PE is a mooi place. Don’t get me wrong. There’s clean, empty beaches and kind, friendly people all around. But there are a few things you should know if you don’t want to have a panic attack when you go SUPping there. Of course if you don’t have the quiet throb of anxiety pulsing at your temples 24/7 like me, you can stop reading now and go ahead and paddle out. But if you need to breathe into a brown paper bag at the thought of a new surf spot, this post is for you.
- Rocks. Rocks. Rocks. Did I mention Rocks? You may want to buy yourself a stylish little pair of split toe booties from the lovely people at Surf Centre I’ll get back to their loveliness in a mo……(even though they still sell paddle skis and accessories…..And y’all laugh at mah SUP? Pfft. )
- Rocks and roll. You might also want to perfect your seal style flop for the shallows at Black Bottom (Otherwise it’s your bottom that will be black. And also possibly blue. Not to mention the pink hue of your lacerated feet.)
- There’s a punch delivered by the two foot close outs. Two foot could be fun if you have a 9 foot longboard and you can set your line and get your toes on the nose. But that ain’t necessarily so every day in PE. It can be Close Out Central. Make sure you’re not at Pipe when that’s happening. You’ll feel it on your belly and so will your SUP when you wash up on a beach made entirely of pebbles. For more info refer to points 1 and 2.
- Your gynaecologist might be on the SUP Whatsapp Group. (I know. As if kooking out isn’t mortifying enough.) In Cape Town this would be unlikely. But in PE? True Story. Ten years later. There he is.
- The nice, patient man from whom you borrowed a board and soft racks might have to ask an equally nice and patient man from Surf Centre to risk his life, crossing Marine Drive in the face of trucks, to come to your aid when you CANNOT get the soft racks on the car, no matter how hard you try. (This effort includes using all your data to watch a How To YouTube video on your wet, sandy phone, whilst crouching behind the passenger door, sweating in your 4/3) You get to channel your inner Bridget Jones while this stranger, with tattoos, muscles and prolific facial hair (or was it a man bun?) saves the day.
- Don’t laugh when they say it’s crowded. There’s about twenty parking bays and you can pick from only five empty ones on those hectic days. It’s nuts. A massive crowd of six stand up paddlers vie for waves. Bring your patient hat.
- Stink Eye from a couple of surfers. Shem. What can I say? In the big picture, One Use Plastics are a real threat to the ocean, not Stand Up Paddlers. But if giving the stink eye makes you feel better, go right ahead.
The double stink eye is my personal favorite. That’s when you turn and give it, and then you do it once more to make absolutely sure I feel your vibe.
- No other gals. Thanks to Xpression on the Beach the Wahines are all over Muizenberg. But I didn’t see any other ladies out at Rincon. Maybe they were logging at Cobbles. I dunno. But prepare for lots of grizzle and gruff and also for the-one-legged-car-park-wetsuit-hop. (Girls don’t do that. We wriggle our way out of wetsuits.) The bonus is that the grizzlies are super polite and carry your board.
- Plenty of lay days. Surf till you are broken when you can. The swell droughts are long in PE. (Storm tracker Spike explains why in his Winter Swell course HERE )
- Calm down about the fins. The ones that go up and down are dolphins. That’s who you’re most likely to see in Algoa Bay. In fact when last was there a nibble in PE? Maybe someone got grazed by a shark tooth once at Kings Beach in the 80’s? (Not sure about over THHHHEEEEEERRRRE at Coega/Bluewater Bay. The husband saw MANY GWS’s on that side when he built that breakwater. Proceed East with caution.)
So now you know you can do it, the question is how? Get your sunscreen ready while you watch this space for a peek at the goings on at Coreban EC
Bet you never realized Algoa and Aloha are nearly the same word?