A Breath of Life

I recently came across this moving surfing documentary that I thought would be great to share. Check out the description and video below!

To some people, surfing is a way of life. From birth, they are taught that the ocean is a resource, a place of healing, and something you never turn your back on. The lives of most surfers consist of traveling around the world in search of the perfect waves. They have built careers from it. Without the ocean, their lives would be incomplete. To cystic fibrosis patients, the ocean is something entirely different, it is a way to prolong their lives. For years, researchers have explored the connection between Cystic Fibrosis and the ocean. It was noted that in Australia, kids with Cystic Fibrosis who surfed all the time had better lung functions then the kids who were not in the ocean on a regular basis. They attributed this to the fact that the oceans high content of saline helps expel the secretions from the lungs.

In 2007, brothers, James and Charles Dunlop read an article about this connection. Being life long surfers themselves, decided to do something about it. It started first as just a simple idea: Get kids with cystic fibrosis surfing. What resulted was something incredible. Cystic fibrosis patients have to schedule their lives around hours of breathing treatments, chest therapy, and about 45 pills a day in order to stay healthy. Surfing is the one treatment that has proven to help cystic fibrosis patients more than ever. The oceans high content of saline acts as a natural lubricant which clears their lungs and makes breathing easier.

 

My Favorite Surfing Spots In Cape Town

The surfing in Cape Town, South Africa is phenomenal. As I previously discussed, there are a number of great surf spots in South Africa, offering up a variety of conditions and atmospheres. Now that I have left Cape Town, I have had time to reflect on some of my favorite surfing locations in Cape Town. Here are my 5 favorite surfing spots in Cape Town, South Africa.

1) Long Beach

After four months of Cape Town surfing, I would call Long Beach, located in the surf town Kommetjie, my “home break.” It has a very consistent beach break, which is great for those that are new to the area. Located on the right side, there is a steep and fast short break, which ideal for the more advanced surfers; on the left side there are much more manageable breaks as well. The locals are nice at Long Beach, making for an extremely enjoyable surf. There are also some spectacular views of Chapman’s Peak here as well.

2) Big Bay

It was not until about a month and a half left in my trip that I had the opportunity to surf Big Bay, but it quickly became one of my favorite spots. Located just 20 minutes on the other side of Table Bay, the views overlooking Cape Town are truly spectacular. Big Bay also has beach break with multiple peaks. While the location is very crowded on the weekends, if you get there on a weekday morning, you will find the water nearly empty. When it is time to take a rest, there is a lively shopping center located right on the beach, with surf shops and restaurants, perfect for a post-surf beer or coffee.

3) Dunes

While it is a long journey to reach, Dunes is a regional classic for South Africans. After parking your car at Noordhoek Beach, you will then have to head another 30 minutes down the beach to Dunes. Once you are there, you will know it. It takes a fair amount of swell to get going, but when the conditions are right, the waves is a perfect and powerful: A-frame breaking to the left and the right.

4) Victoria Bay

I had the opportunity to surf Victoria Bay one time while we were doing the Garden Route road trip. Victoria Bay is a 3-hour drive up the eastern coast from Cape Town. Victoria Bay has a right point break that works consistently. There is a tough take off spot over shallow rocks, but once you are up it is a great long right.

5) Witsand

Located on the other side of Kommetjie, Witsands is somewhat of a last resort break. Although the waves aren’t usually the best, the water is crystal clear and there are great views of Misty Cliffs. Witsands is also rarely crowded, so it is nice to have some space and not worry about other riders.

 

7 Surfing Tips For Beginners

mack prioleau

Surfing is an amazing sport. But just like any sport, it takes time, patience and physical coordination to learn how to do it. If you are new to surfing, there are probably a number of questions you are unsure of, including: what board to use, how to get up on the board, and how to behave around veteran surfers in the water? If you are looking to hit the water for the first time, here are 7 things that you should know.

1) What To Wear

When it comes to surfing wardrobe, the main factor to consider is the water temperature. If you are going to be in warm water, you will probably only need a pair of boardshorts and a rash guard – a shirt that prevents irritation from the sun and surfboard wax. However, if you are going out in some colder temperatures, you will want to invest in an assortment of surf wear to make the experience tolerable. You will want a sleeveless vest, a long-sleeved jacket and a head-to-toe hooded wetsuit. You should look for items made with neoprene, which is warm, tough and durable. Lastly, you will want to get a leash, which is a ankle strap that secures you to your board. The leash will save you from having to chase down the board when you wipe out.

2) The Right Board

Your first surfboard should be easy to handle and built to last until you are ready for something more advanced. The size and construction of the board are the two factors that impact the handling and durability the most. Longer and wider boards are much more stable. You should find a board that matches your size, however, even if you are small you will still want a board on the bigger side. As for construction, softboards, which are made of foam for extra buoyancy are good for true beginners. However, fast learners may want to consider an epoxy board, which consists of a foam core encased in epoxy resin. These boards are both buoyant and tough.

3) The Right Spot

The idea spot to learn to surf is the ocean equivalent of a kiddie pool: straight, sandy shoreline, free from hazardous rocks and reefs, with a few strategically placed sandbars. These conditions allow for waves to build, but not to overwhelming sizes. You will also likely avoid veteran surfers in these areas because the waves break up quickly. This means that you will not feel self-conscious or pressured while in the water. Veteran surfers can also be very territorial and often look at newcomers as a nuisance and a danger, which can be true. It is helpful to ask people where the place is very beginners wherever you go.

4) Get In Shape

Getting in shape makes it much easier to learn how to surf. Surfing is a whole-body surf, but certain muscle groups get worked much more than others. You need strong arms for paddling and core strength to pop up from lying on the board to standing. Balance is extremely important. If you want to be able to pop up and ride the waves you will need to have great balance to make your time in the water worthwhile.

5) Learn To Read The Weather

It is important to check surf reports and surf forecasts before you hit the beach. Surf reports and forecasts are readily available online or as a phone application. To apply the information, you will need to understand the key terms and some basic meteorology. Two important terms to understand are groundswells and windsells. Groundswells are high-energy waves, produced by strong winds far out at sea. Windswells, the products of local winds, are weaker. It is important to note that surf conditions are, in general, much less predictable than the weather.

6) Watch And Learn

You can learn a lot just by watching other surfers in the water. You should definitely take some time to observe from the beach before you get into the water yourself. Take note of physical features and objects, such as jetties, piers and fishing boats. Check for flags and signs that signal for hazardous conditions. You will also want to familiarize yourself with the line-up, which is the area offshore where surfers wait to catch waves. Avoid crossing the path between waiting surfers and the surf.

7) Obey Surfing Etiquette

Although it is an individual sport, surfing is very much a community where people share the waves. Learning and following the unwritten code of conduct is extremely important for beginners. It prevents accidents and shows that you respect your fellow surfers. For example, wait your turn in the lineup. It is also discouraged to catch a wave when another surfer is already riding it, so pay attention to what is going on around you.

For more information, please check out this article.