Sunday, 30 August 2009

Big Waves and Big Lungs

Winter is happening in Cape Town, and with it comes sunny days and huge huge SWELL! Breaks like Dungeons and Sunset are Big Wave breaks on Cape Town's Atlantic side. Mountains of energy come rolling through the ocean, almost invisible in the distance, then suddenly this far-traveled visitor hits the reef and raises up like a prehistoric creature, building higher and higher before pitching forward... a magnificent wall of water. First time I saw it my stomach lurched, my heart flipped and I uttered some involuntary expletives.

Since that first day I've spent some awe-inspiring days on the water in Steve's boat (Animal Ocean) getting to know the conditions, the waves... and the men who ride them!
Yes, this is the playground of the Riders of Giants.
They paddle out on long pointed boards, wait, watch, breathe... and charge! Careering down a living mountain, seconds of pure living.

I have long believed that the training I've been doing the last ten years of my life, for fun, will be applicable to these guys- for survival. So last week I taught a bunch of these amazing surfers a course I've developed for them, Surprise Apnea.

Andrew Marr, Simon Lowe, Reinhart Fourie, Jaques Theron and James Taylor did some amazing breath-holds and beautiful dives. They seemed to really get a lot out of it, and over the next few weeks I'll be teaching the others: breathing, relaxing, mammalian dive response, what happens in your body when you're held down with NO air left in your lungs. These men inspire me with their incredible courage, joy and love of life, I feel privileged to share their journey with them.

Grant "Twiggy" Baker riding Sunset.

Pics: Steve Benjamin and Kimi Stewart

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