15 November, 2018 15 November, 2018

Day: 5-8 JBay Beach Cleanup ft. Hugh Thompson

The Corona Coastal Cleanup continued their southward mission, as they headed for Jeffreys Bay, the froth in the car was palpable. Frank Solomon and the crew, with Corona on ice, arrived to 40-knot gusts of wind that threatened to strip the flesh from their bones, as exposed skin was sandblasted to hell and back. 

Wind, the unofficial theme of the trip, showing up uninvited every dam day along the tour. One could argue the trip was cursed by the air based element from Scottburgh where a member of the Eyeforce crew bought a banana on board the Blue Wilderness dive boat. A big no-no as far as maritime folk law is concerned. Never the less the second Beach Cleanup, this time at Kitchens Windows, went down better than expected. 

The turn out was phenomenal, great to see the Jbay surfing community banding together, taking time out of their afternoons to exchange staplers, pens and laptops for a different type of hard work. Swarming the beach like a zombie apocalypse, members made their way from all angles of Da Gama street to assist in the cleanup. Shout out to the boys and girls from Billabong and RVCA for their support on the day. 

Jbay in all it’s glory. Image: Ewing

Following a pep talk from the man on a mission, with Frank Solomon dropping truth bombs about marine pollution, campaign style, the cleanup party slapped on some sunnies, fashionable bibs and got cleaning. In next to no time they were able to fill an entire silo bag with everything from shoes, decapitated baby dolls, earbuds, broken glass, car parts and some other unmentionables. 

The final hurdle saw a serious struggle take place, where traps lats and tris were put to the test in efforts to get the beach bag of shit up to the parking lot and into a municipal dump truck. With good Karma exuding from the cleanup crew it was time to pop some ice cold Corona baby, gooi us a lime there! 

“The conditions on the day were less than ideal. And the fact that guys from the surf shops just off Kitchen Windows stopped what they were doing and came down to show the tour some love, was inspiring. Interestingly enough, the overwhelming majority of the guys cleaning were young members of the community. That’s exactly where the difference we want to see stems from. Solid effort Jbay, can’t wait to see what Cape Town produces”, – Frank Solomon

Another stop down and another beach cleaned, the next day in Jbay was all about waves and local legend Hugh Thompson. Waking up before alarms, wetsuits were donned, zinc applied and wax wacked on Mr. Miyagi style the crew met up with the man behind Natural Curve, Hugh Thompson. 

Unfortunately, the waves missed the memo and instead of 4ft running right-handers, Frank and Hugh were faced with dribbly 2ft semi-retired waves. “Good thing I brought this guy”, said Hugh as he pulled an 8ft black beauty from its resting place at the back of his bakkie. Frank nabbed a board more suited for the conditions from one of the members before paddling out with Hugh for a picturesque morning of waves.

With a natural flow and rhythm, supported by a Jack Sparrow esque sway, Hugh looked more at home in the water dancing along the knee-high rollers than he did on land. After just a few short hours with the Durban born ‘expat’ it was clear to see the influence surfing and the ocean had on the man. Frank, not one to shy away from a little wave action, was similarly stylish as he cruised along on the 5’5 mini-simmons coincidentally shaped by Hugh. 

Although the waves evaded the lads, fun was had. Exchanging post surf pleasantries at the lower point parking lot, Hugh invited the crew over to his factory to get a closer look at, according to a sign on his factory door, “where the magic happens”. 

“Our school classrooms overlooked the beach, and we lived on the beachfront, we used to just sit there and watch the waves, so surfing was a natural progression for me, really. I was bitten from an early age, the ocean had me”, explains Hugh under the tungston light of his shaping bay.

“Theres so much joy to be had with surfing and the ocean, especially here in JBay. Shaping for me now, It’s not about the numbers, it’s about surfing. If there’s no surf you work, and if there waves you surf. A good balance. Being in nature keeps me fit and alive, so it makes sense to protect it.”

Hugh knew from his first strike mission to Jbay, where he would camp amongst the aloe covered dunes and walk the sands that were once covered in shells and not plastic,  that he would one day call it home. And thats exactly what he did, scaling down his factory Hugh called it a day closed shop in Durban and hit a one way trip to Jeffreys Bay. 

The message Hugh was trying to convey was clear – one can’t let something vanish due to neglegence. The ocean has provided so much, a time will come when it takes back. How much of that will be taxed, is yet to be determined, for now the best we can do is something as the worst thing you can do is nothing. 

“It’s a drug surfing” adds Hugh as he dusts off his hair emerging from his surf shack, “the most satisfying addiction you could hope for. However, like with any addiction it has it’s draw backs, in this case it’s the materials we use. From the blanks to the resin, to the surfers travel habbits, a green shift needs to be adopted”. To learn more about the man behind Natural Curve, or place an order, click here.

An old saying at Natural Curve:”May the wings of surfing never lose a feather”







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