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South Africa - The Garden Route // Traveling Companion

Killvan's South Africa. A tale of a surf trip through wild South Africa and the worth of a positive traveling companion.


Scraggy, unkempt and standing at six foot one. He grabbed his hair in a bunch like you would a tuft of garden weeds, and sober as a judge he hacked a clump of his fringe off with some plastic scissors. It looked horrendous and didn't do the shape of his head any favours. His saving grace was the sun bleached ends, as we had been spending copious amounts of water time around Capetown, the streaks of blonde hair mattered against the hacked brown strands and it actually took on a deliberately designed style cut sort of look. Amazingly he liked it, embracing the whole act and laughing while throwing chunks of his fringe out the car window.


There were a few times that I honestly thought he was insane. His radical streak was so random and unpredictable that it made time on the road interesting to say the least. Though I often questioned whether or not a surfing road trip through Africa was the type of destination that permitted random off kilt behaviour. I'd heard rumours that places like the Transkei had no room for goofs, no place for mistakes. But I'd also learnt that positive energy on the road goes a long way, and can soften the drag of downtime and the quiter more lonely moments the road delivers.


We'd made way north towards Durban, somewhere north of Jeffreys Bay we discovered a right point reeling off with not a soul around. It was one of those classic moments, two dudes from out of town turn up to a smoking right point and surf it silly all day long. We traded waves under an African sun with a brisk offshore blowing all day, with no other surfers around it was truly an African score. It could've been sharky as hell, but that didn't register, the pre-surf froth extinguished cautious thoughts easily.


I had had enough, the body depleted of energy after four hours of wave riding sent me back to the car, where I got out of my steamer, grabbed a bite to eat and thawed out in the sun for a while. Grabbing the camera I decided on taking a few shots of my buddy surfing this unknown right point. Making way to the rocky outcrop I couldn't see him in the line up, he had simply vanished. My heart began to thump like mad and it's only then I began to fear the beasts below. Looking toward the beach, back up the path toward the car, over to the next headland. Nothing.

Until, far off down the beach I see a black figure streaking across a left hander at least a mile or so away, way down on the beach break. It would've been a monstorus paddle from the point we started off on, or a long tough sandy walk. After four hours of this point break magic why would you endure to such an effort. This was his random streak in full. He eventually paddled all the way back to the point, and caught a few more waves, then eventually retreating back to the beach an hour or so later.


"Those lefts looked so good from down here, I had to go see for myself" he said later over a couple of cold Carlings.

It was his positive enegy alright,  allowing him five hours in the surf and then a two mile paddle across an empty African beach. And his randomness, well, that left was surfed I guess. I didn't question his actions I just ran with it. After all, a road trip across Africa is a Mans quest you need not question.






Location: South Africa, East Coast, The Garden Route.
Optimum: May through to August.
Weather: Just dam nice, can get really cold with a big storm, but it's pleasant.
Surf Conditions: Beachbreaks, Reef Breaks, Point Breaks, Bombies, Rivermouths. Sometimes very lonely...
Access: Fly into Capetown and drive, or fly into Port Elizabeth, or if you're really keen start off up north in Durban and go south.
Accomodation: Camping, Holiday Rentals, Motels. Just turn up and be friendly, though dont hang out in the Transkei bru.
Live Free:  7/10.  This is Africa, it's as real as it gets, politically, socially and geographically.



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