22 April, 2015 22 April, 2015

Greener Grass – with JC Susan

For most of his life, JC Susan’s home break was Melkbosstrand, where he spent his youth honing his considerable surfing skills on punchy weskus peaks. A few years ago though, the ripping goofyfoot left the Bos behind and emigrated to New Zealand. And judging by the visual evidence, it appears Aotearoa has been kind to our ou pal, so we caught up with JC to see if the grass is indeed greener…

Dropping into a cold, cooking left somewhere in New Zealand.

Name: JC Susan
Age: 22
Local break back home: Melkbosstrand
Local break in New Zealand: Allans Beach, Dunedin

Best thing about surfing in NZ?
The river bars, prevalent offshore winds and uncrowded waves.

What do you miss the most about surfing in Mzansi?
Surfing with childhood friends is the thing I miss the most. I still remember how I used to get dragged out of bed by my mates to go surfing. Driving up and down the coast to find that perfect bank.

JC in New Zealand, ripping. Video by: Jono Smit

How does the contest scene and level of surfing over there compare to SA?
South Africa has the bigger contest scene. There’s a lot less people doing contests over here, so the competition varies between regions. There’s a bunch of guys that shred pretty hard here, but they’re scattered across the country. New Zealand doesn’t have Pro Juniors or WQS events, so there are hardly any new competitors coming from overseas to do contests. Australia is the place to go if you want to compete in those kinds of events.

And the waves, what are they like?
During summer it’s pretty sweet and you get a few cyclone swells. The water is warm up in the north island, but even a 2mm suit will keep you steaming down in the south island. In winter there’s a lot more waves due to larger storms hitting the coast from the south and it’s always offshore somewhere, so you’re bound to score some amazing waves. Although the winter air temperature drops and the water gets pretty cold (5/4 wettie, hood, gloves and booties) it’s all worth it when you see the surf.

17th March  (13 of 46)
Staying warm with a lofty frontside punt.

And the vibe in the water?
It’s mostly chilled but some places are a bit more localised than others. I’ve been lucky and never had any bad experiences. Most of the time there’s only a few guys out.

Do you follow the tour, if so who do you support?
I’ve been following the tour closer this year since Ricardo Christie qualified. I’d like to see Ric do well, so I support both him and Jordy.

17th March  (18 of 46)
Rights, lefts, rivermouths and reefs; JC is stoked on the options in New Zealand.

So, is the grass really greener over there?
(Laughs) It depends how you define greener. Literally, the grass is greener because it rains a lot more, so there’s good moisture in the ground. But New Zealand is definitely different, my lifestyle and the way I do things has changed since I moved here.

And the nail biter; have you picked up a strong accent over there, bru?
I think my New Zealand accent is pretty good. To most people I sound like I’m from here, but when I’ve been drinking alcohol I tend to get lazy with pronouncing words and my South African accent comes through.

Aerial attack on the South Island.

ISA team
JC (far left) represented New Zealand at the 2014 ISA World Surfing Games

17th March  (6 of 18)


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