South African Surf: The swell-seekers guide, by Craig Jarvis and Daniel Beatty
Craig Jarvis and Daniel Beatty introduce the South African Surf. This swell-seekers guide also is about a lifestyle and a special community of South Africa.
South African Surf: The swell-seekers guide was written for three very distinct groups of surfers. Firstly, for those seasoned surfers who, despite the odds - and the Chicken Run! - go out there and surf every day you can, those who have realised that life is short, money and fame are fleeting, and getting barrelled puts them on the mezzanine level of existence compared to the everyday man. Secondly, to those rookies who want to give it a go or are still trying to find their balance - on the board or in life. See what you're in for? Know what you've been missing? We hope that talk of waves and boards and girls and superstardom will inspire you to venture out there into the big blue. Thirdly, to those surfers who have left our waves to find their fortunes and life's meaning elsewhere. Take as long as you need, buddies. We're seriously not missing you that much. I don't know if you're missing our waves, but this book might refresh your memories about what's really going on back home, and how good we surfers have it. When you're ready, come on home. We'll welcome you back. Someone will say howzit, and then someone else will snake you on your first wave. You'll be bummed, and you'll be fully stoked, which pretty much describes the entire South African surfing experience.
One thing we, as South Africans and as surfers, often lose track of is the fact that we first took up this sport simply to have fun. From just watching folk take to the waves to actually riding the waves ourselves, surfing is a lifestyle - we continually have to remind ourselves - we shouldn't take too seriously. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to remind each other that we surf to have fun. We have to laugh (and be able to laugh) at ourselves and at life. Living in South Africa can be fairly scary at times, so laughter is sometimes the only medicine we have (or need) to stave off the bad days, the anxiety and the chicken-run blues that plague so many of us so much of the time. So, why do we love surfing?
I think there are three main reasons. The first one is the thrill of a score -the thrill of waking up in the dark and fumbling around for your boards and equipment, making coffee while you pretend it's morning (when your circadian rhythm tells you otherwise) and heading out. Still two hours before sunrise, you pick up some mates on the way down, strap on their boards, and head on down to the beach. There's a little point break hidden away that only a few people know about - and even fewer know where to park - and there's a whimper of potential on the existing swell and wind. Off you head, Bob Marley blasting on about Redemption in the background, hoping for a miracle. It's still dark when you hit the beach. You all climb out and shuffle around, trying to find your wetsuit, your wax, your board, which you slip out of its sock. Then the sun comes up and reveals what the ocean is holding.
If it's perfect lines running down the point, and there's no one else about except you and your mates, the feeling is one of sheer joy, manifested in smiles, whoops, screams, grins, and sometimes just a quiet chuckle and an unbelieving shake of your head as you try to comprehend just how sweet life can be at times. The second reason is the experience on the board, especially the exuberance of a spanking new board. As you go through your surfing life you'll experience many 'new board' moments, from your first-ever dinged-up second-hand board to your first brand-new board to your first custom-made board. Maybe even your first real big-wave gun or your first retro fish. It might even be the first time you lay down your hard-earned bread for a longboard. Either way, the joy of a new board is one of the highlights of being a surfer.
There's a kind of tradition, a little dance of joy that surfers do when they get a new board. First, they'll simply pick it up, tuck it under their armpits and just hold it, casually shrugging to get a feeling of its weight. Then they'll place the nose on the ground and hold the tail in the air at head height, looking carefully down the board's lines. Then they'll flip it over and look at the shape of the bottom, checking for the concaves. Then they'll pick it up and tuck it under their arm again, saying something like, This feels unreal. I just have such a good feeling about it, I know it's going to go.' And all this with a grin so wide that it threatens to split their faces in two. A new board is a giant leap in the development of a surfer's soul.
The third reason why we surf is the pleasure of watching others out there on the waves, especially when a fellow surfer is dealt by a big, powerful wave. It's cruel and it's cynical and, in the worst-case scenarios, surfers can be badly injured and even break limbs, but no matter what the deal is, when a surfer has a bad wipeout and you're a spectator safely out of range, you're gonna laugh hard and you're gonna laugh long. You're going to laugh so hard that your eyes stream, and if you're in the water and a big wave comes through, you're going to be in trouble because you're not going to have any air in your lungs to get under it. It's a really weird anomaly that surfers all know how serious a wipeout can be and, as a whole, look out for each other in big surf, but should there be a backwards, upside-down, head-first over-the-falls onto dry sand, it's going to strike you as pretty darn hilarious. […]
This is an extract from the book: South African Surf: The swell-seekers guide, by Craig Jarvis and Daniel Beatty.
Book title: South African Surf: The swell-seekers guide
Authors: Craig Jarvis; Daniel Beatty
Publisher: Sunbird Publishers
Cape Town, South Africa 2007
Softcover, 15x21 cm, 192 pages, 50 colour photos, 20 maps
Jarvis, Craig und Beatty, Daniel im Namibiana-Buchangebot
The swell-seekers guide introduces the South African way of surf: spots, waves and surfers.
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