Posted by: smithdavid | September 29, 2013

As it is now

It’s slow going on the M14, we’ve hit rush hour traffic. We couldn’t surf in Cape Town, EV checked the surf reports – the west side was blown out and the east flat.  We’re hoping that there might be some kind of wave at Blouberg.

But as we approach the boulevard we see dozens and dozens of kites being pulled by the wind.

‘If there are that many kiteboarders out it’s not gonna be any good for us…’ says EV.

‘Maybe it’ll be okay…’ I say, without conviction.

As the beach comes into view I see the white slop of blown out waves. The kiteboarders are reveling in the wind, scything sharp lines in the wash.


kites at blouberg

‘Keep on to Melkbos, it’s not too much farther on…’ says EV.

When we pull up at the deserted boulevard I notice that it’s been over an hour since we left Camps Bay. We stand for a while, looking at the shape of the waves.

‘Ja, it’s sheltered here,’ says EV. He keeps his eyes on the sea. ‘You could get barreled (riding in the hollow tube that a fast-breaking wave makes) here, you know…’

Something inside me goes a little quicker. Riding a wave in the tube is my surfing ambition.

Once we’re suited up EV starts unpacking everything in the boot. ‘You seen my leash?’

I shake my head. He takes one last look. ‘Oh, well, I’ll just use the strap off your roof racks…’ he says. Just about everyone else I’ve surfed with would’ve said that they couldn’t go in at this point. EV grins and tries the strap around his ankle.

There’s a cross-shore wind blowing as we walk down to the sea, I have to hold the 8’2″ hire board tightly. It’s cold when we get in the water, EV has a hoodie on. I’ve left my booties in Fish Hoek and my hoodie in London.

The waves are powerful and it’s not an easy paddle out back. But my fitness is decent and I get there in the end. I sit up for a while to rest, the wind drives me farther up north, away from the take-off point.

It doesn’t take EV long to catch a wave, he’s up quickly and weaving. The makeshift leash seems no hindrance.

kiteboarder reveling...

kiteboarder reveling…

Now I have to start paddling to get back to where I can catch a wave. After a while there is one that I can make and I turn and paddle for it. But the easy take-off and drop into a barrel that I hoped for doesn’t materialize. Instead the board rushes unsteadily and I have to improvise to get up. But up I get and I’m satisfied that I’ve made the wave, even if it was with little elegance.

When I jump off the board I’m in the impact zone and I paddle hard to get back out. But a set comes through and it becomes all about survival. As soon as I get my chest on the board another wave comes and I have to roll over, let the wave break on the belly of the board.

At last I get back out. EV has paddled farther south, he and two others are catching waves at will. I have a flash of jealousy, I have to remind myself that all I can work with it the fitness and experience I have right now.

A wave begins to rise and when I paddle over its unbroken crest I see the broad, pink band that the setting sun has made out west. A wave comes, blocks out that part of the sky. When I paddle over I see the pink and blue again. The sky has changed slightly since the last wave and will change again after the next. But there is nothing else to do than take it in as it is now.



  1. Dave,

    I like the concluding line- “But there is nothing else to do than take it in as it is now.” True- about everything.

    I am headed this week back to South Carolina for a long weekend. Hope that we get some waves.

    Maybe I’ll do a post about my experience of surfing. Been a little shy about it as my skill level is still so low. But that’s not the point, is it? To be honest and true in what you share- as you do here- is what we seek.


    • enjoy the surf tom. it will be great to see you write about it. and skill is insignificant – the best surfer is the one who is having the most fun…

      thanks for reading, dave

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