Being a surfer puts
a strange spin on natural calamities. Floods and storms are agents of
creation when it comes to good surf. I feel guilty about having such a
good time while some other poor fellow's house and business is washing
away, but what can I do? Floods create bars (sandbars) and bars create
surf. Right now, there is surf galore on our coast and history has proved
that every time we have a fat flood, we get PHAT surf.
Just a little over
15 years ago in the last quarter of 1985, floods in East London tore the
sand out of our clogged river mouths and created underwater deltas that
caused surf from heaven (EDIT). In Gonubie, a sandbar developed from the
outside left reef on the other side of the river all the way to the tidal
pool, complete with a tree stump stuck in the middle of the wave about
85% of the way through the ride. Was this the best left East London had
Or was it Corner?
At exactly the same time, the Nahoon River had dropped megatonnes of sand
onto Nahoon Beach and crafted an equally perfect left that peeled perfectly
from far out to sea, all the way to corner. If was goofy-foot heaven!
Nahoon Beach's right-handers at this time were great too. It was a surf
15 years previous
to the floods in 1970, the mother of all floods created the mother of
all right-hand bars on Nahoon Beach. Dave Fish remembers it well. Nahoon
Mouth veered from Blue Bend and tore straight towards Corner. It carved
the beach as we know it, pretty much in half. An unfeasibly fantastic
right broke from the Lifesaver's Shack area to opposite Blue Bend. Surfers
were genuinely a stone's throw away from the Nahoon Caravan Park when
they kicked out. The ride went right up the river mouth.
But back to the present.
Our latest flood has been mega-creative to our local beaches.
Nahoon is full of
new bars (and I am glad to see the Border Junior and Senior teams all
over it) and so is Gonubie. Tim Botha says Kidd's Beach is so close to
connecting. I don't even know what is happening at Glen Eden, Yellows,
Bonza Bay, Igoda or Christmas Rock, but based on history, I expect the
Bunny huggers go ballistic
when topsoil, river sand and dunes go charging into the sea, but one of
the best things about sand is it's mobility (if it was supposed to be
stable, it would interlock like miniature "dolosse").
Move is what is does,
and right now tones of it are lying underwater at your favourite beach
break as if the ocean is playing to you, a new deck of cards just so that
you can have more and better surf than before the flood.
Get on it quick before it moves again. See you in the water!
Nick Pike is a surf guide with Dawnpatrol, a surf tour operator based
in East London on South Africa's south east coast. They and their support
team move up and down the coast, surfing the best waves on offer between
Jeffrey's Bay and the Natal South Coast.
Check out their site www.dawnpatrol.co.za.