Greg Emslie is one of South Africa’s greatest Championship Tour campaigners! The man was on the tour for over a decade. And when you’re on tour for that long, it’s safe to say, you’ve had to throw yourself over the ledge on some waves that would make you wish you had a normal 9-5 selling Hyundai Getz’ on balloon payment options at your local Dirk Ellis in the industrial area.
With the new and improved Striped Horse Challenge format, we thought what better human to question than the legend from Slum Town. Greg knows a thing or two bout dredgers in the 6 foot plus region and he’s one of the Striped Horse Challenge judges, so we sat down with the man and asked him what it takes to win the comp.
Cover Image: Louis Wulff
Zag: Hello Greg, how are you? What was the three heats with the heaviest waves you had to surf on tour? Like heats where the waves were so heavy, you wished you worked at a Mercedes Benz dealership in Slum Town?
Greg: I think the heaviest would be Tahiti, the first year we had a CT there, it was still the Gotcha Pro. It was relatively unknown and Laird hadn’t even ridden the wave of the millennium there yet. The surf was 8-12 feet perfect but just so heavy. You pretty much could not go on the bigger sets, so you would scamper in for the 8 footers and pray you did not get caught by a big one. I will never forget Luke Egan pushing through a huge one, and getting sucked over the falls backwards. Heavy!
We also never used to get good Pipe, Randy Rarrick used to send us out in stuff that was out of control. The one year It was maxing 3rd Reef Pipe, untidy and scary. I was sitting on the beach, weather was kak, and I did not want to paddle out. I had Keiran Perrow in my heat and he charges like crazy. Royden Bryson came and sat next to me, his only advice was, “If the sun comes out, you have try get the photo, if not, just try and survive.” It was maxing when I paddled out, in fact, it was so big, it was a massive challenge paddling out down the beach at Euikei, I kept getting sandblasted. When I eventually did get out, I had one crazy drop and some how managed to beat Kieren who I thought had died midway through the heat.
Then we went to that Boogey Boarding slab in Chile. It was actually pretty fun until it got 12 Foot and Raman showed us all up. But it was life and death stuff.
Zag: What three spots do you reckon serve up the heaviest barrels in South Africa?
Greg: We have so many heavy waves. Over time you have to say Cave Rock, its taught us all a lesson, New Pier and that spot down the beach in Cape Town. Of course if some of the big wave spots are tubing, they are crazier, but over time these 3 spots have proven themselves.
Zag: Who and where do you want to see entries from? Hit us with some names?
Greg: I don’t really care about spots and names. I just judge what I see in front of me. It must be heavy and committed. Like Derek Horlock, he was a clear winner in the first month for me.
Zag: What do you think it takes to win the Striped Horse Challenge? What would your perfect entry be?
Greg: Heavy and committed. When I start looking at the entry, I want to be interested in what I see as the guy is paddling in, so the wave must have some sort of consequence. I want to feel that this person needs to do something special here to make this. The wave can be clean and perfect, but if the surfer is in the tube, at some point I want to think he is done, too deep, or a heavy section through over him. The Wow factor, not stalling in the tube, but driving though section after section and disappearing. I love photos, but as a judge of this event, you get a better idea from Video footage.
Find out about the Striped Horse Challenge here.
Checkout some of the latest Striped Horse Challenge Entries here.