Monday, June 25, 2007


We arose on a windy and cloudy Cape Town day, and saw that the swell had come up significantly. Unfortunately, so did the NW wind. We explored nooks and crannys along the coast; a highlight was finding a beachbreak churning out solid lefthanders with no takers. We also visited the "Muizenberg Pipeline," South Africa's answer to Linda Mar in Pacifica, a haven for beginners, kooks, and 2 foot-and-under wave slayers. Muizenberg is also one of the country's sharkiest beaches, and warning signs, flags, and sirens are everywhere (along with the kooks)!

Camp's Bay

After seeing the sights at Cape Point, we visited Camp's Bay, a high end beach community about 20 minutes from Cape Town's city center. Moni and I made friends with two brothers from Central Africa who traveled for 3 days straight by bus to get to South Africa to make a living selling their art. The older brother is a painter, and the younger brother, Sam, carves figures from wood. That night, Moni reunited with her two other mothers, Amanda and Elizabeth, over a glass of wine.

Cape Point

With the sun still shining in Cape Town, Moni and I decided to explore the legendary Cape Point Reserve, which is the finger of land that extends towards Antarctica and which divides South Africa's two oceans -- the Atlantic to the West and the Indian to the East. Although Cape Point is marketed as the southernmost tip of Africa, we later learned that the real title goes to Seal Point, at the tip of Cape St. Francis. Nevertheless, Moni and I enjoyed the spendor of Cape Point Reserve on a sunny and clear winter's day.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Search for Surf

With light offshore winds and sunny skies, we loaded up Meep Meep and headed south, seeking some rideable waves. After checking a flat Long Beach (see the dog in the picture above for some perspective), we found fun peaks at a spot called Llandudno. Aside from having breathtaking views of the Twelve Apostles mountain range, Llandudno has a fun, wedging right hander in the north corner, similar to Ano Nuevo. Llandudno also comes with sharks. Fun!

The Sun is Shining

After seeking shelter from the wind and rain, we finally saw the sun in Cape Town. Moni and I slowly overcame our jetlag and enjoyed a few cocktails on Cape Town's Waterfront, a much more beautiful landscape and less circus-like atmosphere than SF's Fisherman's Wharf.
We also hired a little red Kia coupe, which we named "Meep Meep," and began to re-explore Cape Town's breathtaking coastline.

Friday, June 15, 2007

First Days in SA

We made it to Cape Town after 30 hours of travel and were greeted by cold wind and rain. On the day after our arrival, we went for a hike with our host and Moni’s godmother, Elizabeth Archer, and her horse, Wind Surfer, in the foothills below Table Mountain.

The Master

Marc Andreini shaped a beautiful displacement hull single fin semi-gun especially for the trip, a true “one board quiver” that would work from 2’ – 12’ and which would excel in the J Bay power zone. The glasser at Haut created a color that mirrored a Bougainvillea flower that Marc brought into the shop in a zip-lock bag. The end result is a beautiful pintail single fin that Marc hand-delivered to Mollusk; resident artist and friend Serena Miller then designed one of her wonderful kelp/water creations in base coat on the deck, which Moni is tracing over in the image above.

Getting Ready

Preparing for 2 months in South Africa’s winter takes a lot of careful scheming over cups of java and late-night meditation before drifting off to sleep. One of the most difficult decisions is selecting the right boards from a garage full of wonderful crafts. When choosing boards, we considered Jeffrey’s notorious length of paddle, the added weight of 4/3s and hoodies and boots, and which boards would provide unparalleled speed along J Bay’s racetrack; other boards would have to be versatile enough to handle the fickle yet powerful nature of Cape Town’s reefs as well as the varieties of beach breaks and points east of Jeffrey’s. After countless sleepless nights and conferences with international wave ace James Carranza and FISH connoisseur Jesse Faen, we packed 7 boards into two coffins:

5’6” Rich “Toby” Pavel twin keel, Micro Wing FISH
5’9” Toby Speed-dialer with marine ply fins
6’2” Larry Mabile Quad
6’5” Malcolm Campbell Bonzer 5 round pin
6’8” Gary Hanel 5 fin bonzer
7’2” Malcolm Campbell Bonzer 5
7’11” Marc Andreini Semi-gun Hull