11 September, 2014 11 September, 2014

Surfer Aboard – by: Daniel Lurie

After reaching a point where the crowds became too much to bear, Daniel Lurie packed his bags and hopped aboard a ship out of Cape Town. ‘Surfer Aboard’ is his entry into ‘Write to Surf‘ – our surf journo competition with some epic prizes up for grabs (see below for details).


SURFER ABOARD – by: Daniel Lurie


Sometimes we just don’t know how good things are. We always look for something new or better than before, and that’s not always a bad thing. I grew up in Cape Town and spent twenty years living in the Mother City, where I learned to surf and had many progression sessions in the waters there. Cape Town has everything. It has both coasts, so there are loads of waves to choose from in almost any conditions. Why leave?

It just reached a point where the crowds got too much and those little groms that rip are now way better than you. So I decided to go somewhere new. Find something few even know exists. Some place where the crowds number one and the best surfer is the only one out. That’s how I ended up here…


Here, is a little island in the South Atlantic about 1 800kms off the coast of Africa. A little island named St Helena. It takes about five days by ship from Cape Town to get here. The journey is the first thing that gets you. The ship wasn’t big, so isolation becomes very real and immediately you miss home.

Anyway, I got here, finally landed. I walked up to customs, a lady stamped my passport and the first question I ask her is, “where do people surf?” She responded in a language which only after she repeated herself three times turned out to be English. She laughs and says, “There’s no waves here…”


As any surfer would, my immediate thought was that she has no idea what she is talking about and is a complete idiot. So I proceeded to ask every local, and I mean every local. But the response was always the same – they laugh and tell me there is no surf. Seriously…they’re either hiding something or they’re all plonkers. How can there be no waves?

I decided to give up relying on the locals and search for that perfect wave myself. Diving seemed like a good start, so I asked a local friend to take me out to a few reefs. That’s when I first started to see how amazing it is here. Crystal clear and warm water, loads of colourful amazing sea life – devil rays and whale sharks included, and quite a few conga eels – but still no waves.


After two weeks the withdrawal and frustration started to sink in. I also started to realise that the other side of the island gets a lot more swell, so even though it’s predominantly onshore, I decided to take a look. That’s when the truly spectacular interior of the island came to light. It’s green, lush and mountainous. I drove over and through valley after amazing valley, onto cliffs looking over that great blue ocean. But still no waves…

I surrender, take me home, it’s over! I can’t deal with the lack of surf, this is a stupid place. But the boat only comes every few weeks and even when it does it’s still a five day trip home. So with all the time to kill I went through a couple of photos a local took when a big swell hit the harbour. That’s when I saw it…



A really awesome righthander that pulls through off the harbour wall. It’s the first place you set foot, so how come no one has seen this before? Well, people around here are very safety conscious. Most of the harbour is cleared when a big swell comes through. Also it doesn’t happen too often and a big swell is needed to make the wave break away from the rocks. Smaller swells end up breaking right onto dry reef. So what now? Now that I know it’s here… Now the greatest part of all surfing dilemmas – waiting for the swell to hit.

What does a surfer do while waiting for the swell? Well, around here besides the diving and incredible scenery, the fishing isn’t bad. Pulling in a tuna, wahoo or sailfish helps shorten the wait between swells…

* The views expressed in ‘Write to Surf’ entries are not necessarily those of Zigzag.
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. Rian
    17 November, 2014 at 1:40 pm · Reply

    …or try Ascension island, it’s not that far…i’m not saying there’s surf there, but it might be worth a look anyway, while you wait…

  2. Are Davey
    21 October, 2019 at 2:36 am · Reply

    Are you still there?

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