I climb out of the car, close my eyes, and take a big hit of oxygen…
It’s time to get started.
This ain’t no Waikiki or Malibu, but what makes this surf spot so special is that it is the birthplace of surfing in Sub–Saharan Africa.
I remove my glasses, rub my eyes and say au revoir to the last steaming caffeine shot of black gold in my styrofoam cup. I glance up to the sky to check out the surfing conditions.
The shark spotter’s flag is flying high... a Jolly Roger indicating poor visibility. Surf at your own risk.
The sky is green with fog hanging over both ocean and mountain, softening the light and darkening the water. These conditions are great for photography but not so great for surfing.
The culture of surfing fascinates me.
There are surfers who treat it like a religion, and those who have a “lust for freedom... and the ability to live life at a pace that kills”. (Warshaw: The History of Surfing)
It is almost impossible to capture the spirit of surfing in a single frame. The ocean, the waves, and the people are all larger than life. The only way I found it feasible to capture a nuance of surfing and its people was to shoot panoramic portraits. Usually motion is what seems to capture the intensity of the sport best, but I wanted to concentrate on the people, and emphasise the soulfulness of surfing through their portraits.
My backdrop is Muizenburg, home of surfing in South Africa. The waves are good all year round, but especially perfect in the winter with the northwest winds creating clean, long lines.
The calm, gentle breaks are perfect for both amateur and professionals.
This is where I felt it best to start my “Seeking sirens” series…
Where it all began.