19 November, 2015 19 November, 2015

Today I Went Surfing – by Big Al

Instead of his usual routine, this time Big Al just went surfing. ‘Today I Went Surfing’ is Al’s entry into Write To Surf – Zag’s surf journo competition with epic prizes by Billabong up for grabs (see details below).


TODAY I WENT SURFING – by: Big Al (all photos by: Blair Austin)


Today my alarm went off at 05h45 and I didn’t turn it off. Today it was cold, raining and miserable and I didn’t stay in bed. Today every cold bone in my body wanted to stay snug under my sleeping bag. Even the dog was still sleeping. But today I didn’t sleep in.

Today I didn’t waste time cooking breakfast, making toast or checking out what was on TV before ambling down to the beach. Today I pumped my music, filled myself with coffee, packed my board and wetsuit along with the rest of my gear, then headed off towards the beach with as few delays as possible.


Today I didn’t stop to buy a newspaper on the way to the beach, so I had nothing to read while hanging around in my car in the parking lot. Today I drove straight to my favourite spot and didn’t waste time checking all the other spots along the beachfront.

Today I didn’t sit in my car deliberating the merits of surfing or the very real option of a warm bed, breakfast and my dog waiting at home. I didn’t spend ages watching the waves to decide if it was worth paddling out. I didn’t fold my clothes neatly and studiously pack them away in the boot of my car, and I didn’t spend an extra ten minutes listening to a few more amp-up tunes in the artificial warmth of my car.

Today I didn’t jump off the pier. Today I paddled.


Today I didn’t bitch to myself about the cold, the crowds, the body boarders, the fisherman and their endless mess of lines and sinkers and rotting bait. Today I greeted the other surfers in the line-up with a sincere ‘howzit’ and a friendly smile, and today they greeted me back.

Today I didn’t fight for a position on the inside. Today I paddled across the line-up and assumed position on a less ideal peak in the middle of the bay. Today I didn’t resent the other surfers for their good waves on the inside peak, but rather watched in appreciation and applauded with the odd hoot or cheer. Today I didn’t get impatient waiting for set waves, or curse as I watched the crowd grow as more surfers launched themselves from the pier.

Today I didn’t curse long-boarders.


Today I didn’t worry about surfing for anyone who was watching. Today I surfed for myself. Today I was Slater, Irons, Hamilton, and on one wave I think I might even have been Curren. Today I didn’t pull back on any waves. Today conservative cutbacks and floaters were replaced with attempted 360’s, tail slides, and several poor attempts at aerial surfing. Today I rode as fast and as far as I possibly could. Today I really went for it. Today I had fun.

Today I paddled and paddled until my arms ached. Today I carried on surfing even after the wind had changed and the surf had started to deteriorate. Today I took a long shower after my surf even despite the cold, and watched the other guys in the line-up splitting the last of the clean sets.


Today I took it all in, from the surfers in the line-up, to the joggers on the beachfront, the vendors, the odd seagull and the old couple strolling hand-in-hand through the shallows; him telling a story, her laughing.

Today I didn’t rush home. Today I went and had a cooked breakfast at a restaurant. Today I didn’t rush my cup of coffee, but savoured its sweet warmth.

Today I tipped the car-guard. Well.

Today I smiled. Today I had fun. Today I went surfing.

Click here to check out all the published stories from our Write To Surf competition.


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. 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. 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. Please note: Prize hampers will only be delivered within South Africa.

The Billabong prize hamper includes: 1 x Billabong Wetsuit; 1 x Billabong Hoodie; 1 x Billabong Cap; 1 x Von Zipper Sunnies; 2 x Da Kine traction pads.



  1. Nick
    19 November, 2015 at 8:41 pm · Reply

    Absolutely terrible

  2. SebastianSurfer
    20 November, 2015 at 2:11 pm · Reply

    Today Big Al got me stoked!

    • http://www./
      19 January, 2017 at 7:16 pm · Reply

      TYVM you’ve solved all my problems

  3. Daager112
    23 November, 2015 at 2:30 pm · Reply


  4. Rian
    17 December, 2015 at 6:15 pm · Reply

    Hey hoezit meneer, I am that car-guard that you tipped today. thank you. please surf, smile and have fun more often, the way you did today. at first I thought you might be a long boarder, seeing as most short boarders have their heads up their arses… Long boarders always give big tips. And again, thank you meneer, it was very much appreciated. God bless you.

  5. http://www./
    25 November, 2016 at 11:58 pm · Reply

    You’ve captured this perfectly. Thanks for taking the time!

  6. cheap insurance
    27 December, 2016 at 2:54 pm · Reply

    Ligt eraan hoe ver je in die compensaties bereid bent te gaan.Overigens vind ik de vergelijking met moslims in Nederland niet kloppen, aangezien moslims zich hier rechtmatig hebben gevestigd.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *