30 July, 2015 30 July, 2015

Dougal Rides a Mountain, Survives Avalanche

Kommetjie’s Dougal Patterson rode a pair of solid waves at one of the Western Cape’s heaviest big wave spots yesterday (Wednesday, 29 July), before he went down hard on the third and paid the price in blood.

After going over the falls, Dougal smashed his face on his 10’0″ – splitting his brow.

Dougal is among the crew of Cape Town’s dedicated big wave chargers, and yesterday’s conditions were offering the size, power and shape they’ve been waiting all winter for. So it was an early start for the crew as they went in search of mountains to ride in the rapidly building 4 metre-plus southwest swell. Dougal was amped at the chance to ride some big waves again, so there was no holding back.

Dougal checks the conditions before heading out.

“I was determined to ride the big ones yesterday,” Dougal told Zag this morning. “I had two off the back where I was able to take a high line that got me right the way through. However, on the last one I was held up a little and had to drop all the way to the bottom where I got stuck and ended up taking the lip on my chest.”

Dougal’s heavy ride, filmed by Daniel Grebe and entered into the Striped Horse Challenge.

“I got lifted up again and thrown face first into my 10-foot gun,” recalled Dougal of his hectic wipeout. “I came up blind in one eye and thought I’d broken my jaw and damaged my left shoulder. Thankfully it was only blood and water, so I got seven stitches and a lot of love from concerned friends. Feeling super honoured to be a Mountain-Slider”

A little worse for wear this morning, but stoked on his rides yesterday.


Dougal’s ride has been entered into the Striped Horse Challenge in association with RVCA, Twig Surfboards and Hurricane. The Striped Horse Challenge is a big wave surfing competition open to any Saffa charger committed to pushing their big wave surfing limits. The competition will award SA’s hardest charger a return ticket to Hawaii, R20 000 cash (R10 000 to the photographer/videographer), two Twig Surfboards, plus gear from Hurricane for their travels. The public can also take part by dropping a comment under a new entry and the best comments each week will win a hamper from RVCA and Striped Horse Craft Beer. Go to stripedhorsechallenge.co.za for details.



  1. Karel Lewy Phillips
    30 July, 2015 at 6:20 pm · Reply

    Hi Dougal, nice session, one wave is a years stoke. Just a thought for everyone and safety – I always discuss with surf pupils wipeouts and head protection. To avoid head injuries on wipeouts – whenever possible immediately put one hand on the back of the neck/spine covering C1-C5-6. The other arm goes over the face with the hand/fingers holding the back of the head. It is creating a protective cage over the moneymaker and the exposed neck/spine as the head surfaces and under any scenario. I suggest not to move hands until the board is safely spotted and can be grabbed with both hands lest if flies into the air or is across in front between myself and oncoming wave. If the wave is close and board catches the force and risks flying at you dive or jump away. Even removing kelp from legrope in the shorey without watching the waves can be brutal, from a scenarion I know of with a girl, a foamie and a hit to the head from a few seconds lapse. Get a firm grip and get the nose into or over the wave – with momentum. SUPERNINJAFASTREACTION is what I tell kids for safety on wipeouts. Background for comments: As a surf lifesaver/coach/ecosurftours.com travel operator, injuries from surfing are what I train in, it is in my nature to share my thoughts. I know going over the falls and hitting the board is a slightly different scenario, Nonetheless the head and spine are at risk all the same, and for almost everyone I always encourage practicing being super reactive to wipe outs and instantly making a head cage with the hands and arms. Surf safely and good article.

  2. Charley Pollard
    31 July, 2015 at 7:05 pm · Reply

    Nice one, Dooogie. You shoulda borrowed the Donkey, it would never’ve hit you in the face! Respect. X Charley P, no 3.N

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