In March this year Rein Hagenaars and Wendy van Rijn from Kanoshop in the Netherlands came down for a visit in South Africa. They first stopped in Cape Town, then drove up to Jeffery’s Bay and back stopping along the way for more surf action and then finally back to Cape Town. I managed to hook up with them and get a few sessions in.
Getting great waves is always tricky and obviously everything depends on the weather. Both locally and much further away that causes the swell in the first place. We had some luck and some bad luck but in the end we scored some waves and on one session Rein managed to surf the biggest waves of his life. The swell was massive at 5.6 metres and with a bit of NW wind blowing we decided to hit Karmers. A spot like Witsand would have been a nice cross shore but perhaps too big and also a far drive. I remember time being of the essence that day. Karmers was really huge and I took video footage facing backwards that day from my helmet. The faces of the waves were between 3 and 3.5m but if you look on the video you’ll probably think I am liar. But no matter, we had fun anyway and scored some epic waves and some monster beatings. Rein really enjoys getting beaten so he was in his element, excuse the pun. Wendy also braved the waves and managed to surf a few powerful beasts. Whenever people come to Cape Town they’re always surprised by the power of the waves, for their size. I’ve had two people surf here now from much further up the coast and they both said the same.
Another session we had was at Melkbos (I think we had two separate ones there) where I took photos from the icy water. That’s always tricky business but I managed to get a few shots even though the waves weren’t as big as we hoped. But because they were fairly hollow there was enough power to beat the crap out of Rein so he was all smiles! What is interesting is that Rein loves to paddle all kayaks, like canoes. So he is a C1 paddler which is something very unusual for South African paddlers. Even worldwide, the sport is not that big. To educate you further, the only difference between kayaking and canoeing is that in kayaking you use a paddle with two blades, and in canoeing you use a paddle with one blade. Usually you are kneeling while canoeing and in Reins case he is. They sit on their knees, which greatly raises their centre of gravity and gives you a different view. C1’ing the Element is no doubt extremely difficult but Rein charges it and makes it looking quite easy. I was impressed. In South Africa, everyone calls kayaking those long, fibreglass kayaks, canoes. They call it canoeing. And it is nothing of the sort. How stupid?! But anyway, that’s the way it is. Rein also paddles all his other boats as C1’s and even creeks like that. He wanted me to try the Element of his C1 style but never managed to sell me on the idea.
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It was a real pleasure to meet Wendy and Rein and to be honest I’ve never met a Dutch person I didn’t like. Perhaps it’s because they’re somewhat similar to South Africans, even if only a little. After all, it was the Dutch that colonised South Africa all those years ago. I’m looking forward to the next time we meet and I’m sure next year we will. In the meantime, I’ll keep making them jealous by mailing them photos of the sick waves we get down here in Cape Town! I love my country, I love Cape Town… Bonus photos below…
Photography by: Adrian Tregoning. Unless otherwise stated.
Words by: Adrian Tregoning.