The smallest weekend

Posted on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 at 9:17 am

Paternoster, a picture postcard fishing village north of Langebaan on the West Coast, isn’t exactly famous for its waves. But that didn’t stop a group of surfsisters from bringing our boards to a girls’ weekend away.

I am sure many fellow sisters have faced this conundrum. You have a girly weekend away with your friends to book. You want a spot that will allow you to sneak in a wave or three between wine-drinking and gossiping sessions. But your non-surfing friends have other mod cons in mind: restaurants, hikes, views, swimming-friendly seas. The list can be long.

Yoga and surfing South Africa

Surfing Yoga with the girls - by Holle Wlokas

Paternoster, north of Langebaan on the West Coast, seemed like a good compromise. Not a Mecca for surfers, although it’s not far from the legendary left at Elands Bay. And the picture-postcard village has a well-stocked convenience store and even some bars for late-night reveling.

When we got there on the Friday evening, the town itself lived up to its reputation. The house we rented had a view straight onto the beach—not bad for budget accommodation. The surf, however, left something to be desired. Now, I don’t know what Paternoster beach looks like on a big swell. Mushburgers, perhaps. But on a small swell—the sort that graced our arrival—the bay looks the Mediterranean on a flat day.

The two of us with boards (a third would join us on the Saturday) took one look at the lapping waves and stored our boards under our beds. We cooked food, and drank some wine, and then drank some more, and played board games.

The next day, dawn broke on what was—if possible—an even flatter ocean. Stiff and hot from the 1.5 hour drive up from Cape Town, I took a stroll down the beach. But the waves just went from unsurfably tiny and clean to messy and 2 foot onshore slop. A drive to the other side of town produced equally disappointing conditions. So it was back to eating, and drinking, and some yoga. Some people went swimming, sans boards though.

On the Saturday afternoon, the sixth member of our weekend away and fellow surfsister Holle Wlokas arrived. Now we were three gals with boards. The evening was blissful and the weather sunny. But the ocean was flat as a tabletop.

To wash away our surf blues, Holle and I went for a swim, and marveled at the warm temperature of the sea. It was October, and we were in bikinis on the West Coast. When does this happen? As the first set of not-even-foot high waves rolled in, we looked at each other. Maybe we should try one wave, just in case…

Weekend surf spots near Cape Town

Paternoster at low tide - by Laura Vignoli

A minute and a half later we were back on the beach with our boards. We walked out to the back, which was about waist deep, and waited for a set. When it came, we both paddled, family wave style, into the minute waves, not hoping for much… And then, sliding down the tiny faces, we realized—this is possible!!

Hearing us laughing and whooping, the others soon joined us. In the end we were five girls playing on three boards. One hadn’t even been waxed, and posed a fun challenge for all of us. We surfed any way we could in the golden sunlight, trying to keep our bodies within the confines of our bikinis, laughing for a half hour straight. Disrupting a wedding on the beach.

It’s probably the smallest waves I’ve every surfed. But the session was one of the best I’ve ever had. Because in the end, finding your stoke isn’t always about chasing the biggest waves, or the longest ride. It’s about sharing special times in the ocean with your friends.
Linda Nordling

Surfing in South Africa - Paternoster

View with tiny waves - by Holle Wlokas

We stayed at MIKANOSTER, a self-catering cottage 150m from the beach that sleeps up to 6-8 people in three bedrooms. We paid 1200R per night for six people. The drive from Cape Town to paternoster is 150 km. There are food and wine shops in Paternoster, as well as restaurants for those who don’t want to cook. The town is also known for its art galleries.

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