Don’t be fooled by the ’almost 60 years later’. It just refers to how long ago I caught my first wave at the Berg. The clock just ticked 63 and I’m still standing. Well, mostly!
It’s 6h20 on a Monday morning and I can only find parking a kilometer away from our Xpression on the Beach shop. Never mind trying to a catch a wave to oneself. Those days are gone – probably forever. But then, taxes, death and change are the only constants in life, so you have to live and let live – just go with the tide. Anyway, have to dash – Surf Report has to be done, can’t keep the binnelanders waiting! They get irritable after 7am.
It seems as though the great outdoors has been discovered by all and sundry, from the indoor junkies to the mobile mall brigade. Surfers Corner at Muizenberg as well as the grey-haired surf tribe have never before seen the likes of crowds like this. Once upon a time, when sex wax was 19c, Old Brown Sherry was a poor-man’s wetsuit and trains brought kids to the beach, one would have to phone a friend to join you out in the surf. That at least would give you a 50/50 chance as shark bait at the backline, dangling those little pegs over the side of your board.
Not anymore! The beachfront is a different kettle of fish today. Chain eateries en mass! Office desks and water-cooler conversations have been replaced by sea views and long cappuccino stories. Swopping wave counts with crusty old seadogs, sporting salty hairstyles and roadmaps embedded with Island Tribe residue. A gentle offshore and a 3-foot wave at the Berg is like throwing a few bones into the kennels at DAWG. If you have not learned to surf at some stage, then you are riding a lonely wave on the outskirts of being stoked. Slogans like ‘If you never try, you will never know’ and ‘when was the last time that you did something for the first time’ ring harmoniously in your head as you book your first lesson or try to convince your partner to partake in some of the joy that you experience every time you ride a wave. Yip, times have changed – but one thing remains the same.
It’s the stoke of being out there – the sunrises and sunsets, the passing dolphins, smiling surfers and the sense of belonging to a cool community. Now, that’s what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if you came second to Kelly or kook-slammed your last wave, the ocean is there for all to enjoy!
Take the time.