Sunday, September 30, 2012

Highway Surfer

Although I roll by the alias of "Justasurferdude", I have to admit that I haven't been in the water for a while and can hardly call myself a hard-core surfer anymore. When I was a kid we always used to joke about guys riding with surfboards on their roof racks that never see the water. "Highway surfers" we called them. My surfboard is not on my car, mine is hanging on the wall in my garage most of the time, but then again if I allocate equal amount of time to all the other toys against my wall then I can hardly blame the surfboard for having collected some dust over the last couple of months. When I heard about the record attempt this weekend at Muizenburg to have the most surfers standing on one wave I thought this might be a good time to get the surfboard wet again. After all, I have a new GoPro camera and it was a good opportunity to try it out.

When I arrived at Muizenburg this morning I was excited like a kid in a toy shop about getting into the water again. At least the water on this side of the Peninsula is warmer than on the other side. This is probably one of the main reason my frequency of hitting the water has dwindled over the last few years. Two days ago when I attached the bracket of the GoPro camera to my board, getting the dust of was harder than getting the sand, salt and surf wax off. Today I was not only going to break a Guinness world record, but I was also testing out my new GoPro Camera and I was hoping for some good shots.

At 10 o'clock the registration started and I was about 7th in line. I was a bit worried that they were going to ask questions like "when last did you surf?" or "how fit are you?", but I guess fifty bucks is all they were after and anyone could enter. My biggest concern however was not my fitness but rather whether my GoPro was going to stay stuck to my board. I saw a couple of other guys with GoPros and asked them whether they had close calls before. I got some advice on how to tighten the small chord so that it does not come off, but I was still worried even though no-one has lost their cameras before. At 12:30 when we all lined up I was still trying to figure out how to set the camera to take intermittent pictures of 10 second intervals. In the rush to not to get left behind on the beach I set it on 20 seconds and would only later realize the consequences of my mistake. 

There were around 400 surfers ready to take on the challenge and even though the conditions looked good, it will never be possible for all 400 to take the same wave. With a combination of longs boards, shortboards and a few SUPs (stand-up paddle boards) the different positions to take off on a wave for these three types of boards meant that lying in a straight line would not work. Longboarders and SUP's have the ability to catch a wave much earlier than shortboards, and this left the line-up a bit messy. The last record was 110 surfers, but with 400 in the water just over 25% had to catch the wave to break the old record. Although instructions on which wave to catch were announced from the beach, some younger surfer with less patience didn't wait for the call and took whatever wave they thought was good enough to take. I have to admit that sitting in the water watching the prefect wave goes past is kind of hard to resist. When the actual wave came, the surfers who took the first wave was either missing in action or floating around in front of the line-up, leaving a difficult take-off for the others. The waves were good, but the sets also did not play along as well as the weather did. The rules state that 8 waves could be ridden in one hour, but the sets were so far apart from each other that their were only about 3 proper attempts made and each time on the third wave of the set. For some reason today the 3rd wave of the set was not the best one and after watching two perfect waves go past, it was a bit harder to catch a weaker third wave.

My eyes were on my camera most of the time, not to see myself in pictures afterwards, but to make sure that it was still attached to my board. I realised afterwards that because of the slow setting of 20 seconds, as well as the fact that not many waves were ridden, I could not get a nice picture were I was actually surfing. Just a bunch of paddling shots with lots of water in my face. I will definitely have to do a re-shoot on my surfboard in the near future, but all I know from today is that the angle of my camera needs to change and I have to find a way to prevent the condensation on my lens. The camera stayed put and the clarity of some of the shots were quite good. The setting unfortunately were too slow and 5 or 10 seconds should be better to get more action pics

The record was not broken today, the most surfers on one wave was 85. I doesn't really bother me because the day turned out to be very enjoyable. My camera works, I discovered a new beach break (although located 40 km form where I live), and the surfing vibe was absolutely great. Seeing 400 surfers in the water was spectacular and being able to take part was a real privilege. My board is clean today and summer is here. You will definitely see me more often on Muizenburg beach from now on and maybe I can keep the dust of my board this time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment