It’s May in the Western Cape-the horizon starts to fade to deep shades of charcoal. Sandals are replaced with comfy Ugg boots and the post-surf beer is exchanged for a warming cup of hot chocolate. It’s time to head northwards-direction equator where the sun rays have not yet given way to winter’s icy harshness.
A short plane ride away and we find ourselves weaving our way through the maze of sugar cane plantations. A green mamba writhes its way across our path. Before I can even reach for the camera it has climbed to the top of an avocado tree. A cow lazily lifts its head as our rental car kicks up dust in its face. The road deteriorates to knee deep sandy soil that our cheapo rental manages to negotiate effortlessly. In front of us Neptune serves up a tasty appetizer of a 3-4ft reeling right hand point break.
We dust off our 3:2 mm wetsuits, replace the wax on our boards and scurry down through the dense vegetation, across the railroad tracks over a makeshift football field and onto the sand. The rock jump looks sketchy. We hope there’ll be a local to show us the way. But alas, there is no one else around. One set, two set, three…paddle, paddle, paddle, scratch over the 4th set to the backline. I feel my hair-it’s dry.
Warm water. Bath water. Long, rippable, clean walls. Just the two of us. The land breeze bringing with it the sweet treacle-like smell of burning sugar cane. Like clockwork, the mid-morning onshore sets in, signaling the end of the day’s session. My arms are thankful.
The days that follow we awake with the sunrise. The swell continues to roll in from the South. We surf until we’re tired. Not because we’re freezing. What a treat for a Cape Town born surfer.
Six days later I’m donning my 4:3mm steamer and scraping off that warm water wax. 30 guys out in the line up-I go for a paddle anyway. No dodgy rock jump or bait bins. Perfect, icy, sand bottomed straight-handers. An hour later and the ‘claw’ sets in. Time to get out. I slip into those cosy, Ugg boots and warm up with hot chocolate. I feel refreshed and alive from the inside-the feeling only a cold water surf can give you. As the sun dips into the horizon, the sky ignites into brushstrokes of luminescent orange and pink. Lion’s Head winks at me as if to welcome me home.