January 16, the third day of our vacation in South Africa, was a windsurfing day dedicated to some spots of the Cape of Good Hope: Scarborough and Witsand. They are positioned in one of the most fascinating stretches of the Western Cape coast. The spots conditions, and in particular those found at Scarborough, however, proved to be physically demanding.
Windsurfing, session report: Scarborough (and Witsand), South Africa, 16 January 2020
On the third day of vacation, after the full day of January 15th (read report), tiredness has already begun to emerge .... As also claimed by an experienced (and young ...) rider like Andrea Franchini, in South Africa you have to learn to manage yourself, because going out every day, and doing a double session (in the morning and afternoon), means running out of batteries quite soon ...
But if conditions are good, it is difficult to give up.
As scheduled, on January 16, with Max and Alessio, we go to patrol Witsand and Scarborough, which we reach around at 10,00 in the morning. In Witsand the wind is well spread over the spot, but waves are significant. We decide to go checking Scarborough.
In Scarborough, when we arrive, the wind is well spread and sustained, and the waves are of good size (some sets reach two meters); but, above all, they are very clean and smooth, as typically should be in oceanic spots. The panorama of Scarborough is always crazy: wild nature, as I like it, with a small outpost of civilization (a village with few houses and a few bars).
Despite being at half service (in addition to tiredness, I have ribs and a knee aching, due to some hits I got in the previous days), I rig the Ezzy Elite 4.2 2017, and the Tabou Da Curve 80 TE 2016 with k4 fins (Scorcher 16 as central, and Shark 10 as side fins), and I enter the water with Alessio and Max. The conditions are not extreme, but they are physically very tiring. The wind in the bay in front of the beach has worsened as quality, and is now very on-off. The 4.2 is sometimes full or completely under powered. When leaving the shore, it is sometimes necessary to face waves of 1.5 meters, and without wind it can be complicated. Furthermore, near the shore there is a very strong current that leads downwind towards the cliff. The waves, however, are very beautiful, really smooth and clean, and the water under our boards is wonderfully emerald, as well as freezing ..... (I wear a 5/4 chest zip wetsuit, without surf shoes, nor gloves , or neoprene headgear). Andrea Franchini will tell us that the wind is often gusty in Scarborough.
Around us, there is the Pro riders party..... They are all here: Marc Parè Rico (Duotone and Fanatic), Nico Akgazciyan F400 (Jp, Neil Pryde), to name a few. Then, in the early afternoon, Adele Frola and Andrea Franchini also arrive. Regarding the photos taken at the Pro, I am particularly struck by one shot to Marc Parè, and which I publish below. He almost seems to surf a wave against the wind. In fact, Marc shows well how to overcome a big wave coming out. On the wave face and on the lip, you are always reached by a strong gust: that's why you have to point upwind well, against the gust, to immediately bear away after passing the wave (because the wind returns on its normal direction).
I resist little here in the water. Too tired to last a long time, and I don't want to reach my limits, because in the next few days other demanding sessions, with strong winds, await us. In retrospect, perhaps for me today an exit at Witsand would have made more sense, a more tolerant spot and above all with a better spread and less tiring wind, and with waves that, in the afternoon, will also rise nicely.
Max and Alessio, in Scarborough, sail for a longer time, but they too come out of the water with their tongue hanging out....
Before leaving, we see Adele Frola entering into the water. The girl can do it. She patiently goes out floating, and then she catch and surf some beautiful waves. Her husband Andrea Franchini, intent on taking pictures of her, comments: we can feed her, this evening!
After leaving Scarborough, we go to see Witsand, which, as mentioned above, shows good conditions. Nico Akgazciyan F400 has moved here, and, almost alone, enjoys some beautiful waves (see album in the link below). I don't go out just because, by now, I have dead batteries. It's a pity.
We go for a walk to Cape Point, and play with the baboons, and then we return from the scenic Chapman's Peak Drive, while Alessio goes to Big Bay, where he will have a nice ride.
From Friday to Sunday, forecasts give strong winds with moderate swell. We don't know yet, but the next day Yzerfontein will give us a great day of windsurfing.
Click here, for Scarborough slidegallery.
Click here, for Witsand slidegallery.
The video taken at Scarborough