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Surf launching Shelley Beach with Digby Smith

Surf launching through big waves at Shelley Beach, KZN, South Africa

Surf launching through big waves at Shelley Beach, KZN, South Africa

Sometimes, the surf at the Umzimkulu River mouth in Port Shepstone gets out of control, and we just cannot see a way through. Luckily just down the road, is the Sonny Evans Small Craft Harbour. AKA Shelly Beach. This place is easy most of the time. But when the cyclones send us a swell, it comes from the wrong direction. It comes straight in at you. As opposed to the easy conditions of a south swell, no matter the size.

The easterly angled swell necessitates a healthy dollop of patience in the morning. There is a cool holding spot just next to the tidal swimming pool, that you can use to stage your launch from. It’s deep enough for big boats, and there is only a gentle current going north that you need to consider.

In this video, Digby demonstrates just how much patience is required to get out there dry, and safe. It took the time for the sun to come up, to get out of the bay this morning. Digby also showed me and Smokey Joe, our third crew member that day, just how to outplay an aggressive foamy, if one comes charging at you. Which it did. A solid wall of white water came at us from a double-up set out the back (see thumbnail). I felt pretty hemmed in, since in east swells, the short periods between them, leave zero room for error if you try to turn and run. But Digby just calmly set the motors accelerating hard in reverse, and we flew backwards towards the beach. When the foamy caught up to us, he just jammed the motors in forward again, and we lifted right over the wave. Almost completely dry! Excellent work Digby!

For guests here at Umzimkulu Adrenalin, we always have this option. For when conditions get out of hand. Fortunately, cyclone swells literally only come in cyclone season. Which is the wet season, from November or so through February. We are more focused on the dry season. KZN Wintertime. Which is like most places in summertime. Balmy days with warm water and smooth seas.

And this is when the sardines arrive for their crazy road trip north to nowhere?! And all and sundry that they attract to come and be endlessly entertained by shoals and shoals of suicidal fishies. Umzimkulu Adrenalin is hosting sardine run 2022 ocean safari expedition type trips this year.

Check it out and enquire HERE!

Partner websites:

MasterWatermen – learn all about spearfishing

The Sardine News – never miss single sardine

Spillers House – BnB and Backpackers in Port Shepstone

Port Captain – Egyptian Restaurant

Umzimkulu Marina – self-catering family resort

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