27 May, 2019 27 May, 2019

Chasing Cyclones

Every year cyclones and tropical depressions hammer the coastline of Mozambique. Increasingly surfers are throwing caution to the wind and riding the coat tails of these weather systems in the hope of scoring perfect cylinders, racing across shallow sand!!

Filmed/edit by Michael Veltman

Words and Images – Alan Van Gysen

Mozambique, our neighbour to the North East, has been on the surfer’s radar since the early 70s, but the region missed out on the first wave of surf exploration due to a vicious civil war that raged from 1977 to 1992. A few hardy Saffa surfers snuck in before the war kicked off and came back with stories of perfect sand-bottom points and translucent waters alive with sea creatures grilled prawns and palm trees in paradise.

Ever since the war ended, surfers and other badly behaved pleasure seekers with 4x4s, have been trickling up the coast in growing numbers. However, a surf trip to Mozam has never been just about surfing. It’s too fickle, too tropical, too many fish and too inaccessible to build your entire excursion around the pursuit of perfect surf. Factored into each trip is a fair amount of downtime, through which you will need to entertain yourself.

Fishing, diving or swinging in a hammock with an R&R and getting loose under the palms. Only fairly recently, as the infrastructure has improved, have surfers been chasing swells with “internet-breaking” success. And mostly, they’re chasing the long-range east swells produced by powerful tropical storms in the Indian Ocean. Steadily, the secrets of our backyard are attracting international attention….

“Some trips you prepare months in advance, others jump on you without preparation. Mozambique is like this,” says prolific Zag lensman Alan van Gysen. “Our two trips this summer were like this. The first was planned last year already come what may; dates locked and flights booked. The second we very nearly missed altogether: dates unknown and flights hard to lock down. The important thing to remember, whichever trip you find yourself on, is managing your expectations and just making the most of whatever comes your way.”

For the full article, get your hands on the latest copy of the Zag – The Craft Issue, 43.4. For now, wet your lips on this…

Chasing Cyclones from Michael Veltman on Vimeo.


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