Beach Vibes: Learning to Surf

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
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Trip End Jun 06, 2013


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Flag of South Africa  , Eastern Cape,
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Surfing 101:  

Surfing is not as graceful and easy as it looks: at least that's what my view of surfing was when I watched it in movies. In addition, one size board definitely doesn't fit all. Upon coming back to PE, I assumed that I could find a second-hand board pretty quickly and easily. There are two surf shops right on the beach front and J-Bay is only 40 minutes away; one of the top places to surf in the world with surf shops lining the main street. Turns out, you really need to know what you're looking for!! 

Upon doing my shopping I learned a lot from the local surfers. For example, there are three different board categories related to size: Shortboards (if 6 feet and 8 inches or under), Mini mals (medium-sized, and good for beginners/intermediate surfboards), and Long boards (7-8 feet or more long). I needed and bought a mini mal because it's a bit thicker, a good width, and long enough so it's not so hard to catch waves. A long board is ideal to learn on, but it's not worth buying because you move up pretty quickly. Long boards are ones that you can't really turn on, although they can catch any wave, even the foamies, you just rides straight in on them. Other things I was told to think about was the material of board. Epoxy is the best material because it's stronger and doesn't fade so fast; but it's harder to find and more expensive.When buying a surfboard they also said you must consider the fins: it's better to have replaceable ones in case they break. In addition, the nose of the board for intermediate surfers should be round and not pointed like the pros. 

After taking these tips into consideration, looking for good prices, and searching J-Bay and the other surf shops near my house, I ended up buying a second-hand board from a guy on Gumtree (their E-bay basically). This guy had only used it a few times and he decided surfing just wasn't for him. It was in very good condition, included the bag to bring it home in (yes, it's free to bring it home to the States! YAY!), and the leash! The board is made by Hot Buttered an Australian surf and body board company. I absolutely love my board; but it's been tough to get out surfing. You don't want to go alone and many of my friends are very busy; plus, the waves haven't been so good here. I am always checking on WindGURU to sea what the swell is like and what way the wind is blowing (you want the waves to blow east here). There's so much to think about like swell size, swell direction, wind direction, wave height and wave period. I am still getting used to it! In addition, you really can't leave anything on the beach or it will get stolen. I am looking into buying a car lock to put my key in next year so I can get down to surf more often.

When I have gone though, I have absolutely LOVED IT! Of course I have been dunked quite a few times and inhaled my fair share of salt water, but I have stood up successfully as well!  It feels so good when you finally get it. Now I just need to get out there more often to get a hang of it. Rest assured, I have seen no sharks although my friend Cam thought he saw one when we were in St. Francis... only a small one though :)p. Only a few times have I spotted jellyfish; that scares me a little bit but it's easy to move away.

Surfing has been so enjoyable. I love getting to go down to the beach and man, it is tough exercise!!

Places to surf where I have been (just for the heck of it, here's the names surfers have given to some spots):

In PE:
- Denvils: This is the spot to go for beginners. The waves don't get too big and everyone there is supportive of one-another. There's no rocks as well so the waves break nice and if you fall you don't need to worry about your board breaking.
- Pipe: Where the advanced go! Always a ton of surfers out on their boards here.

In Cape St. Francis:
- Beach Break: For any level. Can stay near shore and catch smaller waves if your a beginner or go out towards the big waves!
- Point: Only for advanced. Surf competitions are held here. It can usually get big waves, it's just tough to get out because of all the rocks. You really need to know how to maneuver your board so you don't hit a rock.

Well, that's all I can tell you for now, but I will keep you posted :). Surfs Up!! :)p 
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