First things first – some people call it Long Beach, and others call it Longbeach. Seeing as though this quite epic post on Zigzag uses the latter, we’re going with the single word version to keep things consistent.
Or, as a clearly worked up Alan van Gysen says in his Zigzag article, “Welcome to Wrongbeach”.
Before we begin, if you haven’t yet heard that quite fantastic voice note that a Kommetjie surfer sent to a paddleboarder, you should do so right now.
I guess that’s exactly the kind of thing that Alan is talking about, so let’s hand over to him.
All the images below come from the same article:
There has been more blood spilled at Longbeach in the last week than in the last few years combined. The blood isn’t from thugs beating each other up in the carpark, spilled over drugs or alcohol, nor even surf rage. No, the blood is from fellow wave-riders and spilled over waves, mostly through negligence, carelessness and driven by selfish attitudes. How did this situation arise in a place that is supposed to bring us shared joy and stoke?
Surfing is meant to embody the “Aloha Spirit”. In Hawaii, this means far more than a friendly greeting or farewell. It’s about love, peace and compassion. Aloha is mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. This concept of Hawaiian Aloha is the blue print that is supposed to govern every lineup, and beyond.
You need only look at Longbeach this past week and the two incidents below to discover that things are seriously out of control. Our lineups seem to be dominated by selfish, self-conceited individuals intent only on getting what is “mine” with little or no thought of others. And leaves me questioning, like the Black Eyed Peas song, “Where is the love?”
Yip, if you thought you were going to make it through this week without reading a Black Eyed Peas reference, you were sorely mistaken.
Let’s find out more about those incidents from the past week:
Early on Saturday morning (24 November) resident local Kerry Motherwell was connected by a longboarder while paddling out and waiting for his first wave. Kerry hadn’t even wet his hair before the unknown assailant plied into him. In his own words, “I was sitting on my board waiting for a wave when this chap who was further out than I began paddling for a wave. But instead of directing his board and himself toward the beach he appeared to be aiming directly at me. When I realised this guy wasn’t about to alter his course I immediately tried to get my board out of the way, but by that time he was starting to go down the wave, he stood up and he just rode straight over me. There is no doubt in my mind that he thought he could somehow take off and still avoid me. Unfortunately, he couldn’t. Totally reckless in my opinion. His fin hit my foot, severing everything from the skin to the bone and even took off some ankle bone which they had to reattach in hospital. It was an hour and a half surgery and a plastic surgeon had to reconstruct the ankle. I have no idea how much it is going to cost me, but the guy just got back onto his board after he hit me, grunted and paddled away, leaving me to bleed out in the lineup.”
Speaking to a fellow Kommetjie surfer Linda Ash who was out for her birthday surf with her son, “I just saw people scrambling out of this guy’s way and then I heard one hell-of-a-thump. It sounded terrible. I saw him checking his board before swinging around and just paddling back out without any concern for poor Kerry. I promise you, it wasn’t ten minutes later when I saw him paddle for another wave, just as out of control as the first and went straight over a youngster. Speaking to another surfer and my son, I said this guy is a danger in the lineup and someone should speak to him. Shortly after he caught his last wave, went straight through the middle of everyone and left.”
I don’t pretend to know the exact decorum expected out in the water, but slicing somebody’s ankle open with little to no regard for their safety isn’t what surfing is supposed to be about.
As for that second incident:
Then late on Tuesday afternoon (27 November) young provincial ripper, Levi Kolnik was severely injured while surfing main-peak Longbeach. World-champ longboarder and mother of two talented groms Simone Robb was shooting photographs from the rocks when the incident unfolded… “Basically, the guy on the yellow surfboard took off right on the backline and he was weaving through a crowd of about 10 or 15 people and I think Levi was paddling out or paddling in when the guy hit Levi from behind and the log stopped dead – you could hear the crack from the beach.”
Usually, people just paddle away after incidents like these in the water, but that person who hit Levi actually paddled him in, walked up the beach and helped him…Levi had to be rushed to the hospital, required surgery that night to repair the severe damage to his leg and will be out of the water for several weeks.
At least this incident saw some assistance being offered.
Simone has some harsh words for the current state of affairs at Longbeach:
“There used to be order out at The Dune and Outer Kom when Adrian Gouws’s dad Peter was surfing, but since then there has been zero order in the water anywhere. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. Longbeach absolutely has no rules. I just tell my kids that if you see idiots coming towards you stay away from them and bail. It doesn’t matter if your boards get dinged, your head and body mustn’t. That’s it.”
Well-known Kommetjie local Matt Bromley is also pretty pissed off:
“Nowadays there are a lot of young guys shouting in the lineup, using bad language, trying to take all the waves – just being greedy, and I think there are a lot of young guys being cocky in the water and disrespectful towards outsiders, older people from the community… there has been no foundation established for order and respect. The groms today swarm the inside peak and this makes it very difficult for anyone else to get waves.”
Those Kom Skom Groms, man.
When pondering what the solution might be, Alan took a seat overlooking the waves:
Sitting on the boulder-strewn rise overlooking the peak of Longbeach I ponder the above conversations; the opinions, the complexity, the stupidity and the overall lack of respect and love we show our fellow surfers.
The thought barely has time to gain answerable traction when I catch a glimpse of a foil-riding, Silver Surfer take flight, ride to the beach, kick out, pump his way back to the peak and cut through the crowded lineup for his second consecutive wave. Or was it his third?
Yes, the article does end with the music video for ‘Where Is The Love’ and no, we aren’t going to follow that lead.
In the comments section, a chap called Mr Brown shares a similar story:
Third rock, brah!
Also, spare a thought for Filthy Beard, who seems to have fallen on hard times:
You can read the full story on Zigzag here.
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