It seems that South Africa is always playing catch-up with other more ‘developed’ countries in terms of technology, film and entertainment… And, of course, our ever struggling Rand, for example. However, when it comes to surfing, what is so cool about SA is that we have some really fantastic up-and-coming surfers and some legendary, world-famous surfing spots – so thanks Mother Nature.
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay and Red Bull Big Wave Africa are two of the most famous international surfing competitions held in SA in Jeffrey’s Bay and Dungeons in Hout Bay, respectively. Jordy Smith, a 26-year-old surfer from Durban won both the 2010 and 2011 Billabong Pro J-Bay competitions as well as the 2013 Billabong Pro competition held in Rio de Janeiro. He is one of the most well-respected and well-ranked surfers in the world. A bit closer to home in Cape Town, Andrew Raath, who I will have the pleasure of interviewing within a week or two, is also fast becoming one of South Africa’s people to keep an eye on in terms of body boarding. Raath recently placed first in the Zion Summer Shred Sesh in Long Beach, Noordhoek. http://zionsa.com/zion-summershredsesh-results/
Jordy Smith proudly poses for Red Bull with his gold medal.
Andrew Raath surfing in Melkbosstrand. (Photo Credits: Simon Heale)
According to The Times newspaper in the UK, the top ten best surfing sports in the world rank as follows:
1. Santa Cruz, south of San Francisco, California.
2. Hossegor, on the Landaise coast, Southwest France.
3. Ericeira, Portugal.
4. The Gold Coast, Australia. (I think the name says it all.)
6. Sennen Cove, Cornwall.
7. The North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. (Obviously.)
8. Bali, Indonesia.
9. Pavones, Costa Rica.
10. (Drumroll please…) Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa.
What makes J-Bay one of the surfing capitals of the world, you may ask? Firstly, the surfing spots have been divided up into a few different sections, some of them include: Boneyards; Supertubes (where the Billabong Pro ASP World Tour takes place); Kitchen Windows and The Point. The break in J-Bay break is a right-hand point break and is one of the most spectacular in the world due to its distance and wave size. A point break can be described as “[…] a wave that breaks onto a rocky point.”
Now for something REALLY interesting and completely mind blowing – the current world record for the biggest wave ever surfed is held by Garrett McNamara, a 46-year-old American surfer. Nazare, in Portugal, was where this epic feat took place in January, 2013 – the wave was reported to be 78 feet or 24m high. To compare, the height of an average doorway is about 2m, give or take; that’s about 12 doorways high! There has been a bit of a debate as to who has actually surfed the biggest wave now as Andrew Cotton, a 34-year-old British man, surfed a reported 80 foot wave in the same location in February, 2014. However, there is no sense of rivalry as McNamara towed Cotton up the gigantic wave on a jet-ski. In the following YouTube video of McNamara riding the monstrous wave, he also explains and gives insight into the structure of the wave and why its force is so huge. bit.ly/1iUM9Ta. This next video shows McNamara towing Cotton up the wave and Cotton as he rides the wave for a few seconds – this is brilliant to get an idea of just how huge these waves are. bit.ly/1eERuBd
McNamara & Cotton walking side-by-side
Garrett McNamara riding the biggest wave ever surfed in Nazare, Portugal.