23 March, 2014 23 March, 2014

WRITE TO SURF – The Zag Surf Journo Competition

Calling all aspiring surf writers and journalists. We want your stories!

Inspiration can come from anywhere, any time…

We’re looking for travel features, hard news, investigative journalism, opinion pieces, profiles, fiction, enviro stories, photo essays…anything goes, as long as it is your original work and has some connection to surfing.

If it makes the cut, your work will get featured on www.zigzag.co.za with the best submission every six weeks getting published in the magazine. Not only that, but the selected piece will also score a huge hamper from the good people at Billabong valued at over R6000. At the end of the year, we will select and send one aspirant journalist from the competition on an all expenses paid assignment for a major feature in Zigzag. There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit and we encourage you to build up a portfolio of work through the comp. The only proviso is you cannot be a professional writer already.

Submissions: All submitted pieces need to come in at a maximum of 2000 words or under. Zigzag may choose to run images with your work. Any photos submitted by you need to be captioned and you may submit as many pieces of work as you like. It goes without saying that all work submitted must belong to you, or else it will be instantly disqualified.

Send all submissions to calvin@zigzag.co.za and check out the fine print below for all the rules, terms and conditions.

Kicking things off is a piece written by Muizenberg local, Dan Corden.


SURF BY FAITH by: Dan Corden

Surfing is all about faith.

It isn’t about the weather, at least for me. I have braved waves in a hail storm before. It was great, despite the few minutes treading water and cowering beneath my board as I held it above my head and the frozen pebbles thudded against it.

But it is like the weather, because no number of surf reports or webcam snapshots will ever be reliable enough to give surety of the surf you will experience if you risk the trip to the beach. Each risk taken is a real one, both in terms of the emotional investment pinned on the waves you are about to receive and the simple time expended too.

Reader story - Resized (2)

I live twenty-five minutes from Muizenberg beach, the closest decent surf spot, by car. I don’t have a car. Or even a driver’s licence. I do, however, have university.

Because of this, surfing during the week means rising an hour before dawn in the winter, when, by some cruel trick of fate that nature decided on long before humans took wood into the sea, the waves are good in Cape Town. At 5:00am I fight my way out of bed and don my wetsuit and slip-slops. All I take is my board, house keys, and just enough money for a return train ticket. The station is near my home, and I catch a forty minute ride to another station, one hundred metres from the ocean. I am the only one who isn’t going to work, and people take me for a madman, standing in nothing but my black skin-tight suit and grimly clutching the board across my chest to avoid the rattling carriage from denting it. Maybe I am.

Reader story - Resized (4)

I arrive some minutes before the sunrise and stash my ticket, keys and slops under a brightly-coloured changing stall, or at my uncle’s flat if he is around. Then all I can do is walk the length of the beach and hope that the sun brings with it waves.

This is the faith of surfing, or the blind hope. Often, the waves are small, weak or messy. Now and again, though, there are days which reward faith. Like one morning when I arrived to find a nearly flat Surfer’s Corner made more imperfect by an enormous bank of clouds that kept the sun from view. I paddled out with my uncle nonetheless and joined maybe six other worshippers, praying through muttered cursing for the same thing.

Reader story - Resized (3)

We waited for an hour. We paddled the length of Surfer’s Corner to Sunrise Beach and back, searching for a break and trying to keep warm. Slowly, the sea rose from its slumber. Set after tiny set rolled in, raised our hopes and agonisingly petered out, not with a bang but a whimper. Time and again we turned, paddled with the wave and were left stranded behind as it lolled languidly towards the beach.

When one is waiting, one has to think, and this isn’t the best thing to have the time to do in Muizenberg, given that it is right on the route of seals in their morning and evening migration with sharks in pursuit. Surfers don’t like sharks.

Reader story - Resized (1)

Well into the second hour, and very close to giving in to chattering teeth, I finally spotted a wave. I left it to the last moment, spun the board and pulled my hands through the water. As the wave grew and tipped me down the valley wall, the sun finally conquered its very own mountain, not of water but clouds. As I stood and crouched on my board and rode down the wave, beams of light broke through the bank and coloured the world. And a moment later, a seal popped up near my path, flipped onto its back and clapped as I rode past, its large flippers applauding whoever had written such a scene in the ether that is pure chance.

I got out after that.


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 www.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.


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