Cape St Francis, 50 years on...
Updated: Apr 3
Back in 1966 Bruce Brown's cult surfing film The Endless Summer took two surfers around the world following the summer in search of the perfect wave. The two surfers were Mike Hynson and Robert August, both seasoned American surfers.
Although they visited many beaches and breaks, one stood out as the perfect wave. Cape St Francis on the East Cape of South Africa. The waves were not too big, around 4 feet but perfectly formed and constant. Each one the same looking wave but these things just went on forever. If you haven't watched this film, take a look when you can. It's easily found on Youtube right here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3hIYkalIS4. It's well worth the watch.
Being the old English Surf bum, I can only dream of waves like this. the UK, although it has some great breaks, there is nothing that compares to this. These days, my webbed feet and gills have healed up and I get my surfing kicks on the TV following the world tour or playing those classic Surf guitar tunes on my Strat. You never know, I may get my feet wet once more before I'm through. But back to Cape St Francis, the perfect wave.
Following the success of Endless Summer, Bruce Brown revisited the breaks in 1994. with Endless Summer 2. I think anybody watching the film was just dying to see how CSF was doing. Like in the first film, the two surfers, this time Pat O'Connell and Robert Weaver walked across the sand dunes to get their first glimpse. The once empty sanddunes were now populated with houses, condo's, hotels, you name it. The waves were still there but because the sand was no longer blowing into the sea, the shape of the waves were now nothing like that of 30 years prior. It was still a great wave but not the perfect wave.
Reeling on another 25 years and Cape St Francis is now a populated surf resort. One one hand it's great that many can now experience this iconic wave but on the other hand, human progression has yet again altered nature in an irrepairable way. The perfect wave of Cape St Francis now only exists in the wonderful film left to us by the late Bruce Brown.
South Africa remains as one of the great surfing nations. Much of the coastline still remains untouched and one wonders if another perfect wave exists. If it does, and if you know one, keep it a secret.