spectacularly dismal month for surf in the bay, July redeemed itself at the last minute. Friday 31st saw some smokers filling in round Cape Recife and lighting up Rincon through to Millers. Late morning through to just after lunch saw the best combo of size and tide, despite the wind making things tricky. As the arvo rolled on and the tide filled in things quietened down appreciably, although still plenty of fun rides to be had.
Bit of a taster of what was to come late Thursday afternoon, but you had to be fairly unfussy about the effort/reward ratio of your surf, cos although there were some big 'un's coming through, you had to negotiate insane cross chop and needed quads like Bruce Campbell just to maintain. When even the "paddle-like-Duracell-bunny" groms can't get onto sets cos of the chop then you know things are a mission.
Pretty obvious if PE's firing them Jbay's off the Richter. And it was. Varying between 8 - 12ft all day the locals reckon it was one of the best days all year. There were already 40 ou's in the water at first light.
The big surf handed out it's fair share of beatings, and took it's toll on boards as well. With finless aficionado Derek Hynd looking philosophical about turning his 8ft'r into two 4 ft'r's. Sometimes "two for the price of one" isn't a good thing.
It wasn't only boards getting busted, there were some finger casualties as well. Emma Smith had an altercation with some razor sharp mussels whilst she paddled in at the gully, and came off second best - and 4 stitches down.
Certainly no doubting that winter's well and truly here after some icy says and equally icy water. Quite a few days last week saw the mercury hovering at around 14C - John was out testing the temp's at Denvils on a regular basis with his trusty pool thermometer.
Frozen feet resulted in finally succumbing to getting a pair of the famous Jbay-made Instep suede sheepskin lined boots. No idea why I never bought some years ago, flipping amazing things that keep your feet warm as toast. Hot buttered toast. Big Dave reckons his wife has had hers for 15 years, so they're definitely an investment! Grab em at a surf shop near you.
Right place right time saw Antionette Morkel snap these kiff shots of the Rincon rocket powered shark last Sunday. She'd been standing on the rocks at Blackbottoms shooting the surfers, when she saw something jumping out at the backline. Assuming it was a whale she aimed her camera out there and got some shots of what turned out to be a Thresher shark. Apparently they're harmless, and really shy. But would still give you a lekker skrik if they happened to take to the air nearby!
© Antionette Morkel
Some lekker new benches up at Seals thanks to Seal Point Boardriders and Billabong. Look like the perfect design to cope with the spring tide big swell surges! Hopefully they stay put on land though and don't end up floating in the line-up. Another new addition is the Surf Rules board. Read it. Apply it. All it takes is one muppet to ruin a session for everyone else. Don't be that muppet.
© Richard Arderne
Good luck to all our NMBS team riders who'll be making the trek northwards to Richard's Bay for the Citroen SA Surfing Champs that kick off on Monday 3rd August. Both the Open and the Masters will be surfing there, so expect some old school meets new school to go down.
Next years SA Champs will see the inclusion of a team from Gauteng. Say howzit to Joburg Boardriders, the brainchild of Nathan Gernetsky. The ou's are keen to have some get-togethers in the Big Smoke, to keep the stoke alive, as well as organise some surf/skate missions and watch some surf flicks. So if you're a surfer stuck in Joey's then get in touch with a crew of like-minded individuals and stop yourself going nuts up there.
Whilst we've been dodging polar bears, Grant Beck did a sneaky lil mission up to Sri Lanka to judge at the Red Bull #RideMyWave surf champs held at Arugam Bay. Not having had enough of warm water and sunny skies, he took the hour long flight over to Maldives to say howzit to his bro Brad, who's surf guiding over there. Wish he coulda brought some sunshine & warm water home in his boardbag.....
JBay local Dylan Lightfoot was on an absolute tear at the Van's US Open Pro Junior event at Huntington last week - he blitzed through to the semi's, where he unfortunately didn't make it through. But lotsa valuable ranking points added to the tally. Next stop, France.
Get your froth on for the upcoming Cobble's Classic. If you've got a traditional single fin log, and love to nose ride and do all things old school then this is for you. It goes down at Cobbles, Cape Recife, from 24-27 Sept. Get those entries in! Kiff prizes, kiff vibe, kiff people...make a plan to pull in. (Entry forms here)
There's some peeps (like me) who are anal about packing boards when travelling. Mine get a custom-made extra-padding-like-the-Michelin Man baggage-handler and bomb-proof boardbag. And then you get ou's like Stan. Seals local and Mentawaii surf guide Stanley Badger takes a minimalist (or fatalistic) approach to flying with boards. Apparently gladwrap has super potent ninja-like thermonucleur protection qualities. Or not. They just wouldn't let him on the plane with the board uncovered so he appeased em by cling wrapping it!
Local surfer Amba Holmes has swapped surfing Pipe for crewing on an 80ft cat in the Med. Not a shabby swap! Specially when you run into some smart lil dingy's like this one. Known as "A", and designed for a Russian billionaire by legendary interior & product designer Phillipe Starck, she was a bargain at $300 mil bucks. Apparently now owned by a supermodel.
The majority of the pro circus left town straight after the end of the JBay event, but some stuck around. Like this familiar figure heading out at Supers during Friday's big swell. Local JBay lens-man Robbie Irlam was stoked to chat to the King whilst he made his way back up the beach after his sesh - and said he was lank impressed with what a lekker guy he was. Kelly is King! Long live the King.
Speaking of legends, on Thursday last week it was a year since local PE legend Vaughan Jones left us. Obviously Mr Jones is keeping a close eye on things from up there, cos he sent through some of the best surf all year to mark his anniversary. Hopefully everyone caught a wave for him. Gone but not forgotten.
The week ended quietly in the bay, although if you went searching the wild sides of the coastline nearby you were richly rewarded. Like Twig and crew. Rumour has it Kelly was watching from the hill, but didn't get in. Peaks and no walls. Still, a good sized peak nonetheless.