Story 3 – West Coast
28 May & 19 – 22 August 2019
The West Coast is one of the best stretches of coastline that South Africa has to offer. Although these are some of the coldest waters we have, this stretch offers a great selection of beach breaks, reefs and even some of the best slabs around. As you head further up the coast, “Fire” is the one source of reliable warmth in the vast openness of this coastline.
This video was broken into two separate trips.
First was the trip to Lamberts Bay in late May to ride one of the most fun beach breaks around. “Famous Last Words” is a beach break with a number of outside reefs, breaking the swell lines up and creating peaks up and down the beach. As James was in town filming the end of the “Earth” video, we decided that this would be our best chance to head up to Lamberts and score some waves with some good mates, including long-standing friend and mentor, Billy Thiel.
We arrived at “Famous” to see some crazy waves lighting up the beach and, as the brisk off shore wind started to whip through the lineup, the waves really started to turn on. The sun was just peaking over the mountain range behind us and this allowed the orange morning glow to light up some beautiful barrels.
On the day there were a number of bodyboarders out, sharing waves and scoring some amazing rides up and down the beach. In the water it was more difficult to find the right section to sit on. Watching down the beach, it seemed that the waves you wanted to be on always seemed to be just be too far away!
I struggled to get into a groove in the early session but, as the day progressed and the tide started to rise, it all came together. I saw Billy arrive on the beach and paddle up into the lineup, just the two of us sharing some incredible waves. I managed to get one reverse that sent me flying into the flats and that started my run of incredible waves. Back-to-back I linked up on waves that I was hoping for, while the rest of the group had taken time out to sit on the beach and snack on their lunch.
Robbie Berman sent his drone up to capture some footage and snagged an insane shot of my taking off on possibly one of the heaviest barrels I have ridden on that beach. After a few waves more, Robbie, Wilder Schultz and others joined us in the water to share an afternoon of waves.
The second part of the “Fire” video was filmed further up the coast at another picturesque spot. Heading up there, with no cell service, water or food as far as the eye can see (besides that which you can take with you), we arrived to see some on-shore conditions but good potential of waves for the following two days.
Lighting the essential warming fire on arrival, James and I were joined by Henk Esterhuysen and Tristan Roberts. We sat around the crackling fire, sharing stories, having a laugh and discussing the potential for the next few days. The air of anticipation got me really keen to get waves the next day, expecting a full day of waves.
That first night on that coast has to have been one of the coldest I’ve ever experienced! Waking up a number of times because of the intense cold, I decided that I would put on all the clothes I had and jump back into the tent, with my shoes still on to keep my feet warm. The clothing consisted of a 3-in-1 jacket, beanie, hoodie, 2 shirts, two pairs of long pants and two pairs of socks. It was bone numbingly cold!
In the morning it seemed that the wind we were expecting had not arrived. We were left with a day of “morning sickness” conditions until the late evening when the wind seemed to turn off-shore, presenting some fun ramps. I went out just before dark to get some small fun waves and anticipation for the next day was high.
Waking up and seeing this beach break come to life will forever be imprinted in my mind. 6 to 8 foot sets rolled through with off-shore winds spraying over the back of the waves while they released a fury of spit. The waves didn’t slow down all morning. Tristan and I decided to paddle in and test what we saw. I locked into some early waves, getting barrelled by one and getting a reverse on the end bowl. The session got interesting as the rising swell started to create some mega ramps with Tristan hitting the biggest air reverses I have ever seen!
After an eventful day of waves, we started to break down the campsite, packing the tents away, clearing our site and starting the drive home. We fitted all the stuff into the cars and began to drive out, watching lines come into the many beach breaks down the road, heading back to Cape Town. It had been two amazing day with good people in one of my favourite places to be on the South African coast.
James had been standing in the heat, fighting the cold and battling the elements in order to capture some amazing scenes on the west coast. As always, I want to thank everyone who was a part of both of these trips and who contributed to the outcome of this video.
This is the FIRE ELEMENT – WEST COAST!