Early Surf

Why Dawnie?



There is a famous saying in life. “The early Bird gets the Worm!”

Bringing this into Surf culture has been the best kept secret, maybe not a secret but not practised enough. The myth is when you know there is swell, you should be in the water before the sun comes up. This is when the waves reward you with no wind, no crowds and just waves running from top to bottom. It is the dream, especially if you live in an overcrowded spot. So this is the reason why wake up for a dawnie.

Why Dawnie


You may be thinking that there are swell charts and surf forecasts that can predict how worth while it may be to wake up before the sun does (Which can be at 4:40am in the peak of summer time). The motivation needs to equal the reward.  I can not count how many mornings I have woken up to clear skies, glassy waters, no crowds and perfect waves.

Even though I have witnessed this multiple times, it can still be difficult to be motivated to get out of bed at 5am in the morning. So I have to do what every healthy grownup does. I put my phone on the other side of the room, with an alarm tone that makes me want to break my phone to make it stop and then set up multiple alarms in a row. After I defeat the alarm, I brew some coffee and start to pack the boards and wetsuits in the car (regretting not having done it the night before).

Driving down (or walking if you fortunate enough) you arrive at your favourite spot. It is still dark so you have no idea what you are getting yourself into. You have made it this far so it no longer matters if the waves are good enough, you start to suit up! Getting into the water is the last challenge. It is always ice-cold or oddly warm.

Surfing Secrets




Now you wait to hopefully reap the rewards. You start to see the sun illuminate the sky in pinks and peaches, seagulls and flamingos fly past creating beautiful silhouettes. Everything is feeling magical. You look in the distance and see a fin… You start to panic and pray! “Let me see more fins!” As you start scouting where is the quickest space to get out,  the awe inducing pod of dolphins come right next to you. At this point you tell yourself, “This was all worth waking up for.”

The sun starts to peak over the horizon and for some reason the earths natural wave machine is somehow activated. You turn around and start paddling onto a 3ft-5ft wave. You cruise down the line, whipping the tail out every now and then until the end. You paddle back up and as soon as you get to the top, the next wave comes through. After catching about 10-15 waves you are exhausted.

By this time the rest of civilisation starts to get up. The words out that there are waves and the different surf squads start to gather in the parking lot. As they’re suiting up, you realise you better catch your last wave. You paddle and it’s a bomb! You shred the wave right out of the water. Walking back and watching everyone paddle in, you notice in the distance the ripples in the water. The Devil-Wind (on-shore) hits and the surf is over.

Early Wave



This has been my experience all too often. Maybe not every part, every time. More than often one of the beautiful experiences makes the ‘dawnie’ so worth it. Of course there are days when I arrive and there are no waves and its howling onshore. But you never know if you don’t wake up and see which day you will get!

It’s the small things in life that we should look forward to and waking up appreciating those small things can definitely brighten your day. Let me know some of your experiences below in the comments or via our social media channels and tell us why you dawnie.

Hikes & Adventures in JBay

And surrounding areas


I remember reading once that “An Adventure starts 10 minutes away from home”. Reading that statement made me rethink my outlook on the definition of Adventure. While Instagram makes you want to be in 20 different places all at the same time, it’s also important to make the most of the one place you are.

Jeffreys Bay is the pinnacle of a Surf Town. It took me some time to notice there were other things that make Jeffreys Bay a must-see destination. After gaining this local knowledge, and sharing it with countless other travelers, it was about time I compiled the ultimate guide to Jeffreys Bay and an hour surrounding.

1. Skydiving with beach landing
Jeffreys Bay has one of the best landing sites, Kabeljous beach or Jeffreys Bay Main Beach. This crew has successfully jumped over 2000 times. Skydiving over Jeffreys Bay’s coast line is a breathtaking experience. Some jumpers have spotted the Humpback Whales in season or our local surf competitors, the dolphins. I would recommend the 11 000ft jump, for the full experience with a 40-45s free fall. Also, a thing to note is the price is ridiculously good, whether it’s your first time, or you have the qualifications to jump solo. It is one of those experiences you can’t afford to miss out on.

2. Kayaking the Gamtoos River.
This isn’t a well-known activity in Jeffreys Bay. The reason being, it’s recently launched. There are 2 different options when considering this activity. There is a social option, which is a 2km row upriver and then 2km downriver. Afterward, you can enjoy a rewarding light picnic lunch and refreshments. This is a great option for family or friends just wanting to casually wander the banks. The other option is for the Brave and Wild. This is a 12km paddle upstream, then a 10km hike on a private nature reserve, which ends at a camp, with an open flame dinner to be devoured by the warriors of the day. This is a full-day activity, but once completed you will have seen a host of different BirdLife and Wild Game.
Social Price – R950pp including light lunch & refreshments & includes equipment.
Extreme Price –  R1900pp including light lunch, refreshments & open flame dinner included equipment.
Contact 084 954 8154‬

3. Hiking Lady Slipper
This is a quick, and easy hike that will take you about 40mins to drive to and then another 1 Hour to the summit, or maybe 20mins if you are a trail runner. The view is spectacular, overlooking the valley of beautiful vegetation leading to the wind farms, and the lush deep blue ocean – so don’t forget your camera. This hike is best to be done on a Saturday as there are nearby markets that offer local meals and refreshments, along with other delicious treats and sweets. If you are a rock-climber, there are routes to climb, so don’t forget your climbing gear.
Falcon Rock Entrance fee R30pp

4. Fat Bike Beach Rides
Exploring the coastline of Jeffreys and Kabeljous can be a rather strenuous walk, but it’s still well worth the effort, so getting on a Fat Bike makes the experience fun and getting to the destination, cut in half. Kabeljous has some really fun dunes to be explored and if you are up to the task, take along a fishing rod as the name suggests, there is some Kabeljous to be caught, along with Cod, Steenbras, and Mussel-Cracker, to name a few.
Fat Bike Rentals R200pp for 2 hours

5. Hiking the Kabeljous Natures Reserve
This is a beautiful hike just outside of Jeffreys Bay with a few routes to be explored or a full round trip if you want to make the most of it. The hike has been praised for its conservation of indigenous vegetation, an estuary hosting some beautiful birds, such as our national bird, the Blue Crane. As mentioned this has a few routes, namely the dunes route, riverbank route, and then to the lookout point. All have a different setting and if possible, should all be explored. Along the way, you will find information boards that will help give vegetation information or a general overview of the routes. The paths are well walked and easy to stay on. Take your beach gear, pack a picnic and make a day of it. It is well protected from most winds, depending on which side you go.

6. Hiking Cape St Francis Wild Side
Cape St Francis Wild Side sounds intriguing enough to strike a visit. This is a gorgeous hike along the coastline showcasing some very rare fauna and flora. Botanists have traveled the world to observe these habitats. This walk can start from the famous 18th Century Cape St Francis Seal Point Lighthouse or Sunset rock (which as the name suggests, is a beautiful rock to observe the sunset). There are caves along this route and beautiful rock pools with crystal clear water. I would bring along a pair of binoculars and snorkels as there is much marine life along the coastline, such as the bottlenose dolphins, seals, right humpback whale, jackass penguins, and if you are fortunate you might see a shark, from the shore hopefully.

7. Horse Back riding
Horse riding is a very daring sport/activity for some. I know I am humbled very quickly standing next to a horse. However, I long to jump on one and ride into the wind. Well, here in Bay you can do exactly that. You can ride over the beautiful shorelines and through the Nature Reserve. The guide also shares interesting facts along the way. It’s recommended to go just before sunset to get an even better shot for your Instagram feed.
From R350 for 2hours

If there is anything you think I should have added, please let me know in the comments below, so I can be sure to add it in the future.

Written by Challyn Armstrong, Images by @katrinereiersen, @matze.ried & @sovrin_photography