Posted by: smithdavid | October 28, 2012

Circling the Counsciousness

I’m a little concerned as we snake along Boyes Drive.  Throughout lunch in Simonstown I didn’t notice a hint of swell in Kalk Bay. I’m thinking that once we begin the descent into Muizenburg, I’ll look over the cliff edge and see that there isn’t even a ripple of a wave.

‘Mmm, there are normally a few waves in the bay…’ says Aunt Joy as she looks down to our right, where the sea is about a hundred yards below. The sun is bright outside and people are sauntering along the streets, there is no need to rush at this time of year. I only landed this morning so there is plenty of time. Still, I’d love to have a good session this afternoon; it’s been three months since I surfed last.

Through another corner and now I can see down along the coast. To the right of Muizenburg Beach’s brightly coloured, trademark beach huts are a series of long, white streaks running parallel to the shore. There will be something worth getting in for.

muizenburg’s trademark huts

Now we’re in Lifestyle Surf Shop, in Surfer’s Corner. I’ talking hire boards with Craig, who works there, Aunt Joy is looking through the various surf gear with great enthusiasm, exclaiming here and there.

‘I’ve got a 7’3” super fish; was on a 7’4” mini-mal before that,’ I tell Craig. ‘Hmmm, maybe a biscuit, we’ve a couple just over 7’, people usually come down a few inches when they go to a biscuit, they’re very buoyant…’ says Craig.

That’s what I need, I’m thinking. Ridiculously, my pride is telling me that with another solid week of surfing under my belt, I’ll be ready for a short board.

Get the longest board you can, EV told me when we discussed our upcoming surfari. But I’m convinced that with all the surfing I’ve done in the last year and all the pop-ups I’ve done in London, that the ocean owes me success on a shorter board.

foolishly thinking i’m owed success, like this, on a short board…

Craig tapes masking tape with my name on it to a 7’2” yellow biscuit so that it will not be rented out to anyone else. Aunt Joy and I discuss whether it will be better for her to go home or to wait for me while I surf. We decide home is best.

When I get back, something is amiss on the beach. No-one is in the sea and people are standing on the sand and the wall at the end of the car park and looking towards the water. Near a look-out hut a white flag with the black figure of a shark flaps in the wind. ‘When you see the white flag, get out a quickly as you can…’ Craig said earlier of the shark watch. ‘They stand up on Boyes Drive to look for them…’

I go back into Lifestyle. ‘So a white flag means surf away?’ I say to one of the young guys behind the counter. His eyes widen briefly and then he smiles. ‘Does this mean the beach is shut for the rest of the day?’ I ask.

‘Nah, should be fine in half an hour or so…’ he says. Now it’s my eyes that widen. ‘Don’t worry, there’s more chance of being hit by a taxi…’ he says when he sees my expression.

The thought of sharks in the South African waters has circled my consciousness since I planned this trip. Like my own mortality, it’s something I’ve deferred giving serious thought to. It’s different now.



  1. So pretty. Love this photo!

  2. The guy that got his legs munched off on Fishhoek beach last year is one of our friends… those great white beasts mean business!

    • pretty firghtening stuff, have to respect the ocean and all its inhabitants…

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