Stab Magazine | Cyclone Barrels, Sandbars And Destruction In Durban, The Gallery
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Cyclone Barrels, Sandbars And Destruction In Durban, The Gallery

“People’s homes washed away, man hole covers on the road were blown up and out and the streets were completely flooded by more than a metre of water.” 

news // Aug 3, 2016
Words by Morgan Williamson
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The first rain – in recent memory – poured down upon Durban a few days back along with heavy run-off, pollution and sandbars groomed for hollow pleasures. “For the past year the provence of KwaZulu-Natal has been suffering from a major drought,” lensman Luke Patterson tells Stab. “Most suburbs have been on strict water restrictions, and some places have had no water at all. The other day we had the gnarliest rainfall; it was about a year’s worth of rain in one day.” 

IMG 3830 Patterson2

The best thing about living in South Africa is you never have to stray too far for cooking surf. Here’s Twiggy adding another notch to his ever-expanding barrel resume.

The area isn’t designed for torrential downpour. It tore through Durban’s infrastructure, halted daily activity and became a safety hazard on and off the roads. “People’s homes washed away, walls were breaking, man hole covers on the road were blown up and out and the streets were completely flooded by more than a meter of water,” says Luke. “Some people lost their cars after they were submerged by the strong currents washing through the street.”

IMG 3743 Patterson

“This kid (Davey Van Zyl) actually concussed himself after one of his barrels and had to go hospital,” Luke tells us. “He asked me later what actually happened to him – he was a bit zonked.”

“One major issue that sucks for us surfers is all the shit that comes down the rivers,” Mr Patterson continues. “Throughout the year the villages and factories upstream dump all their waste onto the river banks. Major rainfalls like this gathers it all and brings it into the ocean and river mouths where most the good surf spots are.”

IMG 3930 Patterson

Josh Redman sips the fruits of the post-downpour-sandbars.

“The water quality is pretty bad,” says Luke. “I waited a couple days to shoot from the water because when taking water shots you’re constantly taking in water. And, that’s how you end up sick…not to mention occasionally head butting the odd dead goat.” 

IMG 5683 Patterson

“Luckily a crew of locals and surfers made an effort and cleaned it all the pollution on the shoreline up,” says Luke. “They had to because the government doesn’t give a shit.”

“The past four or five days have been mental in Durban,” he says. “Twiggy (Grant Baker) has been charging as usual. Josh Redman’s a crazy hellman who knows his way around the barrel and youngster, Davey Van Zyl have been the standouts in the sessions I’ve shot. The coast has been maxed out. Twiggy and I attempted a few surfs on the coast but it was super dodgy. So we headed to the piers instead.” 

IMG 6641 Patterson

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