Rider of the storm

After a beautifully ceremonial morning beach celebration of David Wolf, lots of steam was let off Saturday night, on a moonlight dancefloor south of Scarborough.

Sunday dawned early, or were we just very late?

Now a huge cold front is brewing, and the pre-frontal wind looks amazing as usual, steady and strong.

The swell is still pretty flat, so I have in mind a slalom session, #windsurfing from Scarborough up to Witsands and back, if things feel good.

A windy 11am, I’m going to rig my favourite 5.7, but then I blink and the white horses are charging, so 5.2 it is, a tiny Falcon.

Setting off, everything immediately feels amazing, kit totally tuned, flying upwind and playing with the power, cathartic.

Misties comes quickly, sooo scenic!

And then Witsands, so flat on speedy gear, a regular peak moment here; round and round the merry-go-round, it’s a solo speed (s)trip, disguised as a wave spot.

Enough of a good thing, let’s get out of here, press on up past the crayfish factory towards Slangkop.

It’s getting gnarly choppy, or maybe I’m still spoilt from the speed feast.

Working hard and warm until now, just below the lighthouse I get the first chill and cramps, I’m going to have to modify my plan and finish early somewhere.

Rounding the onshore in front of Longbeach it’s a safe zone, so I fly across Sunset reef to Noordhoek dunes.

I’m freezing now, but it’s a few seconds of tropical bliss as the water goes lumo-blue in the shallows for the gybe.

Back into the dark deep, the wind is whipping and this journey needs to end soon.

Mentally I’m aiming for Longbeach, to thumb a ride home, a bit of a mission with windsurfing gear but that’s the sensible thing to do.

Survival-sailing, my outhaul pulled tight for the sail as flat as ever, killing power, it feels pretty weird, but manageable to go slowly downwind.

For now this isn’t so bad, and just-like-that the ‘sensible’ switch gets flipped again, my mind changes and I become Daniel Kitson’s pigeon, thinking “I can fooking make this, I can get back to Scarborough, mission free, yeah baby!”

Down we go non-stop, back past Outers, riding some lekker swells on a dead run, new territory for race-gear sailing posture.

It’s slow progress though, and by now I’m feeling physically wasted, the scrambled eggs have long since worn off, and I have no food or liquid on this spontaneous marathon.

The warning light on my bodies small petrol tank is screaming, but i’ve got my hoody on now and I don’t want to hear it.

It’s 365 reef, sense of humour is fading fast, I’m seriously buggered and wishing this was over.

It takes ages to get down to the crayfish factory, I’m limiting the length of each leg to the maximum I could imagine paddling, if anything went wrong, so not very far at all, lots of gybes.

The current feels like its driving me upwind, I find myself zig-zagging but not moving downwind, and the wind is now a full nuclear horror show.

Shore is a choice I could make, but Soetwater in a storm means a long walk to humans.

I pray each gybe is the last, I’m falling in on most of them, resting a few seconds, onwards.

Eventually I pass the factory, the last piece of kelp, and I see a familiar car, parked at Witsands.

A last rally of energy, back on the speed strip, flying towards safety.

I fall off my rig in the shorebreak, it’s a sandy rumble, kit survives and I drag myself and trusty steed just a few meters up the sand before my legs say ‘enough’ and gravity wins.

It’s been 4 hours of non-stop hammering, twice the enjoyable amount, but there is a potential smile hidden beneath the hypothermia.

Friends @wcsurfnsport and @simmy_golan de-rigged me, while i walked like a broken Everest mountaineer, one slow step at a time, up to the shelter of the vehicle.

I inhaled some peanut-butter pods, water, apples and pretzels, that’s how fast I munched.

Evening plans got scuppered, sorry Ma!

Tea, 3 hours of sleep, then woke again for a second breakfast for supper, the quickest easiest scrambled eggs with tea, and back to zzzzzzz.

Monday morning, who would have known, only my lower back.

Two short sessions of #yoga, an #ashtanga and #hatha mix, and all is again, right as this rain.

Storm ridden.

photos @wcsurfnsport

for bulletproof, trusty instruments of pleasure and pain


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