Isn’t it absolutely thrilling to exist in a land that has such a multitude of world class waves? You travel to any other surf destination on planet earth and someone asks you, “Hey haole, where you from?” to which you will be able to confidently respond, “South Africa.” Take that kook! Where I’m from the waves fire! From the Mozambican border to Elands Bay baby. We living the dream. But between the multitude of great waves, there are a couple of unmentionables. A couple waves we avoid on surf trips. Certain locals will claim them, but if they’re really honest with themselves, and with you, they’ll tell you, that the wave actually sucks, destined to be unadorned.
Stressing as you sit there puzzling if your spot cracks the kak list? Well don’t, the thing is whether its a sloppy blown out sectioning steamy pile of wave pie or not it’s your local and you love it. Yes we know, it’s 2018, a time where the UN was called to make Thomas the Tank Engine gender neutral, but let’s try not get offended here. Just keep calm and enjoy a little dose of satire. Please and thank you.
Ahhh the good old Muizenberg. Restored too it’s former glory. Not too long ago Muizenberg was a cesspit of Nigerian drug dealers and TIK junkies. But now Muizenberg is in the throngs of gentrification. The once uninhabitable Church street, due to its bustling narcotics trade, now houses a bunch of graphic design photography fueled namaste uttering hipsters, riding longboards to the beach, and logs in the lineup whilst crushing copious amounts of flat whites in-between moustache curls and online activism. Every surf nation has them, essential in the most auxiliary fashion.
Besides being the poster child for hipsters, Muizenberg boasts one of the worst waves in South Africa. And ironically, it’s the most crowded wave in the country. The amount of neoprene in the water at any one time could stretch from here to a politically correct neighbourhood near you. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has set up a wave cam there. Wavescape has two, Tigers Milk has one, and the good guys at Lifestyle Surf Shop do about 17 Instagram updates of the waves per day. If you’re anywhere in South Africa and saw Muizenberg was cooking, you could pretty much get there in time for an evening frolic amongst a plethora of other surf hungry enthusiasts, but who would wanna do that? Ummmmm, nobody!!
Pipeline – Port Elizabeth
What’s important to note here, is that every dog has its day. Yes, Pipe did once fire five years ago, it may have even been a healthy three foot, but people have also gotten barrelled at Muizenberg (sans video evidence of course) and nobody’s booking a surf trip to Cornwall fiddling around for the one good day of the earth’s 365 circumnavigations of the sun. Nah, that’s the kinda thing one does for Desert Point. Not Pipe or Cornwall. The locals will fervently disagree, stating that Pipe absolutely fires and that they’ve ridden waves from the back of Pipe through Clubhouse, past Avalanche and on to Millers. But it’s a lie. And it’s never happened. Never.
Don’t get us wrong here, PE does have waves, Millers does on occasion get good, Humewood does in fact barrel (Car Park John will attest to this), and the Fence is certainly one of the most fun left wedges in a country laden with rights. But Pipeline is a no go on the surf trip map, rather try to eat your own head. And when those big westerly cold front swells come through rendering Pipe two-foot slop in howling south-west winds, Jbay is generally 4-6ft and firing! I rest my case.
The Ledge – Cape Town
For all the great waves that Kommetjie boasts, the Ledge ain’t on that list. No sir. No mam. All around the southern suburbs of Cape Town, on days with minimal surf you’ll witness the ledge die-hards carefully stacking their sleds into their station wagons while their lapdog with its hand-knitted sweater vest sits idol nearby. Ask them where they’re off to and they’ll probably say something like, ”Just going to check out Longbeach”.
But we know where they’re actually headed. As moments before high tide, the ledge calls out to all its followers like a shaman in the desert and they willingly oblige, as a hypnotic psychosis takes the reigns and as if in a trance they head the call rocking up in their droves. Sporting self-made accidental asymmetricals and specially designed kelp fins, the ledge loyal, for about 60 minutes of surfable waves brave ice-cream headache laden waters.
One would be forgiven for thinking, given the circumstances, it would cook. But it doesn’t. It sucks. I’d rather eat a bag of raw potatoes. Even paddling into a wave at the Ledge is a challenge in itself, and not because you have to drop in under the lip straight into the barrel. But rather cause one ends up completely entangled in a forest of kelp heads. You then have to wait for the oncoming wave to submerge the kelp before you can even start paddling for said wave, praying your leash hasn’t wrapped around one of those darn heads, pulling you to the bottom of the ocean as it turns you into one of those crusty characters from Pirates of the Carribean.
You’d think once you’re up and riding it’s all smooth sailing. Negative. You have to keep an eye out for ‘The Ledge’ which may lurch up at you at any moment like a jack in the box, and bring you to a screeching halt. After that, you’ll spend the rest of the wave doing turns dictated to you by large heads of kelp as opposed to banging that lip.
Wanna go surf The Ledge, no thanks, think we’d rather take a lukewarm bath with some scented candles and elevator music playing in the background.
Inner Pool – Mossel Bay
You ever get the feeling, that waves exist for the sole reason that the state’s placed a car park right out front? Or because a regional road happens to pass close by? We can thank the government for many of our known waves, thank goodness they built a road right there. But we’ve also coined a whole bunch of waves that aren’t actually waves. Just think of those waves around Sea Point. Some guy lived in a flat above Boat Bay, one day he stepped outside on the way to work, and between the forest thick kelp and the razor sharp jagged rocks he noticed a peeling wave. The first time he’d seen a wave break there in the three years he’d called the flat home, and from that day on, the wave was known as ‘Boat Bay’. Inner Pool is kinda like that.
Inner Pool is surrounded by some fantastic surf. Hell, Outer Pool is its next door neighbour and it’s freakin SICK! But Inner Pool. That shit is weird. It lurches up, then it backs off, then it races and the next minute you’re surrounded by rocks. Rocks err’where. There’s nowhere to run or hide baby, you’re doomed! And for what? For a wave, you could barely squeeze a backhand whip on? Should’ve stayed ashore and had a seafood platter at Delfinos, heard those are good and entirely whackable.