Posted by: smithdavid | September 15, 2013


Phil and I walk along the promenade at Surfers Corner, Muizenberg. Lifestyle Surf Shop is closed but, to be fair, it’s not even eight yet – Phil and Loraine don’t do sleeping in and, as I’m their guest in Fish Hoek, neither do I. We’ve a wedding to get to later but both Phil and I are determined to get a surf in first.

We try one of the other shops, pulling long boards out the racks, looking them up and down. But the boards are pretty dinged up and the girl behind the counter is uncertain about long term hire costs. We go back out, mumbling about coming back later maybe.

Now there is some activity outside Lifestyle, someone has come in from a surf and is opening the shop.

‘Sorry, stayed in a little longer than I meant to…’ says the Lifestyle guy.



‘No problem,’ I say, despite the fact that my anxiousness to get in and surf had me cursing Lifestyle for not being open just ten minutes ago. ‘I’m looking to hire a board…’

‘Follow me…’ the Lifestyle guy says, moving to the back of the shop.

‘I’ve been on an 8′ for the last while…’ I say thinking first of Christine and then of how pride got the better of me the last time I was here and I ended up with a 7’2″ that I struggled to catch waves with.

‘Ja, okay, lets see…’ he says, looking through boards. ‘Mmm, yes, you’re a pretty athletic looking guy…’

‘Ja, right!’ says Phil, sniggering.

‘Okay, here’s an 8’2″,’ says the Lifestyle guy, smiling a little but pretending not to have heard Phil. He passes me a yellow, sharp nosed board. I read the specifications penciled just above the rocker – 8’2″x22’x2 3/4′. It won’t be quite as floaty as Christine but it’s probably as close as it’s going to get.

‘Athletic looking guy?!’ says Phil when we get outside, ‘is that guy on drugs?’

‘Leave the man, he knows what he’s talking about…’ I say.

Soon we’re suited up. I stretch for a while, chatting to Loraine who has set up to catch some sun on the beach. Phil is already guiding his SUP into the wash.

Now I’m paddling out, the hire board seems easy to paddle, I get through seven or eight waves, then sit up to take a break. I see that I’m only half way out back and that there’d probably be a good fifteen minutes of paddling to get all the way there. A wave nearby seems to be reforming so I turn and paddle, the memories of the peg I was taken down on the 7’2″ alive in my mind. The wave pulls on the board and I try to pop-up but I never get set and fall back into the sea.

swell lines at muizenberg

swell lines at muizenberg

I’m hoping Loraine isn’t watching – with all the talk I’ve been doing about surfing I don’t want to have a session where I catch nothing.

Another wave reforms just in front of me and I turn and paddle again and feel the pull. This time I pop-up straight away and stay up, feeling that now familiar weightlessness.

And so goes the session – paddle halfway out, catch a wave back to the shore, paddle halfway out, catch a wave.

I see Phil from time to time. He stands, crouched slightly, on the board, catching waves way farther out than I am.

I don’t see him for a while but keep on catching waves, feeling light and maybe even athletic.


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