Fear And Frothing On The Dusty Road Out Of Durban
Watch “Xhosa,” a South African road trip with Beyrick De Vries.
Before we get to The Point, it is important we address the Journey, Beyrick, and the 10 days we spent in Africa.
Unless you’re South African, or pay granularly close attention to the QS, you most likely haven’t heard of Beyrick De Vries.
Beyrick is a surfer’s surfer. Ask anyone on the QS grind what they think or know of Beyrick. A wry smile will grace their face. He is one of surfing’s best-loved minor characters. Quick-witted. Funny. Brutally honest in the manner that only South Africans can pull off. Up ‘til 6am, winning expression sessions by 9.
Oh, and he also has an silky smooth forehand, and once beat Jordy with a 9.73. A tip of the hat.
He is as easy going as he is honest and I can think of few I’d rather take a trip with more than Beyrick.
A hazy few days at the Ballito Prime QS proceeded our journey. Oh, how we love a prime event! The underdogs! The upsets! The small town heroes! The passion! The nonchalance!
Those who surf sublimely well, but also love to send it, turning up red-eyed and ragged for heats (we salute you), the partying excellent and much recommended.
[Beyrick] is a surfer’s surfer. Ask anyone on the QS grind what they think or know of Beyrick. A wry smile will grace their face. He is one of surfing’s best-loved minor characters. Quick-witted. Funny. Brutally honest in the manner that only South Africans can pull off. Up ‘til 6am, winning expression sessions by 9.”
Prize monies are burnt as quickly as they are earned. Everything you think about the QS is true. Everything anyone has told you about the QS is true. Every rumour confirmed. An international revolving door fiesta, with a light focus on average waves.
Some faces change but most are the same. A tiered global series of sub-par nightclubs intermixed in daylight hours with a sub par dashing of waves yet very good surfing.
It’s a wonderful shit show.
But we bailed. Three days later, we drive through a town which I won’t name, but which seems to draw much inspiration, in terms of its social architecture (and to a certain extent moral tapestry) from Tatoutine and Mogadishu. More Black Hawk Down than The Search, and no, there’s no tourist office.
Every car is a Toyota, there’s a light sprinkling of AK47s in hands. Police stand guard over petrol stations with shotguns. There are guys standing on street corners selling individual bricks.
It’s loud, smoggy, the traffic on the main drag at standstill, and everyone is either shouting, selling buckets, or standing in the road.
The atmosphere is decidedly hostile and we’re the new boys in town in a shiny new Land Rover with 70 surfboards on the roof, armed with a Taser and a BB gun… and oh my fuck, if this goes south the odds are massively against us.
We’re rolling through at 5mph. We lock doors, don’t lock eyes. Heads down, traffic stops. Heads up, lock eyes. Shit.
Eyes that have seen a lot. Eyes set on faces with scars and scowls and how nice it would be to be anywhere else and christ my palms are sweaty.
Silence. A crew approached the car looking anything but friendly. Time stops. The traffic lurches forward, and suddenly we’re out of there.
The Concrete ends and its dirt roads from now on. We drive on, dust through jungles, desert, grass plains.
Our directions, written on a folded, dust-covered piece of paper that is constantly being lost, are as follows.
26.4 kms: Gravelled road. Veer left on fork
4.7 Kms: Dirt track. Second right at fork
3.7kms: Ford River, Second track upstream.
42.2 kms: Straight through village
29 kms: Left at sign
600m: Second track.
We spent 7 days on The Point. The Point is a different world from The City. Every day’s the same: good waves, good vibes, morning Coffee and Cigarettes an evening Black Label and Braai. Asleep by 9pm, awake by 5. Some days we forage mushrooms. We eat the biggest crayfish I’ve ever seen. The Point becomes home and the biggest worry we have was Sharks and rolling the land rover on the track to the point.
It was a blissful existence.
“We spent 7 days on The Point. The Point is a different world from The City. Every day’s the same: good waves, good vibes, morning Coffee and Cigarettes an evening Black Label and Braai. Asleep by 9pm, awake by 5. Some days we forage mushrooms. We eat the biggest crayfish I’ve ever seen. The Point becomes home and the biggest worry we have was Sharks and rolling the land rover on the track to the point.”
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