Posted by: smithdavid | December 2, 2012

Talk About Surfing

I turned off the dual lanes of the M2 at Somerset West. I skirted around Strand and then Gordon’s Bay. Then it was the winding R44 towards Betty’s Bay and just farther on Kleinmond. This path contains all the ingredients for a dramatic ocean view: elevation; turquoise water than runs into deep blue farther out; the hazy, jagged edges of mountains across the bay. The sense of space and tranquility reminded me of my time in Sicily earlier in the year.

I’m wondering, as I drive down the main road in Kleinmond, at which road to turn to get to EV’s parents’ place. But then I see a junction and I know.

The Viljoens are around the patio table when I enter the yard. Hannes (EV’s Dad) stands and smiles when he sees me.

kleinmond beach


‘Welcome back,’ he says. ‘Ek weet nie hoe jy kan in daai ander plek woon wanneer jy kan hierso woon,’ (I don’t understand why you are living in London when you could be living here). It feels like only a few days have passed since I saw him here last. But it’s been nearly a year.

EV grins beneath his shades and nods vigorously when I see him.

Ja Ou Perd…’ he says. There’s a big bromance hug and, before I know it, a Windhoek Lager in my hand. I have to drink quickly because EV is already strapping his custom and my hire board to the roof racks on his car.

Now we’re in the car park at Betty’s. My O’Neill wetsuit slides on, I smile when I remember exhausting myself getting into the Purple Turtle last year.

It’s an easy paddle out. There’s only one other surfer out, so it’s a line-up of three. I paddle for a few waves but the yellow biscuit doesn’t catch. EV makes a few, the other surfer too. It’s just because I’m tired from surfing Muizenburg earlier that I’m not making waves, I tell myself, not wanting a bad session to set the tone for our surfari.

EV beckons for me to join him farther down the beach. ‘You trying to take them too late,’ he says. ‘I just want you to feel what it’s like to take one early once…you just need one and  then you’ll know…’ He’s talking about getting a wave early enough to take ‘the drop’ (when you ride down the face of the wave).

betty's bay

the third in the betty’s bay line-up

‘This one, this one,’ he says. We paddle, there is a pull. But the wave jacks up quickly and then dumps me. When I surface, I see EV has been dumped too and I don’t feel so bad.

I go through the whole session without making a wave. It’s just that I’m tired, I tell myself again. But something is nagging me about the yellow biscuit. I’ve been doing this for a year, I should be able to handle this board, I think.

We go to Kleinmond Beach later with EV’s family. The sun is dipping, the sand has taken on the hue of the golden light. EV is stooiing (wrestling) with his ten year old nephew. It’s hard to know who’s having more fun.

Later the rest of them leave. EV and I stay on. For a while we debate the three absolute essentials one should have in a girlfriend. We’re laughing because as each of us endures another failed relationship, so the three essentials become revised yet again.

‘We’re the ultimate stragglers,’ I say, referring to the fact that of our intersecting circles of friends, we’re the only two not married or about to be married.

We shrug our shoulders and chuckle.

Then we sip our Windhoeks and talk about surfing.

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