6 November, 2014 6 November, 2014

That Classic Feeling – by Sven Seifritz

The 1984 Country Feeling Surf Classic will be remembered by many for Occy’s timeless performance in perfect 8 to 10-foot surf at Supertubes. Sven Seifritz also remembers it as his first surf trip outside of Cape Town and ‘That Classic Feeling’ is his recount of the event. It’s also his entry into ‘Write to Surf‘ – our surf journo competition with some epic prizes up for grabs (see below for details).


THAT CLASSIC FEELING – by: Sven Seifritz

Vol. 8 No. 5 centrespread; Occy at J-Bay circa 1984. Photo by Pat Flanagan.

It was the June/July school holidays of 1984. Ever since my brother and I were bitten by the surf bug my parents got sick and tired of hearing the word “J-Bay”, until they finally conceded and we were on our way there for the Country Feeling Surf Classic.

When you’re 15 years old and your only mode of transport is a bicycle, your world is very small. It’s only a five kilometre radius from your home and the weekend train trip to Muizenberg. So going to J-Bay was like planning a trip to Hawaii or Tahiti for a 15 year old; it was so far away. My poor parents had to drive all that way with two frothing groms in the back. Not long after Sir Lowry’s Pass there was the constant, “are we there yet, how much longer do we have to go?” In those days it was a two day trip. It took half a day just to get from Plett to J-Bay, with no nice bridges just one steep gorge after another from Natures Valley. We finally arrived in the evening after taking about 30 photos of the ‘Jeffreys Bay’ turnoff sign on the N2 just after Humansdorp. For us, this was the sign for heaven.


At that time there were only two hotels in town; the Beach Hotel and the Savoy. We were staying at the Beach Hotel and my brother and I were up at the crack of dawn doing the long walk to the Supers car park. Back then there was nothing but sand dunes between The Beach Hotel and Supers and no ‘real’ car park either. Not a single house on the dunes or anywhere near Supers. Country Feeling had erected a temporary shelter for at least 50 spectators who would be coming from all over the world to view the show.

The surf was small and breaking straight onto the rocks with the swell direction. Up to that point in our surfing lives all we’d ridden was Muizenberg and Long Beach, so a real point break was a bit foreign for us. How those perfect waves would reel down the point was a mystery. We ended up surfing small Magnatubes, where my brother dropped in on me on the three foot ‘bomb’ of the day (he is married now with two kids while I have four Indo trips under my belt, so far…).


In those days there was no Wavescape, you basically went to your spot of choice and just hoped for the best. That night we could sense the wind changing direction and the ocean getting louder. The next morning on the long walk we could see solid waves closing out at the beach break, as waves peeled down the point in the distance. A walk become a run and then a sprint. The first view of the waves I’ll never forget. Straight in front of the car park, Hans Hedemann was on a solid six foot wall with the wave bowling behind him. He simply stuck his fist into the face, slowed down and completely disappeared for five seconds. He did that twice more on the same wave. That was my first one minute view of Supertubes. I had seen guys get little cover-ups in Cape Town, I had seen the pictures in the mags and heard the stories, but I had never seen anything like this. It was six foot and perfect, sets stacked to the horizon, each wave an almost perfect replica of the previous one, and a tube a minute. It was stoke, information, dreams and expectation overload! We didn’t know what to say and just sat watching in a complete daze for over an hour. Obviously we weren’t actually planning to go out at that size, especially with my trusty 5’6’’ twin fin.

I am still convinced that by not having the houses on the dunes there was more sand and the waves were longer and better. The section straight in front of the car park was the section and everyone and his dog was easily getting in and out of the barrel. These days it seems hardly anyone squeezes past there. The swell just kept on coming and peaked at a solid ten foot for the quarter finals. My brother and I sat there for five days basically watching every single wave, chilling out under the shelter with our pals Hans Hedeman, Occy, Tom Carrol, Richard Cram and all our other heroes. I remember Occy making a joke that some other pro was a total kook (mate) and sure enough on the very next wave that same guy blew a turn on a sick wave. Everyone just burst out laughing, and we were in grom heaven.

Simon Anderson, putting the thruster which he pioneered to good use at Supertubes.

That evening while having dinner at the Beach Hotel, Shaun Tomson was sitting at a table next to us. He could sense us staring at him. He looked up, greeted us and said he hoped we get some good waves. We were just gobsmacked! Our ultimate hero… It didn’t get better than that.

On day four I finally managed to get the balls to paddle out somewhere near Tubes. By the time I got to the back I was basically sitting at Point. On my first wave I came around the section and just got mowed down by some paddle skier. My first wave and both my fins were snapped and the entire tail was just hanging and flapping, held together by a thin layer on the deck. There was absolutely no ways I was going to walk past all my heroes with that board. Had I not been a kook I’m sure I could have come up with an “I tried to squeeze out of an eight foot hole” story, but it was obvious I would never have been able to pull that one off. I hid in the dunes, ducked behind some bushes, and basically leopard crawled behind the stand and crowd. Thank goodness nobody saw me.

We had seen so many perfect waves and epic barrels, plus Occy and Tom Carrol trading backhand bashes on the same wave, that by the time the final of the Country Feeling came in ‘lackluster’ four foot waves we were completely ‘surfed out’ and ready to go home.

What a one wave surf trip!

Check out the South African Surfing Legends website for more archival brilliance.

Click here to check out all the entries so far >>


Send your stories to calvin@zigzag.co.za. One submission will be selected every six weeks to appear in Zigzag magazine. The selected submission will also receive a hamper from Billabong. Zigzag retains the right to use any work submitted for the Zag Surf Journo competition on zigzag.co.za as outlined in the rules and terms of the competition. Zigzag reserves the right not to award a published winner in the magazine every six weeks, depending on the quality of entries. Zigzag is not obligated to run any and all entries submitted, either online or in print. Zigzag retains the right to edit all work submitted for brevity and / or clarity.

For the next three issues the Billabong prize hamper includes: 1 x Billabong Wetsuit; 1 x Billabong Boardies; 1 x Billabong Cap; 1 x Von Zipper Sunnies; 1 x Set of Kinetic Racing (KR) fins. After which the hamper will get a shake-up with new product of equal value for the following three issues.



  1. Nice one
    7 November, 2014 at 7:50 am · Reply

    Yeah Sven snap that……only got there after the compo. Sheeez all of 30yrs ago!….my dad was trying to drag me out to 3 ft Point …for an 8 year old I was beyond delirious with nerves and excitement all at once.

    Cool story to bring back those old school vibes boet.

  2. Rian
    17 November, 2014 at 2:04 pm · Reply

    Cool story. but after watching the clip… i am again convinced; Shaun Thomson is no Morgan Freeman – have you ever seen ‘In God’s hand’s? eish.

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