Time & Tide
A change of scene took Dylan Wichmann out of his usual close-to-home haunts to some of Cape Town’s other unique wave spots.READ MORE
An invitation to Cape Town became a voyage of discovery for team riders Julien and Camille Bouyer (who are probably better known under their YouTube moniker, JUJUCams) and new team rider Bowien Van der Linden, as they took the new RRD Wind Wing on a journey into the expanding frontier of wingfoiling in South Africa…
PHOTOS Samuel Tomè (unless stated)
We were completely stoked when we got the opportunity to go to Cape Town in February 2020. This was our first time in South Africa, and we got invited, along with a few other team riders, for the latest RRD video and photo shoot. Wingfoiling is a relatively new sport in South Africa, so for us this trip was all about discovering new spots and experimenting in new riding conditions.
First day, first experience. Our first wing session was at a spot called Platboom, which is located right inside Cape Point National Park. This spot is usually used by windsurfers and kitesurfers with the NW wind coming in from the right – exactly the opposite direction to the usual winds in Cape Town, which tend to come in from the left. This is certainly an amazing spot for doing a shoot, with white sands and clear turquoise water, and there was a nice peak quite far from the shore. It was easy to catch the waves but they usually finished with a closeout!
Just a little time to warm up and then the fun started… We spent the day pulling crazy jumps and enjoying thrilling rides and spent hours in the water without realizing the time. Most of the shots and video clips from the shoot came from that very first wave session, as we just couldn’t stop trying new tricks and combos… 360s, backloops, and just boosting jumps right in front of the photographer. We also nailed some big aerial attempts and rode some steep waves at full speed. My brother Camille and I, together with Bowien Van der Linden (who also joined the RRD team recently) were the only three wingfoilers out there, and we were sailing with many windsurfers and kiters who were looking at us like we were from outer space…
Platboom is not really an easy spot for wingers, and you need experience and skill as entry is through shallow water and you have to pass a closeout section to get out the back. So you need to do a quick water start and get through some white water before getting into the open sea.
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Our second wing session was in Big Bay. It was at least 30 knots, maybe 35. We decided to go with the 3m Wind Wing and Dolphin 140. There were lots of windsurfers, but they were all riding the waves close to the shore; we decided to go further out as there was a big swell and we could get some big ramps to jump off. This spot is just insane for jumping… we had a lot of speed and the ramps made by the swell were massive! We could also surf the bigger swell coming from outside the bay right up to the shore.
We could also film each other with the GoPro while doing big jumps, and we met some seals who were joining in the fun and swimming around us. We just had such a blast and did not really think about anything but the session. It was definitely one to remember, as it was the first time we got to experience the famously strong winds of Cape Town: the Cape Doctor.
Big Bay is a very good spot for using the wing. It’s quite safe with generally a little less wind, you have to pass a small shorebreak to get out and you have various wave options that you can ride around the bay without having the waves actually break on you.
When we’d finished up, we went to watch the Red Bull King of the Air which was under way at the time, and got to enjoy the semis and the finals. That was the perfect way to relax after such a powerful session.
This day was a day to remember…
We rode all morning at Scarborough. Scarborough is a conservation village with a nice white sand beach and super clear water. The tide was high, so the waves were not breaking too much (like they normally would) and we could ride some really sweet ones. As the wind was not too strong, somewhere between 12 and 15 knots, the conditions were perfect and very accessible for wingfoiling. We were using the 5m Wind Wing, just surfing waves and using the wing to get back to the peak. These kinds of conditions would be perfect for learning in, or riding your first wing waves. In the afternoon, however, the conditions became pretty extreme as the wind picked up, and with the low tide the waves got big and started breaking. It was at least 40 knots, and the waves were 2-3 meters high.
After talking to Roberto Ricci (who knows the area very well) and Matteo (RRD team manager), we decided to get in the water for a downwind from Scarborough to Witsand. The idea was to find the biggest waves between those two spots and perform some crazy stuff. It was insane when we got in the water at first, with strong gusts making it difficult to keep hold of our 3m Wind Wings. But as we get used to it we became more confident and started pushing our limits and trying everything possible. We were riding big waves and at times coming in very close to the cliff, and taking off on 2-3 meter high waves. One time we got caught inside the reef, but fortunately we managed to get out back again after many duck dives!
This was certainly one adrenaline-pumping session. We surfed our biggest waves so far with a wing and had our biggest wipeouts. Definitely one for expert wingers only! It was an epic session, the best one we had during our whole Cape Town trip.
Langebaan is a very easy spot to ride. It’s flat and quite shallow which makes it a great spot for learning, cruising and improving your skills. We enjoyed many freestyle sessions there, doing big 360s and other fun tricks on the flat water. It is also a very scenic place too, as you are riding in between the mountains and a small island. If you ride further upwind from Langebaan, you find yourself in a spot called Shark Bay, where the water is even more clear and blue and therefore the perfect conditions for shooting…
The spot is located an hour’s drive north from Cape Town, and you can normally find a good sea breeze there when it’s not windy around the Cape Peninsula. Normally there’s no wind in the morning and you can just wait until the afternoon to have your session, and ride until it gets dark.
We met a lot of seals who were bobbing around in the water. It is like they are sunbathing, and you definitely need to be aware of where you’re riding so as not to hit one. Most of the time they dive around you and sometimes they don’t hear you coming, so you can see them very close up.
Rietvlei Lake is a wetland reserve which offers many activities – one being recreational watersports. The lake is the perfect spot for testing and cruising as there is a consistent gusty wind, but also because you can park the car on the spot and rig the gear on a very nice layer of grass right next to the water, and there’s no sand to cross to get in. It’s a very good spot to learn at, as you also have all the facilities to relax when you get out of the water, including a restaurant!
You can ride there with various wind intensities. Normally it is light in the morning and becomes stronger in the afternoon. The first time we got in there, there was strong wind and we did many jumps and landed our first backloops. We also got on a light south-westerly wind which was perfect for cruising with our 5m wings. There is a proper wingfoil community here, with many riders of all levels, who are all very passionate about this new sport. It was great to share and exchange knowledge about wingfoiling with them.
This trip with RRD was a great experience and surprising at times. We are stoked to have shared it with our new teammates, and we also can’t say enough good things about the new RRD Wind Wing that we helped test and develop. It works amazing in all kinds of conditions, from 7 to 45 knots, from flat water to big waves. We were stoked with it!
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