Sunset Beach Session in the Element!

This session was captured last year October and unfortunately finding willing photographers is like recruiting for a war! It’s such a shame that more surf kayaking sessions aren’t captured on camera. I’ve managed to score waves way better than what is shown here but this year I vow to get far more action captured on still photos and of course, video. I’ve also got my eye on a couple of breaks, or should that be ‘breaks’?

The Fluid Element is the answer to the average kayakers needs for a serious surf machine that still has the ability to go airborne and bust out the aerial moves. Yes, it isn’t as long as a full on surf kayak but then again that isn’t its intention. A sort of ‘new school’ boat that is definitely finding a home in more and more people’s garages. I won’t go into trying to convince you of it, just try one for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.


I headed down to Sunset Beach with my dad and he was the lucky man who would sit on the beach with the camera. Unfortunately the wind was onshore and this, coupled with a reasonably good swell, made life pretty interesting. At one stage Sunset had a vicious shore break that could have broken bones. (it is much friendlier now) It wasn’t that severe on this day but a mistimed entry would have resulted in a decent punishment to body and equipment. I managed to get out fairly easily but the going was hard. The onshore wind ruins the shape of the waves and also ensures that they are very messy and keep coming, no matter what. The exact swell height and period of the waves I don’t remember now but it wasn’t too bad and probably in the region of 10 seconds, I think.


Adrian heading out at Sunset Beach. Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


Almost at the backline. Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


The onshore winds messing around with the waves... Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


Adrian Tregoning on a lumpy Atlantic roller. The Element has more than enough speed. I'll be posting much better photos of some carving action in the coming months!! Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


Heading back for more. Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


After riding a few waves I ended up back at the beach, as in literally being forced up the sand and then spinning around to charge back out. I narrowly missed being flattened onto the sand and then struggled to get out. It must have taken me at least twenty minutes to get out and I took more and more beatings as my muscles started tiring. Eventually I got to the back and scored one or two more rides. The Element has enough speed to often stay on waves that reform and this brought me back to the beach once again as the fun was just too much. Dropping down and accelerating into a hard bottom turn is addictive stuff. But my favourite move by far has definitely got to be the cutback! At the thought of another twenty minute sprint coupled in the shallow impact zone I decided to call it a day. It was just as well as the quality of photos dropped ultra fast because of the sea spray being blown onto the lens. So these particular photos aren’t that great, but hopefully next time it isn’t onshore!!! I got back to the car a very broken man that day. My shoulder was trying to say something but I just ignored it. These days it is much, much better and I think it is only my flexibility and range of movement I need to work on now. As far as strength goes I am pretty much as strong as I used to be, perhaps even stronger.


Back in the impact zone and on my way out through the impact zone. Table Mountain is clearly visible in the background. Cape Town is a beautiful place indeed! Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


Adrian heading out and trying to avoid the critical sections. Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


Of course you can run but you can never hide. Sooner or later they do get you! These small waves in the shallow water have more power than the waves more than double their size at the back.... Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


The Element showing it's speed nicely here. Too bad the lens was covered in salt by this stage, hence the poor quality and nothing to do with my old mans shooting! Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


The air may be 30 degrees but the water in the Atlantic Ocean is still pretty damn cold!!! Note the shorebreak in the background.. Photo by Trevor Tregoning.


The Fluid Element (medium). Demo one as soon as you can! :-)


So 2009 is now upon us and I hope that everyone had a great holiday, relaxing Christmas and a fantastic New Years. This year I’ll definitely be pushing myself as much as I can in every aspect of my life, and those elements are actually quite simple. Kayaking, windsurfing and working, in no particular order I might add. Apart from work, which I will be starting quite soon I’m sure, my life and almost every other decision is dictated by the weather. Strange how that works out sometimes. So no time for the ladies as my tired body survives from one windsurfing/kayaking session to the next! Good times!!!


Adrian Tregoning in a bowstall. This, and the next two photos were taken in the Camps Bay tidal pool during some of the filming of my little Essential Skills videos. To see these, visit Photo by Rowan Walpole.


Adrian Tregoning in the Nemesis... *insert 'Jaws' music*  :-)   Photo by Rowan Walpole. [Awesome shot Rowan!!!]


Adrian in the Camps Bay tidal pool. Cape Town, didn't I tell you it was beautiful? Photo by Rowan Walpole.


I trust that more people will find their way onto the water this year and as always, I’ll definitely be taking down more beginners this year to show them just how much fun kayaking really is. If it wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t do it now would we? I couldn’t be more stoked and this year will definitely be one to remember! Good luck with yours, and keep your ear to the site. There are some more exciting articles coming up as well as several on a road trip I did to KwaZulu-Natal and the former Transkei region.


  A massive thanks to Fluid Kayaks and for their ongoing support. Fluid for their awesome kayaks and Playak for the hosting of this site! Let 2009 be another awesome one, and even better than 2008!!!!


Photography by: Adrian Tregoning, unless otherwise stated. Thanks to Trevor Tregoning for getting the kayaking shots!!! Much appreciated.

Words by: Adrian Tregoning.


Next article: Dwars River action!!!! (creeking....)


As you may or may not know I’ve been windsurfing for 9 years now (double the time that I’ve been kayaking at the moment!) and I thought I’d just share a couple of photos that I’ve taken recently. It sounds weird but windsurfing has helped shaped me into who I am today and definitely helped in many aspects of my life, probably much in the same positive way that kayaking has.


We haven’t had very good waves but the wind has been cranking. Windsurfing is much easier on the shoulders than kayaking so it’s great to build up the muscles in general in preparation for more kayaking and to have an awesome time doing it!!! If you’ve never tried windsurfing then I highly recommend it. Which other sport can be fun on flat water, riding a wave or just heading out, jumping and catching some air? It is just plainly awesome. I will never stop, never. Enjoy the photos...


We did actually have some good swell the other day. This was taken at Big Bay, looking out towards the right. All the photos below were taken by me.


Taken on the same day as above - Melkbosstrand, the normal swimming beach at the purple house. Pretty damn good if you ask me!!!




More Melkbos action!!!! YEAH!


Melkbos one last time.


Michael Rossmeier (AUT 256) at Rietvlei.


Michael Rossmeier (AUT 256) at Rietvlei.


Some dude crashing hard after a failed flat water forward loop attempt. OUCH... :-)


When it's windy, and it OFTEN is, I sail here at Rietvlei or else somewhere in the ocean like Sunset Beach, Biy Bay or Melkbos. Good times. There are plenty of professional sailors that train here!


A busy day at Sunset Beach. When it's windy, all bets are off for kayaking....


Sunset Beach action, nice frontside aerial off the lip.


A nice floaty backloop at Sunset Beach. (There is also Sunset Reef, but that's quite far away, further south and only works when the swell is big.)


Simple jump on a small but ultra windy day at Sunset Beach.

Cape Town - Early 2008 Season from Adrian Tregoning on Vimeo. That's all!!!!! More kayaking to follow soon! :-)