There are a few people who are going to read this little article very carefully to make sure I don’t make any mistakes when reporting about Westbrook. Westbrook has a few nooks and crannies in the vicinity that would do better if they remained as such – quiet and unpublicized.
Westbrook is one of those classic North Coast spots that has hundreds of average days, but when it turns on it really turns into a world class wave with everything going for it. Warm water, big barrels and when the swell hits during the week – no crowds. There are a few variables that need to come into play for it to all come together, and these include the right sprinkling of sand over the point area, but let’s take a look at the spot.
WHEN TO GET IT GOOD:
Westbrook, being predominantly right-breaking, loves the Durban south-west swell. If it gets solid on a south-west swell there is sometimes a fairly strong rip chugging along, and sometimes paddle outs can be a bit, err, strenuous. If not a south-west swell, Westbrook and environs loves a sweeping south swell. If the swell is from the south it can max out these semi-points quite easily, so a medium south swell is all that is needed.
Westbrook must have a low tide to be optimum, and it loves the landbreeze north westerlies. The combination of these two only happens in the morning, so a spring low tide at 10 o’clock at the latest will have those in the know getting butterflies well in advance of a swell. As mentioned, sand is necessary. Most times there is plenty of sand around, but sometimes it moves around a bit ad the take off or a barrel section might move around a bit. Sometimes a bank even forms on the main beach, well off the point, and these banks can also throw some ridiculous barrels.
THE VIBE IN THE WATER:
Westbrook is easily accessible and can get really crowded on weekends. There are a cool bunch of local crew around, but they do get their fair share of waves as is their right. There are very seldom fisticuffs this far from New Pier, the boxing capital of our surfing world.
Westbrook is in the middle of warm water central. It’s boardies and a rash vest throughout the year. The only time to wear a suit is during those cold winter months when the landbreeze brings the temperature right down. You will need a shorty then, and even then that is just to get across the frozen beach into the warm water. Once you’re in the water you’re warm again.
WHAT BOARD WORKS BEST:
No need for any sort of gun or semi-gun at Westbrook. When the swell does get big and perfect in the area you’ll be surfing somewhere else anyway. You just need a board that can get you into a wave quickly, and can ride a really hollow tube. When you surf the north coast you don’t really worry too much about sharks, although there are no nets around. Just keep your eyes open, as you would anywhere.
There are a few other possibilities of waves in the area. Some banks form up the beach, in front of ex-Zigzag chief Craig Sims’ house, with a few lefts coming off a rock pile or two. As you get close to the rocks there are plenty of rumours of a resident shark with a facial deformity. One surfer even swears that the shark made a pass at him and he stared into the single eye of this Cyclops of a killing machine, but he did tell me at a pub, late at night, and had a thick slur on. Might be a shark in the area, as it is a prime sort of place for a lurker or two, or it might be an elaborate ruse.