Red Letter Day: SOUL GLOW

Rider and Words: Nathan van Vuuren
Photos: Genna Leigh / Ivan van Vuuren
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Date: Monday 11th April, 2022

With little time to spare before the Southern Hemisphere storms begin to roar in from the Atlantic, Nathan van Vuuren managed to score some fortuitous end-of-season gold, with a day-long expression session that merged into a classic sundowner…

With an amazing summer wind season full of gale South Easters and non-stop wing foiling in Cape Town, we knew it was just a matter of time until the seasons began to change, and the weather charts started reflecting a whole new wind and wave pattern. 

But, somehow, this year it started to feel like we just weren’t going to score our annual pre-winter magic foil sessions. As we monitored Winguru for weeks on end, waiting for those pre-winter conditions to appear before the wild oceans and storms, the days turned into weeks, so we thought maybe not this year.

Over a few days though, it all happened. The stars, moon and tides all seem to line up for what was looking like an epic foil day. Waking up at the crack of dawn we were greeted with an early morning light offshore wind and a perfect small southwest swell rolling into the bay at VanStrand, a beach right next to a nuclear power plant and beautiful Table Mountain in the distance.

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Arriving at the beach with our water film crew, it looked like a picture-perfect beach break. The Atlantic has these beautiful glassy days where the rising heat of the morning keeps the wind line far out to sea and the swell just couldn’t get cleaner or smoother. There were a handful of long boarders coming out the water that had that full stoked look all over their faces!

Now the big decision and choice on any perfect foil day is, what gear to use. Straps for busting airs or strapless cruising with style and character. The last thing I wanted to do is to get out and switch equipment during a cracker session! One of my favorite parts of epic foil sessions is having some good music playing and getting ready in the parking lot with amped friends while watching the waves and mind foiling each set that comes rolling through. That’s normally when I also start dropping hardware everywhere in the sand because of setting up too fast…

I decided to ride my playful strapless 4’0 SPG Nature range foil board with a Game Changer 170, short fuse, 750 mast and a chopped KD Mach 1 stab. I wanted to do some tight turns in the pocket as well as enjoy the glide of the GC 170 while pumping back out. The first session of the day was radical, lots of medium sized sets rolling straight to us and that’s when it started to feel more like a session for stylin’ rather than busting out big moves. I was appreciating the flow of the chosen foil set up on the small to medium sized waves, and it felt like I could carve it like a shortboard on a hollow beach break. Next minute I was cross stepping on a 4’0 foil board as if I was on a 9’3 log and doing some drawn out hang fives in the shallows. The set up I was on felt so playful and fun, I feel that is when your real style comes out while foiling, when you feel comfortable, and fun is at the top of the priority list.

After a long firing session, the first thought in my head is food and coffee, purely so I can get back out there! After a “lekker” nice meal, we headed back down to VanStrand and the conditions were as still and quiet as the morning. After pumping some music and picking my hardware up out of the sand from the first stint, we ran into the water for a last blast sunset session. Cape Town really has the best sunsets over the ocean… it felt like I was drawing lines through this golden orange water from the reflection of the sunset. I changed my front wing to an Albatross 165 for the evening session and really enjoyed how fast and retro it felt in this session, doing hang fives and carving with some style like a retro fish from the 70s. Pumping out towards the sunset felt effortless and doing some rebound carves onto distant swell lines past backline made me appreciate the freedom of foiling so much more.

The vibe in the water was awesome, good friends and family around with everyone enjoying each other’s company and sharing in the conditions our local spot had provided. Winter is on its way now, but memories of this classic session will be etched in our minds, until the next perfect day. 

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