There is a saying in South Africa, “Die weskus is die beste kus” which literally means, “The west coast is the best coast.” And after our last little road trip, there are no arguments coming from this quarter.
If you ever wanted to understand every nuance of this harsh and unforgiving coastline it would take an investment of years of one’s time not to mention a huge amount of patience. Conditions along the west coast are far from civil, at face value, it is hostile, it is a desert. Then there are the relentless winds that blow from every direction changing at a moment’s notice as if on some higher god’s whim. It is this unpredictability though that turn every nook and cranny along the coast into potential opportunities in our exploration for surf.
As we roll towards summer we deal with the less than predictable Roaring 40’s swells that crash into our coast every so often. When a late spring swell popped up, the Deus Africa team jumped at the opportunity.
The day wasn’t even a thought as we drove out of the carpark of the Deus headquarters in Hout Bay one dark morning. We well and truly beat the rush hour traffic through the city and were out upon the open road as the sunrise rose into existence above the Cederberg mountains.
Passing huge steelworks and some nature reserves that house one or two of “the big 5”, the landscape quickly changed from green trees to low windblown fynbos, meaning we were getting closer to our location.
Preplanning is everything, we had put a pin on the map where we thought the swell would hit and booked a B&B that gave access to a number of her corners nearby. We pulled into our booked accommodation which would serve for sleep during our trip. We only stayed long enough to disgorge some of our kit and sped to the coast, our real home for the coming days.
Cresting the last hill and getting a glimpse of the spread before us, we weren’t disappointed either. Our projections had been on the money with the swell arriving only slightly ahead of us. Standing there, with the slight wind at our backs, we tore away our gaze and made haste to lose little time getting out there amongst it.
It’s then that the blur started and kept us at her breast for the next few days. Sleep, eat, surf repeat. Changes in wind pushed us from one cranny to another nook. We only stopped for water, food or rest. Mostly all three. Evenings were mostly sombre affairs. Recollections of the day’s waves administered over food and finished up with either a hotly contested pool or table tennis tournament.
We found some of the most startling setups that were either empty of others or had just a smattering of surfers who had also read the charts right. Head nods and the up and down appraisals are a tribal salute of mutual respect given to each other at having come to the same conclusion and location which allowed the lot of us to score such wonderful waves.
For those not in the know, us surfers, our “Machina” are the weather patterns that provide us with the waves we ride.
In Fluctus Veritas.