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The back of Sunset Reef with Chapmans Peak in the background.

The back of Sunset Reef with Chapmans Peak in the background.

The Lucky Call

It is always great to wake up to good news. If you are waking up in Cape Town, that good news might have to do with the waves.

Pat Burnett dropping in.

Pat Burnett dropping in.

With the sunlight behind the wave, it doesn't get better than this.

With the sunlight behind the wave, it doesn't get better than this.

10:00 am.

I get the call. I get the nod, from Craig, an avid surfer and fisherman. “Sunset Reef is working today, do you wanna come?”

“Yeah!” This is one of the premiere big surf breaks in Cape Town.

Craig proceeds to tell me that he needs to run his engines on his boat for the upcoming tuna season. At this point I really don't care, I just want to be on this boat and up close to this wave I've never experienced. Besides, it saved me from a boozy Saturday lunch.

12:00 am.

I surfed when I was younger and still an avid follower living vicariously through others, but now it is me and photography. After getting my gear together, the trusty 70/200 (at times a 400 would have been nice) and my MK2 Canon, I meet up with Craig in Hout Bay, we are dragged to the water from the boatyard by our best friend the tractor and we are off. Cool, now I'm off to see Sunset Reef up close and personal. Craig tells me, as we get to optimal speed, that the swell will pick up this afternoon. Being close to a big wave for my first time, the nerves jump a notch, knowing it's going to be not big, but bigger. “Eisch”... But hey, we are here to document a moment.

Sunset Reef and its neighbor, Dungeons, with its ever-lurking shark looking to snack on a seal, are two of Cape Town's formidable breaks which both have a reputation for big wave surfing.

“Getting to Sunset Reef from Kommetjie you have a one-kilometer paddle before getting started, unless you have the luxury of a boat or jet ski”

It's a break that can be surfed by paddle-in or tow-in and the surfers are looking for 20 feet waves and above to satisfy those crazy needs.

There are some crazy waves around South Africa, but that's another episode. The many aspects of big wave surfing, for me, are inspirational and scary at the same time and on that day we captured some moments from these fearless individuals at an awesome break. South Africa has a list of big wave surfers with Grant Baker from Durban SA, a big contender on the WSL Big Wave Tour 2019 and going strong - go 'Twiggy'!

1:00 pm.

A pretty crowded day at the office.

A pretty crowded day at the office.

Lots of paddling to be done.

Lots of paddling to be done.

Aswell as a bit of chaos at the office.

Aswell as a bit of chaos at the office.

Fellow photogs capturing these brutes.

Fellow photogs capturing these brutes.

So we arrive at Sunset Reef and it's looking good! The first thing that comes to mind about this wave, besides their sheer size and power, is how 'loud' they are. Just to add to the list of intimidating aspects of Big Wave Surfing, the thought of swimming around in that turbulent white water is just terrifying.

We cruised up and down the break for the rest of the afternoon enjoying the spectacle, while putting the Canon to work. What an awesome day, some spectacular wipeouts and epic rides, but the day had to end at some point and with that, we headed back to Hout Bay for the comforts of land.

4:00 pm.

Back in Hout Bay, sipping on a cold one... Until next time!

Internationals gearing up.

Internationals gearing up.

Craig sizing it up.

Craig sizing it up.

A Hawaiian local having a bit of meditation session.

A Hawaiian local having a bit of meditation session.

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I'm a South African and a Cape Town-based photographer loving life in a city with nature on its doorstep.
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