It's been one crazy start to the season in South Africa. Just last week, Durban got really good. Like, flawless barrels good. Like, Matt Bromley hopped a flight from Cape Town to Durban good. (Oh Jbay got good too, but more on that later).
When the numbers start blipping up on the forecast like this last week, it gets a certain subset of chargers all hot under the collar. People like Matt Bromley, Josh and Dan Redman, James Ribbink, David Van Zyl and more, all laid eyes upon this wild early morning session in Durban and that was that. If it's deep South African barrels you want, cut by and with a local couple of legends, this is for you. Calvin Thompson (whose work you may remember from here) filmed the good here, two minutes of back-to-back-to-back (ad infinitum) South African juggernauts.
“I got a message from Matt Bromley saying he was flying in from Cape Town for it,” Calvin tells MSW. “The forecasted long-period swell, coupled with enough east in it and correct-ish winds all looked like a promising cocktail for the more protected Durban piers. The 6am low-tide also spiced up the proposition.”
And how it played out? “Needless to say, come the morning of, we rolled into the parking lot and it met expectations – lovely, groomed six foot grinders. The swell had a lot of power in it - it was the first time a few water drops have forced their way into my housing from the pressure whilst ducking the sets on the way out.
The jump off the pier was as simple as I had been doing since I was six-years-old. But the swim out and pounding on the head with a shallow bank wasn't as easy
“As I got out back, Matt dropped into a beautiful mid-sized insider and pumped his way through a perfect lil' nugget right past me. It was on.”
The vibe in the water? “The rest of the morning was a repeat of everyone scratching for the best bombs on offer, hooting each other on the way back up the line up.
“A handful of the top Durban locals caught the lions share - like the Redman bros (Josh and Dan), Davey Van Zyl, Chad du Toit, Twiggy, up and coming charger James Ribbink, as well as Matt... in the distance I could only watch and imagine who was coming out of the blow outs just further down at new pier.”
Shooting from the water was Tyler Walker: "First light and it was pumping," he says. "Multiple calls from some of the boys who weren't there yet, taking a look if it was worth a swim, dealing with cabling issues and we were out. And it was big. The jump off the pier was as simple as I had been doing since I was six-years-old. But the swim out and pounding on the head with a shallow bank wasn't as easy.
"Wave upon wave there was someone on it and it was hella consistent. Some seemingly hard to ride than others but it was basically an exhibition show from the Saffa boys and it's an honour to get a front row seat to watch and shoot. A bit of a difficult one to shoot navigating frequent large closeout sets and rips messing up the foreground. But it simply was a blessing to be out in the water, especially in these times where it's hard to look at the seemingly mundane as a 'blessing'.
"Nearly three hours of swimming later and a bunch of the boys such as Twiggy, Josh Redman, Matt Bromley, Beyrick de Vries and the like dropped in for a chow at Durban Surf. This is where we continued watching a show of surfers getting absolutely shacked set upon set. It was a beauty to watch, from afar this time."