• South african highlights with Pacha

"My trip to South Africa was vibrant and beautiful- an abundance of life. From monkeys stealing avocados to pods of around 30 dolphins cruising through the lineup. I had so much to smile about. The radiating sun glowing red across the calm sea, the endless moments where all you could do is scrunch up your face and laugh, the constant generosity of each new person you meet. Hopping along the shoreline like penguins to get to the surf- paddling out to some of the best waves in the world. Durban, Jeffery’s Bay, Cape Town and Ballito all have special places in my heart, so many unforgettable memories and new incredible experiences… sharing this with amazing new friends made it the best trip of my life.

#1 Friends

From the moment I touched down in Durban, I was welcomed by the Bell’s family and friends, instantly feeling at home- everyone was so kind! My fears about being in a ‘dangerous’ country dissipated as I sensed the huge generosity of spirit. Even though we saw hardship and poverty, there was a sense of living in the moment… I made lifelong friendships and we shared unforgettable memories – so much joy! Even though we were competing against each other, when the heat finished, we were best of friends again – dancing the nights away.

#2 Waves

There are so many different waves in South Africa - from a small wave breaking off a pier, a warm water reef bowl, a freezing left covered in kelp, to one of the longest and perfect right handers in the world at Jeffery’s Bay. There was diversity not only in the waves, but the surroundings and the temperatures!! Every view was quite spectacular!

#3 The Food

Fruit in South Africa was abundant and fresh, the avocados and papayas were massive! We ate at lots of great organic restaurants - stuffing ourselves with homemade specialties, in between freshly caught seafood meals at the Bell family home base in Ballito.

#4 Wildlife and wild, wild nature!

Monkeys, rhinos, giraffes, ostriches, zebras, penguins, crocodiles, a crazy cute creature called a Rock Hyrax – there was wildlife everywhere and a sense that nature was always bigger and more powerful than you – even the sharks! Standing on Table Mountain at Cape Town felt like being on the edge of the Earth – awe inspiring.

#5 A taste of the World Qualifying Series

Competing in 3 WSL QS events in succession gave me a sense of the ‘que grind’ – traveling from place to place for each different competition. As they say in competition surfing – you lose more than you win and learning how to smile and move on, no matter what the circumstances and how, with the right company, it’s not much of a grind! Making the semi-finals in the last WQS 1000 made it all worth it!"