Viral Destruction

We all know about computer viruses – those nasty, sneaky little bits that infest your hard-drive until the point where the controlling system simply cannot function any more and shuts down. Fortunately anti-viral software can largely eliminate the invaders and allow your computer to operate relatively unaffected. It's not foolproof and the odd new virus can sneak through and ruin your fun.

But when you get a real virus in the real world of your body it's not so simple. Each year along comes a new, mutated and 'improved' virus. We don't yet have biological anti-virus protection so mostly your body has to deal with the problem with the help of a few medicinal 'patches' to direct the repair function.

Having spent the last week in a state of total non-functionality while my system battled with this year's version of the flu virus, I was amazed at the sheer volume of recovery needed to get back to a functional state. Must be the inevitable consequence of advancing age.

A hell of a lot happened over the last 2 weeks and I missed a lot of it. The SA senior surfing team trumped the success of their masters by claiming the gold medal at the ISA world surfing games with Shaun Joubert claiming the prestigious men's gold as a bonus. This is a huge achievement when you consider the industry and government support most of the other teams get. Hats off to Surfing South Africa for their amazing administration and support. It's also great to see Shaun coming of age and maturely leading his team to victory.

The ASP WCT also ran the Billabong Rio Pro in appalling conditions at Barra de Tijuca. Surely only the prospect of big money could have motivated these guys to surf in what was mostly unrideable crap surf. Being true professionals, the guys pulled out all the stops and the event produced some of the most progressive surfing seen in a CT event. By the second day all serious bets were on the Brazilian surfers until Jordy Smith hit the water and started blowing minds and competitors away. He was pretty much unstoppable and his competitive game has reached a new level. He was so obviously having fun and proving his status as THE showman. He has also shown that he is now a serious contender for the title race – watch this space!

Jordy having a blast!

It's almost impossible to have a contest in Brazil without controversy. This time there was a selection of controversies. Even before the contest was properly underway there was the obvious “Why Brazil not J-Bay?” screaming match. Then there was the “claiming” controversy which amusingly resulted in a couple of classic “Anti-Claims” by Felipe Toledo and Gabby Medina.

The only controversy with any merit was the way in which the judges and officials seemingly turned a blind eye to a number of rule infractions committed by Gabriel Medina. Having condoned an outright drop-in by Medina on a bitterly frustrated Ace Buchan, they then failed to call a blatant paddle interference on Adriano De Souza and completely ignored Medina's illegal use of a jet-ski assist. This is an unacceptable failure to equally apply the rules and the ASP really needs to explain their negligence.

The WCT rankings are now headed by De Souza with Jordy in second followed by Mick Fanning and King Kelly. This year it's gonna be really tight and there's not likely to be any second chances.

Thanks to my viral destruction I haven't been near the water in over a week so I can't offer much on the local conditions. We did have a few epic sessions at both Graveyards and the Beachie the previous week so hopefully the rest of the Chintsa crew have been enjoying the waves in my absence.

Last word comes from my Old Man. When he was a kid people still used to die from serious flu infections. “If you could be vaccinated against cancer you would; so why the hell didn't you have a flu vaccination?”

Wise Words.

See ya in the water……soon


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Sunday Heavy Sunday

So the swell arrived! Sunday morning sunrise dawned on a fairly perfectly set up day. The forecast long-period swell was very much in evidence for the dawn patrol chargers out at Queensberry bay.

The early session was rather more crowded and intense than a normal Sunday as the waves were heavy and most of those in the water were warming up for the next round of the Border Surfrider's selection trials.

Contests are fascinating events. Apart from all the socializing amongst a wide-spread but tight community, there are all the human dramas of competition, winners and losers, heroic attempts and epic failures.

Add to this a solid swell that was throwing some unpredictable overhead faces and the odd huge clean-up set and it was game on!

The first few heats had a straight offshore which scored them cleaner waves, but the odd over-the-falls pin drop showed that the take-offs weren't that easy. The open crew had a go followed by the u20's and then they sent us out. Having judged most of the previous heats I figured that if I could avoid a serious hiding I'd be in with a chance.

Paddling off the back of Q-Bay is always a bit tricky, but when the swell is up it gets really sketchy. Time it wrong and you pay! Seppie managed to remove one of his fins on the way out and had to swap boards with Avo at the change-over.

I waited for my first wave and skilfully snagged a close-out. There was a fair bit of dodging of wide peaks going on out the back until Dago Coetzee lucked out and took a solid set right on the head. At Q-Bay you can be paddling out happily while your mate just over there is getting toasted.

Mike Brent went down on one and snapped his leash, losing his board. I caught one of the wide ones and had just done a close-out move in the middle of the bay when Mike's board came flying past me. After a marathon swim session, Mike made it to shore in the bay.

And just as it was getting fun the hooter blows and its all over! Unfortunately not enough to advance from my side, so a dismal 5th place finish.

The up side of that was that I got to relax and watch the rest of the semi's and finals. There was some heavy ripping going on and some equally heavy beatings were experienced.

Performance of the day surely goes to Wayne Monk. The man was bouncing around like the Duracell bunny and showed the lightees and the toppies how its done by winning both the open and kahuna(O/45) divisions. He also scored the best barrel which is it's own reward. Wayne also found time to coach his son Michael into first place in the u17's.

Paul Proctor was in really good form and showed some smooth power surfing. His off the lip aerial stall in the Masters final had the judges frothing so they threw the big score, giving him the edge over the Foot. Proccy also nailed down a 4th place in the open final.

Greg struggled to get waves that let him throw big moves and seemed a bit frustrated with the conditions.

The Johnsons put on their usual display of unadulterated power surfing and ended up with triple final finishes. Tyrell aced the highest wave score of the day to take the O/30's final with Jethro 3rd and Orrin 4th.

Clinton Gravett showed some classic backhand style in his 2nd place finish to Monkee. Very reminiscent of AC at his carving best.

The u20's had a few moments and Mitch, Avo and Jordan all impressed. Mitch And Avo both went for moves that would have scored big if they'd made them so there was no shortage of commitment.

A special mention for the guys in the O/30's final who managed to get caught at the back of the bowl by the set of the day just before their final started. When Jethro 'Shrek' Johnson tells you he got hammered, it was heavy!

And then it was all over bar the seemingly endless slog into the wind, burdened with boards and crap you really didn't need to bring, all the way back to the car-park.

There's a genuine camaraderie that people who face risky situations together experience. After a day of facing some challenging waves most of the crew were pretty stoked. Heavy waves always give you a sense of having pushed your boundaries a bit. With competition that often combines with personal rivalries.

There is a whole world of weird and wonderful experience tied up in competition surfing.

The fact that you often have to face up against others who you know damn well are capable of beating you doesn't diminish the possibility that today you could get lucky and they get skunked. The waves often decide the winner, so it works the other way round as well. That's the nature of competitive surfing.

For full results check Border Surfriders Association – East London Surfing

See ya in the Water


Photos coutesy of Allen Harris

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Waves of Change


Waves of Change


The torrential downpours of the past weekend certainly put a damper on many people's plans. I haven't seen any official figures but I know I twice emptied a very overflowing 100mm rain gauge so I'd guess somewhere over 250mm for the weekend.


That's a lot of rain! With the high intensity, the ground very quickly became saturated and there was some serious run-off. That's where the erosion comes in. The areas I've seen have shown some serious run-off erosion and all the coastal streams have washed out with a vengeance.

We also had some significant swell over the weekend with waves topping out somewhere around the 12-15ft height on the outside breaks. With all the rain it was actually hard to see the size of the swell, but the effects were evident on the beaches afterwards.


The good news of course, is that there are now a whole range of brand new sandbanks all over the east coast. Just the type of thing a surfer needs with a mythical swell approaching.

Monday's surf forecasts set everyone buzzing about the upcoming weekend. Wjndguru in particular has been forecasting a swell with a wave period of between 16-20 seconds coming in on Saturday evening and peaking on Sunday. Long-period swell is the best source of quality waves. Ever wondered why sometimes the waves are sizey but have no power? That's probably short-period swell. When the period gets longer, the waves have a much higher horizontal component to their forward motion – that's push to me and you! Having surfed a previous 13-15 second small swell, I can't wait!

Depending on whose forecast comes through we could be looking at anything from 3-8 feet. One thing you can count on though – It's gonna be hollow and cranking! With a North to northwest wind you couldn't ask for better conditions. Don't let anything stand in your way of getting to the beach on Sunday morning – you have been warned!!

Spike's little joke – this posting of a previous epic swell had the guys dusting off their rhino- chasers.


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Lost & Found


Lost & Found


There's been an awful lot of bad news lately. Nuclear crises, murders – take your pick – bombs, corruption and even SA loans to ZimBoBwe. It's really great to find a bit of news that makes you feel good. It's even better when it involves the good fortune of a fellow surfer.

Late last night the surfer's social media network was abuzz with the disappearance of Cape Town surfer, Brett Archibald, from a Mentawai charter boat during a storm. Brett had gone on deck during the overnight trip as he was badly seasick. When the boat arrived at their destination they found one man missing and the alarm was raised. His crew alerted the entire Sumatran charter boat fleet by fb messages and a huge search effort was started.

Just when hope was wearing thin, a message came through that he'd been picked up by another charter boat after nearly thirty hours in the water. He was dehydrated and stung by jellyfish, but otherwise unharmed and apparently frothing to rejoin his mates for the rest of their trip. What a happy ending!

Welcome back too, to all the masters surfers who returned from their amazingly successful trip to Ecuador. I'm sure they will all have blown off their jet-lag with a session at Reef by now.

The big-wave season is starting in the southern hemisphere with the Punta Lobos event on hold in Chile. Click on the link to see a video of the trials:

Punta Lobos is a really gnarly wave with a scary reputation. It was also the scene of some mayhem back in the day when the Chilean federales tried to clear out the feral surfers squatting around the point. In the process a couple of skulls got dented and the forest around the point went up in flames leaving the once idyllic point burnt and desolate.

Nowadays Quiksilver has picked up on the legacy of Punta Lobos and it mostly gets attention when the big-wave crew sniff a swell approaching. These guys are really serious about the whole big-wave scenario. You wouldn't consider paddling out there unless you were really committed. There is a fair crew of locals who charge when it gets up too. The South American big-wave riders are notorious hellmen and with a break like this you can see why.

Check the website to see the event status as there's bound to be some heavy action when the swell hits.

Speaking of which; the winter fronts are starting to swing up our eastern coast. After 2 days of flat sea – and beautiful weather – the swell is building with the fresh south-westerly. Unfortunately there's not much window of opportunity for good waves as the wind is due to swing southerly bringing rain and clouds. The next likely looking day is Sunday so plan your weekend around it. There is a little gap tomorrow morning early so best you get on it before the wind turns.

See ya in the water




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Saffas Bring Bling!


Saffas Bring Bling:


The SA Masters team has gone ballistic again! Two Golds, two Silvers and a team Silver! This is an amazing achievement for a team that was unfunded and went to the champs without a coach and manager.

Chris Knudtson kicked off an amazing morning in Montanita (Ecuador) by charging into an early lead with clean, smooth surfing and just never looked back on his way to his 4th Gold medal! Not many people will ever win 4 world titles – what a legend!

Heather Clark came within 0.09 of a gold medal with some power hacks on her backhand to take Silver. The woman's heat seemed to get the most waves and the ladies went to town. Layne Beachley was maybe a bit fortunate the judges preferred her smooth approach to Heather's power blasts – probably not a very popular decision with the Saffa supporters.

Herbie had another titanic hassle with the waves going MIA and the guys paddling each other too deep up the point. Herbie's surfing is so good to watch in good waves, but he couldn't find the wave he needed and had to settle for silver. Andre's working his way up from copper to bronze to silver so watch out for gold next year. Herbie's absolute determination and calm under pressure will see to that.

The Foot just blew up all over his final. After about 10 minutes of futzing about, Greg pulled the pin and went ballistic. It's abundantly clear that as far as contests go, Emslie hasn't lost any of the skills that saw him become a WCT veteran. His surfing was sublime with everything from a massive off-the-roof floater to gouging rail carves – all at warp speed. After combo'ing everyone Greg got a bit anxious when Kalani Robb got out of combo – so he combo'ed them all again! Quite possibly a first for a world championship final. The Bigfoot Blitzkrieg just rolled over the Masters division and Greg was clearly very stoked in his post-heat interview.

And while all the drama was being enacted – nerves worn frayed and beers drank – in the background team SA inched from 4th to 3rd to 2nd with each final result.

This is an achievement the team should be exceptionally proud of. The team members had to pay their own way and, to save money, travelled without their manager and coach. Of course, any team including the Herbie brothers and Bigfoot has 3 world-class coaches, but you can't really compete and coach. I may be imagining it, but it seemed that our guys started really lighting up after Dave Herbie got knocked out and went backstage. Monkee, Carl and Gary were always on the water's edge too. Team SA is a tight unit and they all did their best to earn that silver medal.

The SA Masters team is surely one of the winningest teams in SA sports and it's really tragic that they don't get the sponsored support that the overseas teams get. Surfing development obviously focuses on the junior surfers but we need these events and champions so that the legends can pass on their skills and EXPERIENCE to the juniors. These are the coaches and mentors that SA surfing needs to develop their future stars and they deserve better!

So that's how I spent my afternoon – watching some of our local boys battle it out for world titles – live from the other side of the world. Ain't technology wonderful?

WindGuru may have been a bit optimistic with their wind forecast this morning. The forecast NW failed to materialise, but there were a few good waves. The single fins got a good wetting. I'm not sure yet what it is, but something feels real good when you get a single fin swinging on a good wall. Our camera crew is on dishwashing duty for the foreseeable future as the camera battery pack went flat as we were paddling out. After a good workout it was back to Barefoot for breakfast.

I couldn't make it back to Barefoot on time for the webcast, so I missed out on the crowd, the good company, the beers(not really) and the pizza; But next contest….

See ya at the Barefoot Cafe




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Saturday Nite Late


Saturday Nite Late



Today was one of those days. The onshore was up from very early and there didn't seem to be too much urgency to get to the beach.

I have been working on some extremely complex board repairs (more on that later) so I figured that would take care of most of the morning – plenty of time for a surf and then the ISA World masters for the afternoon. As things turned out I ran out of resin and time so I ended trying to get the webcast up without getting any nice, fresh resin on my keyboard.

So what's this? No rugby? You gotta be kidding me. Thanks to a rather hot resin mix I missed almost all of Monkee's heat and was sorry to see him go down in what is effectively the quarterfinals. These are incredibly hard heats. Surfing against 3 of the best guys from around the world in 15 minute heats! Wayne fell victim to the inconsistent waves to end an inspired run.

Then Heather Clark ripped her way into the grand final in the woman's division. Pretty cool to watch. Chris Knudtson then gave the Grand Kahuna's a wake-up call with a solid performance. Great stuff! Two more Saffas in finals meant we jumped up the team standings to 4th or 5th.

Andre Herbie had me bouncing in agitation as he flirted with disaster in the Kahuna's. Herbie got left behind at the start of the heat, but kept his cool amazingly to come back with his best 2 waves in the last 5 minutes. His last wave was tactically brilliant – a smaller inside runner that he clinically demolished all the way to the beach. Not many of the thousands of Saffas watching were breathing for the few minutes after the heat until the judges finalised their scores. Herbie through to the Final! 4 Saffas and the team is now chasing 3rd place.

After the surfing I looked in on the Bulls vs Cheetahs game. After 10 minutes – or 5 Morne Steyn kicks – I gave up and went back to the board repair.

So tomorrow its gonna be Fergie in the Womans, Nutto in the Grand Kahuna's, Herbie in the Kahuna's and Greg 'Foot' Emslie in the Masters. 4 Saffas in finals, two of them our own Border locals and the team fighting for a medal – All live on the webcast at the Barefoot Cafe.

Speaking of which – we're gonna have light north-westerlies early and the single-fins are coming off the wall. Come throw a carve or two early and make a day of it!


See ya in the water



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Blood on the Sand


Blood on the Sand



Who wasn't shocked by this picture? It's not the type of thing that any surfer wants to see. Guys brawling on the beach, scaring the kids and upsetting the hot chicks sunbathing – Its not on! Conflict and violence do not belong on the hallowed ground of the coast!

Thankfully there was no serious injury or worse, BUT the situation could very easily have spiralled out of control if there were not so many witnesses who intervened. Added to which the alleged aggressor has police connections and you have a recipe for bloodshed.

It could also just as well have gone sour if a whole bunch of surfers had left a battered and bloody jet-skier lying on the beach. We are all associated with the actions of those of us who happen to stumble into the public spotlight.

It's kind of weird to link this incident with the normal tranquil and laid-back image of Port Alfred. I first surfed PA on a regular basis in about '86 while at Rhodes and the only locals were students. Of them, there was a hard-core group who were always keen to hit the Bathurst road – Guys like Steve Pike (Spike of WaveScapes) and the late Steve Kruger. Port Alfred was a bit like the Wild Coast inverted and the waves were really good. Crowds did not exist.

Somewhere along the line a local crew developed. Over the years they have had a few difficult and serious issues to deal with so they are a pretty tight group. They have also had to deal with increasing pressure on their waves as just about everyone passing through stops for a surf check – even King Kelly – and as we all know, visitors sometimes forget their manners or don't know the local ones.

So when a respected local surfer confronts someone whose behaviour threatens the safety of other beach users to voice the concern of all the others on the beach, you don't really expect it to turn into the WWF? Or do you?

The real issue at stake in this incident is effective control of public amenities. Consider that the jetski had to be launched. Is the East Beach a legal place to launch? Was the pilot drinking in public while in control of the jetski? Did he ride the jetski in close proximity to other people in the water? These are questions that the local Municipality and Police Services need to answer.

Two clear conclusions can be drawn from this event: Firstly the local Municipality has no control over it's main tourist facility. Secondly the SAPS in Port Alfred are hopelessly incompetent.

It is increasingly apparent that where the relevant authorities are ineffective, people are taking the law into their own hands out of frustration and anger.

When you add to this the rather touchy issue of ego's being challenged, it doesn't take much to pull the pin.

We are pretty fortunate in our little corner to have a well-controlled and managed launch-site. We have a huge beach and we surely don't need to see this type of incident ever.

BUT it all depends on people's attitudes and their level of social responsibility. The original legislation controlling beach use was masterfully simple. In a nutshell it stated that any legal beach use may be conducted so long as it was not to the detriment of the enjoyment of other beach users. A principle we should all aspire to uphold.


See ya in the water!


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Hey! We're back! After a rather prolonged absence, the Barefoot surf blog has been resurrected.

A lot has happened since the first post – Parko went on to win the world title in a heat-by-heat slugfest in which Slats actually took the lead for a while before bowing out, we had a peaceful festive season with no unfortunate drama, Lots of visitors enjoyed a welcome break at Chintsa and, most importantly, we have had a shed load of great waves.

Strangely enough there's been a heap of surfing related stuff happening lately and over the next few posts we'll see how some of them relate to us.

Right now the first probes of winter are starting to make themselves felt. I hope I am the only one who missed the early north-wester this morning – clean swell and straight offshore! We can expect a lot more of these early morning super-conditions as winter comes calling.

The beachbreak has been seeing a lot of action lately. Along with a fair helping of swell, there's been plenty of days with light winds and that's what the beachie likes. With the South-westers most of the waves have been in the corner, but with winter morning conditions there's likely to be more action on the northern banks.

Graveyards has been grumbling as it wakes up too. Monday and Tuesday saw Denver calling the crew into a few sessions that had more than a hint of Victory at Sea about them. Howling offshores and capping outside sets made it challenging to say the least. Mike and Justin had a few good ones and we had a surprise visit from the Fishman who only comes to EL to work nowadays but still finds time to get a few sessions in – Legend!

The ISA's World Master's Champs is on in Ecuador at the moment. As usual half the team consists of Border surfers so if you have a chance check them out on the live webcast that starts around 2pm daily. The guys have had mixed fortunes, but Wayne Monk and the Herbies are still in with a chance through the repercharge rounds, while Greg Emslie has blazed his way through his heats leaving stunned competitors combo'ed and bewildered. The wave at Montanita looks insane, but it can be inconsistent and by the surfing I've seen must be a lot harder to read than it looks. Check it out at » 2013 ISA World Masters Surfing Championship, April 6 – 14, Montañita – Ecuador

The Barefoot Cafe is planning a few more attractions for the surfing public. The Surf Festival is definitely on (date TBA) and there are other weekend functions on the cards. Barry has set up the webcast so there will also be live surfing – with beers and pizza.

So there's a lot to be upbeat about. Just when we all need something positive to focus on.

See ya in the water!



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Welcome to the Mouse Report

Hi guys
Welcome to the Barefoot surf blog. Our idea is that this will be a hub for the Chintsa surfing community.

Barefoot Café has been a rather convenient place to find other surfers for a number of years. With Lloyd pushing things along – via Brian and the crew – we’ve had a couple of highly enjoyable contests, some memorable events, benefits and, most importantly, Barefoot has become an integral part of our surfing life.

And what a privileged surfing life that is! There are probably no other spots left in the developed world where you can end up missing a classic session because you couldn’t find someone to surf with. The locals being what they are, these often turn into solo sessions. As much as it’s a spiritual experience to have cooking waves with not a soul in sight, its much more fun to have a few buddies along to share the experience.

And that’s essentially what all this is about. Sharing the experience.

We all get a fair- ha ha- bit of time in the water – let us know what’s been happening in and around the surf. Lets hear about that epic session at Cefane or who got milked at Queensberry. If you’ve got proof – pics or vid – lets put it up and share with the plebs.

Are you worried about the effect this will have on the area? Really?? It’s not like we are any kind of secret society out here.

Did you see Kyle Galloway’s classic spread in the ‘zag? He surfed with us at the beach earlier and we had an epic session at the Yard later. He was amping on his Barefoot brunch. The next time the Yard worked Denver had to beg me to go surf with him because there was no-one around.

Not many people make the mission to get out here so lets face it; we’re not gonna get invaded because you posted some pics. If it bothers you, don’t name the spots.

So there you go for a kick-off. Lots of fertile ground for chirps. I’ve got a date with my TV and the possible last day of the o’neill coldwater classic. Mick and JJ have blown it, Kelly’s hanging on by his toe-nails and Parko has looked unbeatable. The end of the year looms and the outside rankers are smelling blood. Raoni is trouble for anyone, Travis looks his best ever and Wilko has finally been kicked up the ass by someone. Top TV anyone?


One thought on “Welcome to the Mouse Report

  1. admin

    Great article!

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