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Today was one of those days that you go to bed early for and then wake up at the crack of dawn with big expectations.  Unfortunately, I went to bed at half past midnight, didn’t sleep and then moaned my way to the coffee in the morning, looked out the window, saw an offshore and then passed out on the couch till 09h00.

It never blew the day before, my wife had gone abroad for a week and there was no way the couch was having me all day.  My friend Kingsley had also been bitching up a storm that I’d been neglecting him with all this freestyle bizness so a drive to quench his thirst for adventure and to meet the wind was in order. 

Zinkwazi for a surf seemed like a good compromise on such a lovely day.  On arrival, still no wind which suited me for the surf but the waves were poor on the point, so Kingsley was hopping around like a child, as the plan for many months had been to take the 5km run to Tugela Point, to scout it for kiting on the NE.  With Duzi training on the go again, having been sick for a month and a soft beach run, it seemed like an option to getting back on the program.  Stripped to the baggies and a cap we were off.  A couple fisherman, one or two locals grabbing mussels and we on our own with the coarse sand eating at the toes and the high tide beach angle biting in on the thighs. 

Strangely there was a good 4-6 foot southerly swell about, which made the ocean entertaining and as usual Kingsley and I were scouring the backline for the elusive right hand peeler.  Kingsley has taught me that seeing point breaks and bays from a distance, or even from Google Earth for that matter, is quite often a completely different story to actually being on the ground.  Most often than not a nice point headland or rocky outcrop looks epic from a distance but when you actually mission to it and stand on the spot, you end up asking the question; where is it?  Perspective is a bastard in the search for waves. 

Then again there are these surprises that stare you in the face and you don’t see them until they slap you with a wake up; which normally comes in the form of a spitting barrel or a rolling section that sets your fantasies afoot.  And so it was on my way to the Tugela point which had looked nice from far up on the Zinkwazi hill.  When out of nowhere on a full tide from far behind backline these sets start foaming, like that surprising art you get on your coffee every now and then.  It caught my attention so I stopped running thinking that it was just a washy set dropping its load on the sand, but it carried on and the next set behind started doing the same and the next until there was an army of waves assaulting my senses.  I paid attention thinking that’s impressive but they will all discharge in sudden closeouts as they jack up on the backline as with the rest of the beach.  But no, they jacked and they jacked and they curled and they spat all the way to my feet and I thought WT?

So I ran further up the beach to get another perspective for the next batch of sets and damn it was the same thing all over again.  Now I was interested.  I looked at the headland and there was nothing in the way of the wind or that looked too much like it had been a point back in its evolution.  I searched the shorebreak for some rocks and there was nothing that I could see on the high tide.  Disappointment set in as it meant a sandbreak, so next week it could all be gone, but then a nice suck back in the shorebreak and I saw it, the surfers best friend, the flat rock shelf, I screamed and Kingsley hit it out with a quick jingle and jive.  We were on the money, a rock shelf exposed to the swell and wind, we would be back with the weapons.  I puzzled my mind with Kingsley searching to name this spot.     

The Tugela Point was soon in sight and it was not looking too promising.  Full tide, steep beach and the rocky outcrop maybe a bit on the short side.  But then a set rolls in and breaks on the full tide, potential sets in.  By the time we get to the point the wind is up to 15 knots, it’s a cross off NE, it’s the good one, and I’m happy that on the neap to low tides it can deliver with a solid NE swell. So it gets bagged and stamped with a return with sender.  By now we are on the point and Kingsley starts his usual nonsense of; just a bit further Dean, when we see the river we can go back.  My feet are burning from sand chaff and we not even half way if Kingsley gets his way.    

What we see though coming off the North side of the point is worth the pain, absolutely perfect rolling right walls, the kind of crap you get down in Jeffery’s and this is on a high tide.  So now we need more perspective, let’s get away from the hill and see if the break gets wind.  We move on and what do we see, another break setting up and it looks even better, damn what is happening here?  We move on more and another break even better sets up from far out to sea and this one breaks onto the beach like a flashback clip of Vic Bay cutback mayhem.  I don’t know if I should, laugh, cry or scream.  All the time I’m thinking there is no ways I would paddle out surf any of these breaks, I know what lurks beneath here, but maybe a waveski or sup, but most definitely a kite.  I move on. 

By now I see fisherman, a crazy mullet diving in the green blue water, maybe for Crayfish and kids bodyboarding the shorebreak.  There’s a little vibe going on here, I know where I am, I recognize the accommodation and go double check if the dodgy road to the beach is still there.  I walk to where it meets the more of a main road and shit myself as a snake moves from out the sun as I spook it.  On the way back to the beach I ask a fisherman who’s getting back in his car how the parking is and if he’s been broken into here.  He says that’s why he is going, they tried to steal his battery and aerial but got caught in the act by another arriving fisherman, mmm. 

So the return journey began and I once again got to see at face value all these points and the place I dubbed the “Slab” delivering their jewels but now in a 20 knot NE.  I had planned to take my kite and board on the run to ride the wind home but this was a far one (16km’s in total) and just as well as I doubt I would have had the energy to make it around the point.  Tugela Point I now know is 2 km’s in itself, made up of 4 separate bays or points with two of them each individually being to the scale of a Zinkwazi and the other two being about the size of the Umdloti town points, if not bigger. 

By the time I got in eyeshot of Zinkwazi I would have sold my soul for a kite, board and something to drink.  I got in the car, hydrated and made a dash for the lagoon to catch an arvy session with the mates.  I arrived, no wind, what the hell?  Adventure rules it had been a good day and Kingsley was quieted once more.  Now to go back and klap it.      

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Comment by Dean Bottcher on October 16, 2012 at 8:45

Shot Craig.  A bit schitzo I think but was fun laughing while I wrote it.  I wanted to go camp up there this weekend, considering that I am a free man for a week, but the forecast is for a lot of rain and camping out in that is a drama.  I have taken Friday off and its also Marco's nightshift day so we may call a board meeting for a return trip, otherwise I will watch the weather and play it as it goes for the weekend.  I'll put the word out if I'm going up, will be good to have company.  When I was wogging (walk/jog) back from Tugela I saw that Zinkwazi is actually a point within a point, there are two more points just south of it.  If we can get the boys up there we could do a downwinder second to none, in an 8km stretch we could ride 8 point breaks, that's crazy.        

Comment by Craig Allsopp on October 15, 2012 at 18:36

Sweet write up Dean.  I'll join you guys for a session up there if you want to head out there soon?

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