The World Tour Will Forever Return To South Africa, Here's Why
Love on the rocks: No Contest does ZAF!
If you were to poll the 50+ WCT athletes, as well as the hundreds tasked with rolling along with the circus—trainers, coaches, judges, photographers, filmers, etc.—which of the eleven stops on the World Tour was their absolute favorite, the lion's share would profess, unequivocally: South Africa.
As if the country's ridiculous exchange rate (.07 cents US will get you a single rand) weren't enough, it happens to be home to what most consider to be the world's most consistently perfect right-hand point in the world, as well as a land of near limitless opportunity for on-land fun.
For this episode of No Contest, the boys hop in the Landy with South African international big wave playboy Frank Solomon, as well as decorated Safa adventure and surf photog Alan Van Gysen, the man known formally as AVG, to get a lay of the land, as well as a first-hand look at some South African wildlife.
They catch a session with pretty much the entire WCT at Jeffreys, on the day of the year, and watch Kolohe Andino, Conner Coffin, Malia Manuel, Kelly Slater, and Stephanie Gilmore give the place a proper going over, before doing their damndest not to get smoked on the mussel-strewn rocks trying to get in "The Keyhole"—a fifteen-foot wide gap of sand in the half-mile-long craggy point.
There wasn't a session that went down between heats that Kelly Slater wasn't on.
Carissa Moore, on the opening stretch of the J-Bay speedway, and what most agree is the fastest wave on the World Tour.
If you’re coming to South Africa, you better like meat. The place is a carnivore's dream, and these days one of the country’s most exported delicacies is Biltong, an indigenous style of cured meats like ostritch, kudu, antelope, and of course beef and pork, that’s cut into long strips, salted, and hung out to cure. While African tribes relied on it to get them through long migratory trips out of the Cape Colonies, these days it’s the perfect snack to get you through a marathon Jeffreys session. With Mikey February in town for the Corona Highline, the boys scoop the South African stylist for a mission to the J-Bay Biltong shop, and meet Johanna Goosen, who has been serving the WCT for more than 23 years.
Then, the No Connie crew comes just short of pushing Host Ashton Goggans off a bridge, and not just any bridge, but the world's tallest bungee jump. Just an hour and half drive from Jeffrey’s Bay is the Bloucrans Bridge which spans the inspiring Bloucrans River, separating the Western and Eastern Capes of South Africa. At 216m, or a little over 700 feet, the jump offers five to six seconds of freefall, and is a right of passage for any of the surfers on tour, once they’ve finished the event.
The right-hand points of South Africa have been the benchmark by which all waves are judged, ever since Bruce Brown, Hynson, and August walked over the dunes at Cape St. Francis almost sixty years ago. South Africa is, no question, a top-5 destination for any surfer, and the waves are just the tip of the spear. This is No Contest: South Africa.
Julian Wilson leaning into a meaty, hollow Supertubes sweetheart on the best day of the year at Jeffreys so far.
Caroline Marks got her first taste of proper Jeffreys at size before the event window, and the pairing was a thing of pure beauty (and brute force).