Reasons surfing in Cape Town sucks:
- If you stay in the water too long without a wetsuit you go into cryogenic stasis.
- Wetsuits are expensive, and the cheap ones give you a rash. This makes surfing almost as expensive a hobby as liking craft beer.
- Sharks don’t mind cold water.
- Jeremy Loops comes from here.
I don’t mind cold water, cheap wet suits, or sharks, so my list dwindles. However, J-Loops’s music is so vile that I still feel like a move to Iceland might be in order. Hopefully his music doesn’t permeate that far.
Other than that, in Cape Town the waves are dik (gnarly (enjoyable to surf)) and the wind, when not “Howling” like Mr Loops, is generally in the right direction somewhere. So hey, most of the time I can paddle out and away from Matthew Mole fans and people with beards. Matthew Mole would be on my list, but he’s from Fish Hoek, and Cape Town doesn’t deserve to be affiliated with that… place.
Every now and then however, there can be flat spells. No waves, bad wind- I am basically forced into sipping craft beers with my hip Cape Town homies.
There was one such flat spell, in the summer of 2014, when it all got a little too much for me…
It had been two straight weeks. A howling South Easter had made itself comfortable over the peninsula, and the Atlantic was like a big, blue, frozen lake. I was at a bar spending my last bit of money and I had had so much craft beer that I didn’t even like the taste anymore, so I was drinking Hunter’s (it was a truly dark time in my life). That year was peak Jeremy Loops season, so when “Sinner” started playing on the bar speakers I shouldn’t even have been surprised, but something about that song and the Hunter’s in my hand made me feel that there was nothing else to live for anymore. I decided I would go drown myself; a fitting end for a child of the ocean (hippy wannabe surfer). I took one last train ride to Simon’s Town, walked the short walk to the beach, said one final goodbye to the cruel, folk music loving world, and plunged into the depths.
Then a mermaid appeared. She was dressed in black. Was this death, come to greet me? She grabbed me by the shoulders, and we floated upwards until we broke the surface of the water. Shocked, I suddenly realized “This ain’t no angel of death. This is some annoying ass scuba diver ruining my beautifully poetic suicide. The ho’.” I was about to give her a right old insulting, when she whipped off her mask, exposing a face that was hella fine. I was all like “hubba hubba” and she was all like “Hey man you should come scuba dive at Ollava scuba centre. It’s only R700 for a dive and you don’t need previous experience.” I was super keen to get wet with her, so I followed her to the scuba centre. Then she said “Hey man if you pay us like R4000 we can give you a course?” I really wanted to go down on her – I mean with her – so I phoned my daddy (Only rich kids get to be hippies) and got that course paid for and done. Their gear is top notch and the course was a lot of fun.
The howling South Easter had cleaned up the Atlantic side. So I dived there the rest of the flat spell. A South Easter blows surface water out to sea and the deep, cold, Antarctic water replaces it. Besides being colder than a colonialist’s heart, this water is as clear as J-Loops’s lack of musical talent and the diving is absolutely stunning; the cape ocean is an explosion of sea life (See the blog post “Cold Water Diving”).
So whenever the South Easter is bellowing and the sea is flat, I dive Atlantic side. When the northeaster is bellowing and the sea is flat, I dive False Bay side. When the sea is all bumpy and wave-like, I surf instead. Cape Town is a diving heaven, Cape Town is a surfing heaven, and if you happen to be one of those folk who does both, then Cape Town is your heaven.
In conclusion: Scuba diving saved my life, and my reasons to live have grown numerous. I started with a list, so I think I’ll end with two lists that are much more positive:
Reasons surfing in Cape Town rocks:
- There’s almost always a place to surf… almost.
- A great variety of quality waves.
- Surfer’s ear is a disorder where your ear basically grows shut, in an attempt to fight off the cold water constantly in there. This has the added benefit of shielding you against crappy folk music.
Reasons diving in Cape Town rocks:
- So much sea life. Many prettiness.
- Deep wrecks, epic caves, huggable sharks.
- Fish don’t play crappy folk music.
You can’t argue with lists like those.