The Lockdown in South Africa has kicked in, and no one is out and about on the streets. Everyone has bunkered down, and everyone is trying their best to do the right thing.
The South African Government, it seems, is running off the Chinese template, and forcing isolation on all of the population in a bid to flatten the curve.
In the process, a fantastic thing has happened. Surfers countrywide have locked down, and are not going surfing.
I want to think that the general surfing population in South Africa has woken up to the concept that the sooner this thing is over, the sooner we can all get back in the water.
It’s hard, though. Surfers are surfers, and they do what they want to do, and sometimes the urge to surf is overwhelming. The thing is, the main surfers, the elders and the hardcore locals, are keeping the surfing population in check.
It’s a simple philosophy: if we can lockdown and miss out on cooking waves – the very reason we live – then so can everyone else. It is hugely encouraging that the surfing community have decided as a collective to do the right thing.
JBay and Supertubes is probably the hardest place in the world to sit out a lockdown, but the core locals, and there are some pretty tough guys down there, are sitting it out and dealing with it.
It doesn’t help that most of those locals have, through the years, engineered their lives and their homes to have line-of-sight of the waves. If not Supers, then Point or Magnas.
They are not surfing, and the waves have been firing. If you haven’t been to JBay and surfed Supers, then the best way to describe it is this: all the superlatives you have ever heard about this place, all the ‘best ever’, ‘longest-ever’, ‘best tube’, ‘wave of my life,’ are all correct.
Not the place you want to be sitting through a lockdown.
There have been a few transgressors. One American surfer who pissed the locals off (see here), and two local kids couldn’t resist, and paddled out, but got caught and handed fines of R5,000 each (AU$458) – see here. There were also two surfers who surfed Bruces, but were called in and sent packing.
Right now the waves are firing in JBay, but there is no one out. No one wants to break this thing. We want to sit it out and get our lives back. The first person to crack will suffer the wrath of the locals as the others did.
For now, we’re all just ignoring the charts.