There are not many places left on the planet where you can spend a couple days in nature, away from everything and everyone, except for empty line ups and mutant a -frames. Brothers Andre and Marck Botha went on the search for such a place a few 100 kilometers away from Cape Town along the Westcoast of Africa.
All Photos: Marck Botha / @Marckbothaphoto
Marck takes us through the wild sessions:
We had been hoping to catch this slab up there for the past year or so, and saw a swell heading up there that looked like could be big enough for it to turn on, we packed our tents and booked our flight out the following day. Unfortunately the direction of the swell was not right for the slab. We pitched our tents at a close by beachie.
The day started slow with a couple sizeable sets, but by midday beach break was almost maxing out, rogue sets would close out the bay, and intense rip currents were visible from the beach. Andre headed out and worked hard, getting wave after wave on the head to final scoop into a couple bombs. By the evening, the swell was really pushing in, and it was properly maxing out with extreme cross/offshore winds.
Even shooting Andre from the beach become a real struggle, offshore flares, chops and glares made it extremely difficult to spot him. I had completely lost sight of him for the last 20 min or so before he made his way back in and onto the beach.
“The swell that was suppose late and by late afternoon it had really jacked up…” Andre said.
“I’d been out in the water for about 45 minutes, working hard to get a few waves, with rouge swells and tough rips. It felt like being a sailor out on rough seas. Being out there alone really gave me a sense of isolation. Suddenly a humungous rip swept in and started dragging me out to sea and towards a very rocky area. I was battling that rip pretty much as hard as I could for about 15 minutes. With the sun setting and not being able to make much progress a sense of urgency and panic kicked in and I had to remind myself to stay calm. I can’t remember the last time I got this feeling, what a rush!”
We called it a day, hoping tomorrow would be a little bit cleaner and more manageable. Sleeping in a tent on the shoreline, could hear big barrels thundering throughout the night.
We awoke in the morning and the swell was still solid, but looked slightly cleaner and a bit more manageable. After a bit of crazy swim out, the sea glassed off for a few moments and me and Andre we able to link up on a couple.
After being in the water for a while I got stuck in the strongest rip current I have ever felt. I literally could not move closer to shore, and the current was pushing me out and around the point. Luckily Andre was close by and helped guard me out to sea and around the massive current to finally make our way back in down the beach.
With no jet ski for assistance, no cell phone reception to call for help, and the closest help or town is an hour drive away, we are completely reliant on each other for help should something happen or one of us get caught in a sticky situation.
The westcoast is filled with raw power and untouched natural beauty. The elements are harsh with cold evenings and the sun baking down during the day.
We spent one night in Cape Town and had a couple hours to spare before flying home so had a quick surf at a spot a bit closer to the airport, was nice to be back in some easier conditions and share a few barrels before flying home.