Posted by: smithdavid | July 28, 2013


It’s a different type of session this morning at Gonubie. Back on shore the sand is almost entirely covered by umbrellas, towels and browning flesh. The lifeguard seat is manned (or womanned rather) and within the area marked by two red and yellow flags for swimming, a crowd moves along to the beat of the incoming waves, jumping up or diving under as each wave arrives, being dragged across the beach by the side wash.

busy gonubie beach...

busy gonubie beach…

Terry, Gonubie’s stalwart and sometimes grumpy head lifeguard, is out on a long board, sitting out back, watching the clean, incoming lines. Two others on short boards are also hovering – I wonder if the small waves will have enough power for them.

‘He made me come…’ says one of them, thumbing to his mate when I get close. I smile, paddle a little farther out, feel the weighty heat from the clear-sky, mid-morning sun. Terry paddles into a wave, pops-up as if it took no effort at all, rides right on the lip, hands behind his back.

The very next wave is promising. For an instant I doubt, thinking that due to the small audience, I’ll fluff my lines.

But the wave pulls at my new 8′ custom and quickly I’m up, feeling the short rush of the drop and then seeing the lip of the wave ptich and curl beside my right shoulder. If I reach out the I’ll almost touch the hip of the wave. I crouch then shift slightly so the nose of my custom runs almost parallel with the line of the wave.

I ride on, past the bathing area where in a few seconds the swimmers will duck under or jump over what is left of the wave I am on. I keep going until the water is no longer deep enough, looking up just before I jump off, seeing that I’ve reached the far end of the car park.

Then I’m back on the board again, beginning to paddle out. Something occurs to me, this board needs a name. The black ‘C’ for Clayton (the manufacturer) at eye level when paddling reminds me of listening to cassettes in my teenage room in Pretoria. I can hear the song Christine by The House of Love, I remember thinking then that if I ever had a daughter, Christiine would be her name.

Now I’m out back, sitting on Christine, the sun hot on my forehead but not burning through the layer of Island Tribe (Vaseline-like sun protection). A wave comes and I turn and paddle and it’s the same again.

someone up at gonubie point...

someone up at gonubie point…

When I finally come ashore, I notice that I was out there for three hours. Once I’ve changed into boardies and a T-shirt I sit in the shade of an umbrella at the Musclecracker (the cafe at Gonubie car park). I’m too tired to think of anything really and just watch as the waves continue to roll into the shore.


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