SURFING: The Surfer's Conundrum - Share the Stoke with your friends... or complain about crowds? (Plus - I finally get my own POV camera!)

Hello everyone on HIVE and especially the Sports Talk Social Community! My name is Jasper and I’m writing to you from Cape Town, South Africa! One of my topics that I tend to post about a lot on HIVE is one of my favourite sports, surfing!

So, here’s a funny conundrum – as surfers, waves are a limited resource. We moan about our favourite spots getting too crowded constantly. Cape Town has one of the best beaches to learn to surf, but Muizenberg is also one of the few places where a North-West wind (the dominant direction in winter) is offshore, making the waves clean there while almost all of the many spots on the exposed side of the Peninsula are completely messy.

So, even if you’re a competent surfer, you might find yourself going back to Muizenberg plenty of times in the Winter. You have two choices – enjoy the vibe of people learning to surf and hoot for them, or get upset every time an idiot kook drops in on your wave and ruins it for you while you simultaneously dodge ten more idiots paddling out. I try to be the positive sort most of the time, but since Covid happened, the place has become even more of a zoo! I think people tried out surfing as an alternative form of exercise, one can do outdoors, when the gyms were closed… and then surfing is basically a healthy (mostly) addiction once you have gotten the hang of it… so they’re all hooked now…

So now, on a decent day with the offshore North-Wester blowing, you will be lucky to find a parking place in the rather ample parking spots that must have at least 300 spaces combined. You will also be lucky not to actually have a beginner ride into you!

Because waves are a limited resource we tend to have a saying that goes something like “If you already surf – Never stop. If you don’t surf, please never start!” But when a friend asks you to teach them, and knowing how wonderful surfing can be… it’s hard not to want to share that stoke! This is what happened when my friend’s brother, Jacov, visited from the inland city of Johannesburg and asked me to help him learn a thing or two on a business trip to Cape Town.

So... I guess I've made my decision now, and must never complain about crowds again... Hahaha!

I told Jacov in the Muizenberg parking lot that this was going to go one of three ways:

•He has a terrible time and leaves the water feeling like a drowned rat, and never wants to surf again. That would be BAD, but temporarily.
•He has a pretty good time, but not enough to need to do it again very soon… Probably the BEST outcome?
•He has a fantastic time, and decides he needs to live in Cape Town or some other coastal town, and uproots his entire life, including the lives of his wife and children to do it as well as spending loads of money on the move and buying his own surfing gear… That would probably be BAD or even the WORST outcome? At least for a while? Haha

So how did it go?

Oh, and by the way! The image quality of my POV photos has improved because I am now the proud owner of my own GoPro Hero 10 and don’t have to borrow cameras from my friends anymore!

Jacov is actually a celebrated ultramarathon runner, and so even though surfing is a different kind of fitness, he was able to get to the back where the waves were initially breaking... here he's just caught a wave and is thinking about gingerly getting to his feet...

Excellent work - Jacov is standing and managing to ride the wobbly broken white-water like that!

Stoked with his success, he was able to paddle out plenty more times and practice catching waves well before they broke with me yelling which ones looked the best. Catching waves before they break is harder than it looks but the sooner you can do it, the more time you will have to get to your feet and steer sideways along the unbroken green face which is the ultimate goal.

He's got it and it still hasn't quite broken - that's very good!

So from there you would want to get to your feet fast as you steer along the unbroken green-blue wall rather than the broken wobbly white-water. This is obviously difficult at first but once you are going, it is similar to riding a bike fast rather than very slow... you actually feel more stable as you glide! This is me riding rather than Jacov...

A stand-up paddle-boarder (SUP) is able to catch the wave on his feet and choose which direction to ride long before the wave breaks!

Another little wave for me - this time I'm riding to the left with the wave behind me. I'm very pleased with my new camera! It has a wide enough lens to capture left-breaking waves behind me, while the mountain in the distance is also in focus!
All of the images seem to be in focus even though I am moving! I don't know how that all happens but I'm not complaining! Hahaha!

So how much did Jacov enjoy himself? Nearly the dreaded "too much" amount! He is joking about making sure he has business in Cape Town every month and even buying a board that's suitable for Muizenberg's slow, easy waves... but he hasn't put the inland Johannesburg house up for sale or pulled his kids out of their Johannesburg school... yet! Hahaha

See you in the water next time!


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