27 March, 2014 27 March, 2014

Perks of the Job – Restricted Peak

Some jobs have their perks – like free tickets to the company’s box for big rugby matches, or a company car that you’d never be able to afford under normal circumstances. If you’re really lucky, like Shot Bru contributor, Dane de Jager, you get to surf a perfect reef break that is restricted to only yourself and your colleagues.

Working as a diamond diver up the weskus definitely has its perks for Dane. Here’s a snapshot he took of a restricted peak in the diamond mine he works at near Alexander Bay.


“I’m working up in Alexander Bay diving diamonds.” explained Dane. “The waves I have found inside the mine are quite good. Even if exposed, access is pretty much out of the question (and so is filming).”

“I have been fortunate enough to work for Simon James, an avid surfer who allows me to take work vehicles and go explore the coast. Most spots have never been surfed and some only by me; I’m quite privileged. I have managed to organise a camera in the mine now as I am making a safety video for the Alexkor Diamond mine, so I will be taking some more shots as soon as I get a chance.”

Intrigued, we asked Dane to tell us more about the restricted peak.

Another empty barrel rifles off.

ZIGZAG: That wave looks perfect. What’s it like?
DANE: The spot in the photos is a sick right that comes off a shelf. It’s quite shallow at the end, especially on the low tide. Kelp is always a problem up here, but we are divers and have the equipment to sort that out if we want. We move rocks and cut away kelp with a sickle. There is always a solution and we make a plan!

Does it hold any size? How big have you checked it get?
It runs for about 100 meters-plus when it is big (which is only about 6 to 8 foot), then bends into a fat bowl at the end. There is a far longer left just on the other side of that point about 200 meters away. It gets a bit bigger and can offer a good barrel. Sometimes it’s a solid 200 to 300 meter ride – if not more!

Staring at a quality left while setting up for a day of graft.

Are there any other hidden gems you’ve come across in the area?
Other waves I have found stretch from Kleinsee to Alexander. There are some hot spots in Port Nolloth with some ridiculous waves ranging from massive 20 ft bombs, to long open waves that run forever, as well as some heavy, shallow ledge pits – all with no one around for miles. The biggest crowd I’ve surfed with up here was with six people in Port Nolloth and that’s with everyone hooting and frothing.

Where do you call ‘home’?
I hail from Cape Town but grew up in Hermanus and have been living there for about 24 years. My local spot is Onrus Beach, which has seen itself in the Zag a few times. I started surfing and diving when I was 13 and never looked back. Both have brought me great pleasure and peace of mind, as well as provided me with a lifestyle that few rival.

Work days can often be 15 hours long. Luckily Dane has a coast full of potential waves to blow off some steam on.

Can you tell us a bit more about your job? What is it like carrying that giant vacuum cleaner around under water?
I have been diving diamonds up here on the west coast for seven years. It’s a lifestyle more than a job. I love what I do and I work with a really good crew for a rad company that gives us all the freedom in the world. I really am blessed! Our typical work day starts at 5:30am and ends at around 8:00pm, and sometimes 9:00pm – a long day! The work involved is very physical and strenuous. We are basically mining diamonds underwater with giant suction hoses, while fighting super cold water, rips,  waves, bad visibility and anything else that nature can throw at you. Let’s just say that mother nature protects her gems and makes sure you have to work hard to get them.

The end product after a hard day’s work.

Here is a video that Dane uploaded to Youtube, which gives an idea of his line of work:


  1. Jacque
    27 March, 2014 at 9:39 am · Reply

    This makes me super jealous, awesome article guys! You should make this monthly thing, apart from surf ninja’s, ‘what surfers do’ for a living.

  2. Steve Jones
    27 March, 2014 at 12:45 pm · Reply

    I don’t know, I may be the only one who thinks this, but this seems strange. As a surfer I like to think that we strive to protect our ocean and our natural ecosystems as much as possible. I don’t agree with this practice of mining a bay in this way. The fact that it is restricted just suggests that it is controlled by some corporation of sorts who will most likely have little regard for the natural ecosystem in the area, as we can see by this dude Dane’s attitude to altering the terrain manually. I know people do much worse in other coastal places with fracking and other mining practices, but for something as superficial as diamonds…. Maybe I’m being to sensitive, and some may have reason to disagree, I’d be willing to hear other opinions. To me this just seems like another spoke in the wheel of capitalism, where the earth pays the full price. Personally I would prefer to surf a crowded break in place knowing that I would leave it mostly unaffected. Idealistic? Perhaps…

    • Kevin
      27 March, 2014 at 1:03 pm · Reply

      It’s all about supply and demand, Steve. As long as diamonds are demanded they will be mined. At least Dane and his mates get paid good money to risk their lives – so we can have some flashy engagement ring or kiff studs for our ears. Ever watched ‘Blood Diamond’? Those dudes had it rough. As for “Dane’s attitude to altering the terrain”, I believe you are being a bit too sensitive and not considering that waves move rocks bigger than that around all the time.

  3. Brant
    27 March, 2014 at 7:46 pm · Reply

    Simon James is a really cool boss to work for!!!

  4. Not Ayoba Dan
    27 March, 2014 at 8:37 pm · Reply

    Dan, in all honesty I hope you have you enjoyed your “2 minutes of fame” with showing photos and an interview of the last stretch of sacred coast we have in SA … for decades kept on the down low for the fortunate few that hear fishy tales or uncrowded gems and make the mission to seek their fortune. These kind of exposures along with others in recent years in the surf media expose and change decades of hush hush stories passed on down the generations keeping who have kept it underground, knowing it is a rare privilege to experience if they get it on … sies man!

    • Jacque
      28 March, 2014 at 9:27 am · Reply

      Firstly it’s Dane, secondly it’s 15 minutes of fame not 2 and thirdly stop being a dick ‘Not Ayoba Dan’.

  5. loop
    28 March, 2014 at 5:52 am · Reply

    A lot of whining going on. Surf culture is like totally gnarly.

  6. don long one
    28 March, 2014 at 9:54 am · Reply

    So finally its all out in the open,waves that go unridden most of the year and will be like that for a long time to come .No maps shown no contact details given.Enjoy the photos and give Dane his 2minutes of fame.Some of us chose to enjoy it while we were there and only share it with closest mates .Just know there is a part of the coastline that will be empty everyday with the wild life still roaming free.

  7. Tinus
    15 July, 2020 at 10:41 pm · Reply

    I was a Diamond divers for 2 years and it was awesome. I think I must go back. Who would you suggest I contact for some work?

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