5 December, 2014 5 December, 2014

The Perils of Surfing – by: Marishka Diebold

There are some things more worrisome than sharks according to Marishka Diebold, and in this short story she outlines a few of these. ‘The Perils of Surfing’ is her entry into ‘Write to Surf‘ – our surf journo competition with some epic prizes up for grabs (see below for details).


THE PERILS OF SURFING – by: Marishka Diebold


On a recent surfing-related trip to Portugal I found out that surfing in South Africa is really, really dangerous. Seriously? I had no idea! But apparently our stealthy grey friends are infamous in Europe, to the point where I was declared crazy to even enter the water in Cape Town. Many a European surfer explained to me with sincere dread that they would never even dream of surfing in South Africa. While I said nothing to convince them otherwise (we don’t need any more guys in the water right?), I asked myself whether the great men in grey suits are really our biggest enemy.



A specimen that is a far greater danger than the great white worldwide, but especially in Europe, is the kook. In Europe they flock to the coastline from landlocked regions that I will not name and turn the surf into a hazardous zone. With the wetsuit zipped up stylishly in front (for real), leash secured around the wrist (for real, for real) and the finest Al Merrick board you have ever seen under their arm (sigh) they enter the waters like warriors, turning the beach into a perilous warzone. With drop-ins, ditched board and nosedives by the hundreds, the waves made unsafe for everyone, especially for those that actually know what’s going on. How there are not more injuries, deaths even, is beyond my humble understanding. And whether kooks are more dangerous than our grey acquaintances – well that’s not even a serious question.




I have mixed feelings about our plentiful surfing offspring. Sure, they are the future and by the looks of it the future is bright. They rip harder than I ever will and they’re a pleasure to watch. But man, they are lightning-fast to the point where the future is blinding. While I’m still mulling over whether or not I want to catch a wave, the grom is already up and riding, has probably already busted an air and is about to throw buckets of spray into my face as he lays into a fierce turn. Great. Thirty minutes into my surf I have not even caught a wave and I’m asking myself whether this could even be called a surf, or whether I can even be called a surfer, and now it’s more than just a paddle battle with a laatie – it’s a full-blown existential crisis. And in a matter of no time the great white is my smallest problem.


3. SUPers


Sure, I know that SUPing is really good for your core and actually super difficult to do, along with all the other reasons anyone has ever used to justify SUPing. But it’s also pure danger. Apart from the rare talent most SUPers are on par with sharks in terms of danger. As well as having little to no control over boards that are steered with a paddle, their craft also weigh as much as the weights the SUPer lifts every morning before scooting off to work in his SUV. There is very little stopping the board that is carrying that large-bellied man from colliding with you, or even worse your board. And you can rest assured that it will be you or your board that will give way, not the 15kg SUP or the 100kg large-bellied man. Europeans clearly don’t know about SUPing because suddenly the men in grey suits are like ballerinas dancing through the ocean in comparison.

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. Rory Clark
    5 December, 2014 at 1:48 pm · Reply

    Such a great read HP! Loved it!

  2. hanno
    5 December, 2014 at 3:09 pm · Reply

    Hey HP, I think I have an idea of this misterious landlocked country a lot of europes’ kooks come from…haha…fun read by the way…cheers

    • HP
      5 December, 2014 at 3:47 pm · Reply


  3. roy
    7 December, 2014 at 2:49 pm · Reply

    brief and to the point..exactly !

  4. Azza
    8 December, 2014 at 6:43 am · Reply

    The Kook and SUP issues actually need to be addressed in detail…seriously Cape Town is turning into a war zone! And, at spots which were previously only for average/ above average surfers, with hollow peaks on offer for those skilled enough to ride them are now swarming with danger…Glen, Llands & Derdesteen just to name a few.

  5. Andrea
    10 December, 2014 at 8:46 am · Reply

    Awesome read!

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