“Please tell me you got that?”
That's all I heard as I took my first breath coming up from the last wave.
“I flippen hope so bru! That thing was proper” I replied. It was an early start to the day, well, as early as our curfew allowed us. Enough time to get into the Ocean before sunrise at least. Of course all on the absolute down low because we had just entered our national lockdown. The South African rules and regulations during the first initial lockdown had many people confused. Were we allowed to go surfing? Were we allowed to swim? All these questions were being asked while every morning, pumping waves would be thundering down on our shores.
We managed to get some clarity on the matter. Exercise would be allowed from 6am to 9am in the mornings but no one was allowed on the beach. It still didn’t answer the question, can we go into the Ocean? I figured I wasn’t going to ask anymore questions, I was just going to go to a secret location where I could go shoot some empties (empty waves) and get my Ocean fix.
As I jumped in it was like I was reborn. The feeling of the water was so good after being cooped up in a house for weeks. Nothing else mattered at that point, I just wanted to get to the slab (breaking wave) that was about 50 meters from shore. This spot is pretty well hidden and only a handful people know about it so I was fairly confident I wasn’t going to get caught but there was something else on my mind. Sharks! This spot is relatively near a big river mouth and the area is known for bull sharks roaming around. A couple waves came by and I instantly forgot about any fish that might be swimming around me. It was just too dazzling. As a young kid I would always pretend to take snap shots of the waves passing me by while surfing, I was absolutely fascinated by the Ocean movements. When this wave presented Itself I had to swim toward the peaking wave. It’s a ledge (underwater rock) so you find yourself constantly fighting the surge to stay in the zone (right spot) and when the right one comes you are hoping to be under it or else you'll be chilling with the crayfish. I was swimming with the 50mm lens so naturally I’m gazing into the view finder to ensure the frame is what I’m after. I managed to be in the right spot and enough time to compose the shot as the wave threw itself over me (and my mate that I didn’t even know was scratching to get under it as well).
Once I looked at the preview I instantly screamed “YES MAN!" I think I just snagged the one”. It happened so quickly but in that actual moment of shooting it felt like a dream. It felt as if I was in a time tunnel, it was absolutely incredible. That's the feeling we all get as surfers when we’re out in the Ocean and I am so thankful that I am able to photograph these beautiful moments in nature.
Photo : Terence Pieters, aka @orangerocksza
Location : Secret Beach, South Coast, South Africa Titled : “ Sea Opal”