I’ve always thought surfing is a reflection of who you are ~ Kelly Slater
It’s 6AM and I’m sitting on a deck, over looking some of the best waves in Southern Africa. The graceful swell of the oceans pulse looks slow and infinite. The outline of surfers interrupt the organised chaos that ripples across the water while the waves crash to the lonely aubade’s sung by the sea birds.
To the outside world, riding waves and chasing barrels at 6AM in the morning, seems glamorous. But I’m in Jeffrey’s Bay, and surfing is more than just a sport for the adventurous and adrenaline-obsessed, it’s at the very centre of life.
It’s hard not to fall in love with the way surf culture entangles itself into everyday life here. That feeling of dried out hair, the subtle taste of sea salt on your lips, the cold water rejuvenating your body and the perfect wave rejuvenating your soul, all bound together with a noticeable tacenda that follows surfers around like a shadow.
It’s inspiring when you think about the inherit values of surfing, even though I still feel like an outsider here, the culture itself has spoken loudly:
“This is who we are and this is who we will always be. Forever searching for a few golden moments that define the very seconds of life and shape the days into a enjoyable existence”
The swell has picked up now, and I cannot help but notice the sound of the ocean. As the waves crash with a peaceful, mellifluous growl, its hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia and inspiration.
This house and it’s paralian owner are world famous. Almost every room contains a surfboard: a museum of accomplishments. Photographs of surf legends cover the walls as if they were her own children and the ocean view is merely the foundation of it all.
Surfers, local and international alike, run in slow motion through the bohemian style garden for direct access to the waves. A right of passage earned by the many years of loyalty and respect that this matriarch has endowed upon the town for decades. Enveloped in surf history, here are 5 lessons I’ve learned: