Sep 052011

Surfing in Cape Town can be the quirkiest of affairs. The peninsula has so many nooks and crannies, so many variations of reefs, underwater boulders, sandbanks and rocky outcrops, each of which are only prepared to give forth surf happiness under just the right conditions.

Combining all the spots would result in thousands of different combinations of tide, swell size, swell direction, wind direction and wind strength. In some cases, swell has to literally turn corners for a spot to work; in others a complicated refraction process has to happen, all dependent on swell direction and tide. Trying to get a particular spot at its optimum – or even trying to get it breaking – can be an infuriating affair that even the animated swell model predictions can’t always help with, although they can give you an inkling of what might happen.

It was with not much hope that I set out on Saturday for a surf, expecting to take a drive to check out a spot that rarely breaks and end up returning home without having surfed. ┬áThe signs weren’t great at first, but as I got closer I could see swell capping in unusual places and I knew there was a chance. When I pulled into the parking lot, a 10-foot set rolled through. There was one guy out and I couldn’t get out there quick enough. It didn’t last long, maybe an hour before the tide got too high, the swell dropped a fraction and the lulls got longer. But it was there. Fleetingly. Not perfect, nowhere near as good as it gets. But showing itself, showing that it’s still there, waiting to break perfectly again next year, or the year after, or the year after that. I hope I’m there when it does.

Saturday also saw the debut paddle of the 9.6 hollow wooden gun pictured above. I surfed it in the second half of the session when the lulls were really long and I did catch a few waves on it, but nothing very special. It paddled beautifully though. Now it’s back on my dining room wall.


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