A slab you want nothing to do with...

We caught up with our ambassador Ryan Payne and photographer Ian Thurtell who recently tackled a chunky, heavy slab in Cape Town (hard to say who's was more ballsy here). When you're looking at photos like this, it makes you wonder what's going through the surfers mind as much as what the photographer was thinking to even consider swimming out there - well, here's the lowdown:


I'm in the dentist reception about to go in for my annual check up when I get an urgent call for Thurtell, froth levels in the red, freaking out about upcoming conditions for this slab he's been eyeing.

I'd surfed there before, in February 2013 to be specific and came face to face with a behemoth of a Great White that time - tail and dorsal seperated by about 3 meters so it's safe to say she was large. She changed direction towards us and we lay there, arm in arm, rail to rail, as she circled us, turned and went about her business, heading south.


Needless to say, I wasn’t chomping at the bit to get back out. Between Thurtell’s eagerness, our new inductee to the wave, Rob Tweedle and the first set we watched roll in, I was won over fairly quickly. Long lulls separated flawless conditions - think oil canvas, barrels as wide as they were high, not a drop of water out of place, you get the picture. Little did we imagine it was as big as you’ll see in the images, but thats the allure to surfing, the ocean never ceases to amaze or surprise us.


Why you ask? It’s my drug or addiction, a good drilling by the ocean makes all of life's stress seem inadequate, and in that moment when you pull through a 50/50 situation with mother nature, you experience pure ecstasy. Life’s Short, live it.



This is one of those reef breaks that lie in some fairly deep dark water off Cape Town.  A lot of people are "professional" mind surfers of waves like this one.  It is a crazy deceptive setup. Firstly the wave looks scary from land but comes into a different perspective when you're out there.  Secondly the channel,  if you  can call it that,  is a bit of a gap in the reef until the next section,  which is a slab that stands out of the water.

Normally when shooting heavy slabs like this,  the drop off the reef makes shooting from the channel easy but with this setup, if a wide set pops through, you pretty much get then whole ocean landing on you with the added fear of washing onto the dry rock shelf that has 6ft closeouts breaking right onto it.


Getting surfers to come out and ride this wave is a hard task.  No one really wants anything to do with it. Except Ryan.  He's a nutter and I've had the pleasure to go out here before with him. He's the right type of crazy for waves like this,  always wanting the heavier ones, in fact one he couldn't get onto,  exploded down the shelf and I could hear him screaming in anger that  he didn't get onto it,  haha.  Most surfers would quietly be thanking all types that it slipped past them. That evening I showed him some of the shots and he was just amped for the next session out there...


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