Re-Colonizing the Cape.
Cover image: Sam Venn.
You may have noticed a lot of action coming out of a certain “other” reef within the Shire recently. Once heavily regulated by the ‘Bra boys ( Rawlins allegedly copped slap to the head for paddling out on one occasion), there has been a noticeable uptick in footage and images coming from the slab of a multitude of names of late. We chatted to local Luke O’Connor for his take on the re-emergence of the Cape as a hot bed for slab wranglers in the ‘nulla.
Firstly, what do the local crew call the wave at Kurnell? Pikers hole, De Niro’s Cape Fear, Ours?
Could open a large box of conjecture here but I like to call it “Cape” or “The End”. Plenty of people have had their chance at naming it one singular name but it just doesn’t want to stick.
Now that the crew of the ‘bra boys seem to have dissipated or disintegrated as a force out there over the last decade, there seems to be a much larger crew surfing it regularly, would you agree?
When the cats are away, the mice seem to play hey?
Well those cats seem to have had their milk sour in the last decade since Australian arrest warrants were made to stand, with every great empire that reaches supremacy, the fall is always more notable. Then, much like the middle eastern war, there is a power vacuum where another group of individuals find themselves in ascendancy.
That’s where we currently sit now out at Cape, surfers and bodyboarders co-sliding in harmony during every angry east coast low that is thrown our way. A huge improvement in the hierarchy for bodyboarders at Sydney’s most revered wave.
Footage: @adrian_emerton. Rider: Jade Melcom
Has this been a slow evolution over time or has there been a more sudden influx over a shorter time period?
In the last 5 years it has really ramped up. I personally feel this can be attributed to the aggressive stigma separating both surfing and bodyboarding dissolving world wide and this can be seen accelerated even more so on a part of the east coast that houses some of the heaviest reefs in Australia, if not the world…. hidden old Cronulla.
So all in all, on my end, it been very pleasing to see harmony amongst the various crafts out there, it’s a rarity in any part of the world.
What are the crowds like now on a good day, is there a line up hierarchy or is it just a free for all?
Depends if it’s a tow/paddle day or not. If it just paddle and you have a core group of dedicated bodyboarders, surfers and body surfers out there all trying to scrape underneath the ledge then it’s casual. But if you have the entire peanut gallery out on display and every man and dog from Sydney wants to give their water pony a run then there is no hierarchy at all, complete and utter fucking free for all.
You have dedicated paddle lords getting choked out by jet ski fumes, big wave daves getting their tow angles all wrong as they navigate the 3/4 almond flat whites and nike rain jackets scattered through the lineup and the boogers just have to turn amongst all this and just “go”. Sound’s about right hey?
What about the dynamic between people towing vs paddlers, seems to be mostly stand up crew whipping in, is there any tension there?
No real tension, a lot of unspoken respect between the local Bate Bay boys so it keeps everyone in really good spirits and looking out for everyone’s safety. We all know who we are in the lineup and know how to share around the waves when it just a local affair.
It can get difficult when you get random individuals from around the globe trying to dominate a session, but hey… its world class wave after all, theres bound to be plenty of dick measuring going down out there.
Footage: Adrian Emerton.