January 2009 – Surf Kayaking in Cape Town

This is a collection of the few surf kayaking sessions that we’ve photographed. For sure there have been much better waves, with less wind, but capturing photos of really good waves is not easy as its way more fun being in the water than peering through the lens back on the beach! This article shows shots of only January on three different occasions at three different locations:

Witsand 8 January 2009

Platboom 24 January 2009

Melkbos 28 January 2009

There were quite a few other sessions but it’s not always possible to get photos, as already mentioned. I do apologise for some of the photos and yes I am also to blame for not supplying a tripod to either Rowan or Todd. Sorry guys! The poor tripod got a massive attack of rust when Rowan and I were filming at Camps Bay for the Essential Skills video. There will be another similar article on the month of surf kayaking in February. There were just too many photos for this single article already. I’ll let the photos and their accompanying captions tell the story.


The Outer Kom was looking almost perfect (apart from a bit of a NW wind) but I was alone and didn't fancy my chances alone on this aggressive reef break.


The Outer Kom at high tide. Only the odd piece of kelp showing through, as can be seen here.


So I left Kommetjie and drove to Witsands. Crayfish Factory (top of the photo) is one of South Africa's best big wave spots, especially for windsurfing. It was working on this day! They were hosting the world slalom windsurfing champs at Witsands so I took a drive to see what it was about.


Light (by Cape Town standards) wind forced them to use large sails for the slalom world champs sponsored by Oxbow...


Witsands was looking quite big but good. I sat around waiting for my backup. Rowan Walpole had an appointment with a client at midday so I had to wait around for him to join me.


Parking at Witsands is just next to the road. When the NW wind blows, windsurfers take over and as you can see in this shot all thoughts of obeying traffic rules falls to the way side.


Witsands looking rather good with the racing going on while I waited.


Shorebreak dude.... Don't play in it!


I got bored and decided to take a quick drive to Scarborough which is just down the road. Needless to say it was COOKING. Have a look at the following pictures and I'm sure you'll agree. Only kiters out that day.


Another random kiter with a solid wall of water behind him. Check out the next sequence below. Quite something...


CLOSE CALL for this dude. How did he stay on his board? These shots will either appear in a local or international magazine... It's just such a pain getting paid by magazines! Why does it work that way???


Another kiter with a thick Scarborough lip above him.


Last kiting shot, promise...


So I went back to the Outer Kom but the wind had picked up and the tide dropped. As the tide drops the kelp becomes quite extreme. This is also one of SA's premier hardcore wave surfing spots.


The Outer Kom with more wind and a little too messy. And I was STILL waiting for Rowan.


Another look at the Outer Kom, a great surf spot in Kommetjie.


Back to Witsands and it was still looking great. I was itching to hit the water and the racing had now finished so it was all systems go! Ahhh, Cape Town.... :-)


Looking back towards Misty Cliffs, which is just south of Witsands. A touch further south of Misty Cliffs is Scarborough.


Good waves, light wind as you can see. Still, he got a decent aerial off of this lip in the sequence I have. (not shown)


Oh, did I mention that if you go down the line and make a mistake you end up on the rocks? Well, now I have. Several people ended up there, including some kiters. Shame, it looked VERY painful and I vowed not to go too close or to make any stupid mistakes!


It got busier once Rowan and I decided to hit the water. It was very hard to get good waves as they were all taken... When I sail, I head out and gybe on a set wave, then ride it in. By the time I get to shore the wave is mine already for the last 500m so it makes it close on impossible for any surfers (or kayakers) to score any waves. Eventually Rowan and Greg Walpole joined me for a surf. Greg went home then Rowan and I carried on. Eventually I also managed to get Rowan to get some photos of me. Here they are. Sorry, but I didn't give Rowan a tripod and the wind was blowing. Also, he was far away with a 300mm lens so had to crop a little. Next time hey!


Late afternoon paddling. All of the following shots are of Adrian Tregoning and the shots were taken by Rowan Walpole. Thanks!


Heading out between sets. Amazingly, Rowan managed to avoid getting any windsurfers or kiters in the shots. Trust me, there were plenty. It was damn hard getting any good waves. So below is what I managed to pick off. Those which nobody else took. Pity. Photo by Rowan Walpole.


Carving into a close out section. Oh well. Note that this session at Witsands was surfed without any fins on the bottom. I've surfed the Fluid Element with no fins, then 4 fins, then 2 fins, then no fins again, now I'm back to the 2 outer fins. Lot's of fun this boat... Photos by Rowan Walpole.


The main aim of my little Witsand photo shoot was to see how hard I could bottom turn without losing the edge, or the tail. So far, I was cranking it over pretty hard and not losing it. Of course this isn't wave riding at it's finest but it's nice (and also fun) to test a boats limits. The Fluid Element can hold an edge damn well, even without fins. I have my seat all the way forward and I weigh about 85kg (wearing a t-shirt/shorts) and am 6 foot tall. I still have a large foam block in the front, but I guess I have short legs. Loads of room in this boat. Photos by Rowan Walpole.


Adrian pulling in. Photo by Rowan Walpole.


Carving into another close out section, pity. Photos by Rowan Walpole.


A fairly decent ride with the main aim as hard a bottom turn as possible. Of course this results in a poorer ride but it is fun to test a boat to the maximum and to know how far you can push it. Finishing off with a little blunt at the end. After this photo session Rowan joined me again in the water and when we left it was dark. We left Witsands at 20:45 that night! It was a truly awesome session, apart from the many kiters and windsurfers, and also the wind... ;-) Thanks to Rowan for capturing these shots. Next up, a session at Platboom!


Niell Taylor in the parking lot at Platboom. It was set to be an excellent session indeed!!!! Most of the session we just hit some waves and had fun. It was really, REALLY good. I saw a shark of around 2m within 10 minutes of arriving. The water was super clear and it swam right under me as I dropped into a wave. Quite freaky. Later on I saw a massive ray and then also an octopus. Now that was weird. I had never seen an octopus so far away from the rocks before, just chilling on the surface. When I got too close it shot out some black 'ink' and cruised down and out of sight.


Rowan Walpole getting some air at Platboom.


The waves at Platboom were so, SO good. Not the biggest but zero wind and running beautifully. It was one of the better sessions I had had in a while.


Rowan Walpole with a cool wave wheel.


Rowan Walpole after the Platboom session. The smile says it all!!!!! :-) Next up:  A windy session at Melkbosstrand!


Adrian Tregoning at the backline at Melkbos. Photo by Todd Post. I brought Todd my Nemesis and all the gear as he came from work on his motorbike. He couldn't get out and was in a LOT of pain from his recent (round 2) hip surgery so went in to take photos. Todd just had round 3 this week. Shame.... Hope you come back strong this year Todd!!!!!


Lekker sets at Melkbos. Pity about the damn SE wind. Usually I would rather windsurf but the waves had been so small for a while that I decided to rather kayak. I windsurf a LOT as it's blows a LOT here in Cape Town :-)


Pulling out of a certain close out section. Photo by Todd Post.


Adrian Tregoning in the goods. Melkbos was so good that day, just a massive shame about the wind! Still, I had fun!!! Photo by Todd Post.


A decent wave but then the section closed off so I had to back off on the turn to avoid being axed by the lip... Cool shots though. Photos by Todd Post. Yip, once again I didn't supply a tripod. My bad!


Waiting for more waves to come my way. Photo by Todd Post.


A fairly decent wave but look, it's closing out. Pity. Photo by Todd Post.


Adrian Tregoning walking back after a fun session. I wear my Sweet Full Cut Rocker in bigger waves now after almost bursting an ear drum fairly recently in some big waves. If they're normal waves I am back with the Sweet Strutter. Both helmets are the bomb. No complaints. Photo by Todd Post.


So there you have it, a couple of sequence shots. Not the best waves or wave riding but perhaps something to keep you motivated to get out there and have fun. Because that’s what it’s all about, just having FUN!!!!


At the end of this article I’ve also included a couple of windsurfing shots of myself. Most of the photos were by Chris Sagemüller. Thanks! I always find it interesting to note how many kayakers are into other sports, like paragliding, rock climbing, skiing and snowboarding. It is always good to see people out there having fun. I certainly enjoy being outside with my mates and sharing the joy that our sports bring to us as people. I have three loves in my life. Two of them are kayaking and windsurfing, in no particular order. No prizes for the other. Enjoy the photos!



Photography by: Adrian Tregoning. Unless otherwise stated. Thanks to Todd Post, Rowan Walpole, Chris Sagemüller and my mom, Anni Tregoning for their photos! MUCH APPRECIATED.

All Words by: Adrian Tregoning.


Next article: February 2009 surf kayaking. Chronologically this article of mine jumped the queue but I decided to throw this one in for a change of scenery. The 2008 South African Road Trip series of articles will commence after the next surf kayaking article.... :-)


Adrian Tregoning at Rietvlei, Cape Town. Note Table Mountain in the background of this shot. More Rietvlei shots below...


A couple more action shots from Rietvlei. Windsurfing is also good fun! :-) Some Langebaan shots below:


A couple of shots taken at Kraalbaai in the Langebaan Lagoon. Isn't South Africa a truly beautiful place? :-) I love it. My shoulders are pretty much back to full strength again. I don't have the same range in my right anymore and there is still some pain but that will go away within time. Life is good being mobile. I will never take that for granted. Thank you to all my friends and family for making life so, SO good! You are the best!!!!