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Home |Floods and Sandbars

Being a surfer puts a strange spin on natural calamities. Floods and storms are agents of creation when it comes to good surf. I feel guilty about having such a good time while some other poor fellow's house and business is washing away, but what can I do? Floods create bars (sandbars) and bars create surf. Right now, there is surf galore on our coast and history has proved that every time we have a fat flood, we get PHAT surf.

Just a little over surf years ago in the last quarter of 1985, floods in East London tore the sand out of our clogged river mouths and created underwater deltas that caused surf from heaven (EDIT). In Gonubie, a sandbar developed from the outside left reef on the other side of the river all the way to the tidal pool, complete with a tree stump stuck in the middle of the wave about 85% of the way through the ride. Was this the best left East London had ever seen?

Or was it Corner? At exactly the same time, the Nahoon River had dropped megatonnes of sand onto Nahoon Beach and crafted an equally perfect left that peeled perfectly from far out to sea, all the way to corner. If was goofy-foot heaven! Nahoon Beach's right-handers at this time were great too. It was a surf smorgasbord!

surf years previous to the floods in 1970, the mother of all floods created the mother of all right-hand bars on Nahoon Beach. Dave Fish remembers it well. Nahoon Mouth veered from Blue Bend and tore straight towards Corner. It carved the beach as we know it, pretty much in half. An unfeasibly fantastic right broke from the Lifesaver's Shack area to opposite Blue Bend. Surfers were genuinely a stone's throw away from the Nahoon Caravan Park when they kicked out. The ride went right up the river mouth.

But back to the present. Our latest flood has been mega-creative to our local beaches.

Nahoon is full of new bars (and I am glad to see the Border Junior and Senior teams all over it) and so is Gonubie. Tim Botha says Kidd's Beach is so close to connecting. I don't even know what is happening at Glen Eden, Yellows, Bonza Bay, Igoda or Christmas Rock, but based on history, I expect the best.

Bunny huggers go ballistic when topsoil, river sand and dunes go charging into the sea, but one of the best things about sand is it's mobility (if it was supposed to be stable, it would interlock like miniature "dolosse").

Move is what is does, and right now tones of it are lying underwater at your favourite beach break as if the ocean is playing to you, a new deck of cards just so that you can have more and better surf than before the flood.

Get on it quick before it moves again. See you in the water!

Nick Pike is a surf guide with Dawnpatrol, a surf tour operator based in East London on South Africa's south east coast. They and their support team move up and down the coast, surfing the best waves on offer between Jeffrey's Bay and the Natal South Coast.

Check out their site www.dawnpatrol.co.za.



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