AfricanSurfer Update

One of the greatest pleasures in finishing phase 1 of the AfricanSurfer trip is the fact that now we get to randomly bump into old friends and strangers who we got to know and love en route. Just like last weekend when Stone happened to bump into Marco searching for waves somewhere north of Lisbon. Marco was an exceptional surfer who we met in the lineup in Dakar, and subsequently kindly took us into his home when we arrived slightly bewildered in the South of Spain from Africa.

Marco in our 80′s vehicle, Southern Spain

This time Marco was on the road, in the suitably adapted 80′s Citroen van that you might expect a surfer of Marco’s calibre to be driving. He was on his way, really slowly, from Marbella to Biarritz, catching as many waves and selling as many of his second book as possible, ‘Panoramica’.

Anyway, of course one of Marco’s first questions: “so what the hell are you all doing these days?”. South African Man-of-the-month was probably not an answer he expected for Tim. He batted an eyebrow, processing, before leaning back in the chair and laughing approvingly. It clearly takes considerably more to shock Marco.

It was only a matter of time before the paparazzi caught onto our vibe. Latest South African HEAT magazine #272; 20 July

Eddie Murphy narrowly pips Tim to the “cut-out-and-keep-treat” section…

Heat magazine votes Tim…

Marco and Stone ordered another Super-Bock each and carried on catching up as if rummaging enthusiastically through an old drawer full of notes, postcards, and all the interesting odds and ends you have that you had nearly forgotten about…

Not just an economic-whizz, Tim with another cause in Cote d’ivoire, circa Oct 2007…

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Congrats Angelique on winning the Surf-Lesson raffle, Bournemouth awaits! Thanks to all those who entered the comp, AfricanSurfer raising over GBP100 towards new clean water wells in Africa.


AfricanSurfer on clean water

Following the success of Stone’s sell-out talk at the RGS last week, he agreed to repeat the talk for some friends at Diageo Africa who couldn’t get their hands on tickets. The “repeat for friends” snowballed a little and Stone now finds himself presenting to much of the international office. Diageo has a significant presence on the mother continent, and an equally significant commitment to bringing clean water to 1m people in Africa each year in partnership with a number of organisations through their “Water of Life 1m Challenge”. One of those organisations is AMREF.  

We learned to love clean water in Africa!

Now having spent almost a year and a half in some  of the most remote places on the continent… we can really appreciate the value of clean potable water! Which is why we thought we’d get involved and use the Diageo talk to do our bit for AMREF.

The closest surfschool to London (in Bournemouth), Surfsteps Surf School were quick to come to party and donated a couple of free surf-lessons to raffle off for those who are inspired by Stone’s talk, valued at £70. We’re selling the tickets at £2 for one, or £5 for three tickets, and are going to keep the raffle open for a week, closing next week Thursday 2 April 2009 at 17h30 (UK time) when we will draw the winner. 


Stone in French Congo… maybe he could use one of the Bournemouth Surf School lessons himself instead of giving them away? 

Surfsteps Surf School in Bournemouth are open 7 days a week and really accessible from London. They’ve got all the gear and do water safety, beach awareness and then all the necessary stuff (just like in the movie “Point Break“) to get you up and riding by the end of your lesson! As a bonus they’ve just added stand-up paddle-boarding if you want to give that a whirl before you cough up your life savings for the board and paddle!

Thanks SurfSteps for helping us raise a little bit of ‘tom’ for AMREF!


AfricanSurfer at the Royal Geographic Society

The Royal Geographic Society (RGS) in London is probably one of the most famed exploration institutions in the world. It’s halls have been graced by the likes of Charles Darwin, David Livingstone, Edmund Hilary… and soon, AfricanSurfer!

Darwin: “Damnit – wish I’d taken my surfboard with me on the HMS Beagle!”

In the mid 1800′s Darwin may have been addressing the society on such subjects as ‘the evolution of species’ and ‘natural selection’. On the 19 March 2009, you are more likely to find us talking on such profound topics as the ‘evolution of Lurker’s beard’ and ‘wave selection’. Journey of the Beagle? I’m feeling something a little closer to ‘Journey of Mzee Kobe‘, our trusty 1981 landcruiser.

Lurker: ‘The descent of man…’

This is a society that once absorbed something called the ‘Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa‘… we figured we might just be able to throw in a thing or two about the coastal parts from our first-ever trans-African surftrip. Expect inspiring, ground-breaking, paradigm-shifting.

Not to detract at all from the Modern Theory of Evolution… that stuff’s important too!

Tim in Cote d’Ivoire circa Oct 2007: Natural selection vs Wave-selection

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19 MARCH 2009


Mayumba mud-puddle claims another victim!

One of the blogs we follow is called ‘Moving Sushi‘. It’s a buddy of ours from University, Mike Markovina, and his girlfriend Linda on a very similar route to us, documenting the state of fisheries up the West coast of Africa. We have a good chuckle amongst ourselves as each new post comes out, documenting many of the same obstacles we encountered ourselves, as they move North.

Markovina employs novel up-close techniques to research fish in Africa…

Needless to say they’ve just hit one of our favourite obstacles. Here’s what they had to write about the Mayumba mud puddle…

We chopped our way through fallen trees and climber over maddy banks and small rivers and then there it was, the infamous mayumba mud puddle from hell, which likes to eat cars. It did not help that a couple of elephants decided to take a bath there and leave great big holes in the mud, which one had to avoid. I know there are 3 guys reading this and smiling as they had a car eating experience here in June 2007. We laid down all the wood we could find and carefully guided the car onto it, trying to avoid the mud, this was not to be and we were instantly stuck at 3pm. Getting out of the car to check the problem I was obliterated by horse flies, probably my least favorite animal in the world. We dug, and winched and jacked the car for hours. We inched half a meter at a time. At times like this it is important to stress and drink cold beer, so we did, drink beer that is.

Thankfully Markovina had some previous experience with the puddle. After Stone famously walked 32km’s through hippo and buffalo-infested jungle to find cellphone reception to call the Wildlife Conservation Society outpost, approx 100km further North – it was Mike who the park manager despatched by quad-bike! Mike was working as an ocean conservationist in the area at the time, and had previously worked together with Stone on the University of Cape Town surf club committee… coincidence!

Gabonese highway…

When we attempted the same road circa June 2007, the intel we had received advised: “not to attempt route without a chainsaw, and a strong spade“. We had neither. But we were still intent on tracking the coast as the only other road North was a few-hundred-kilometer diversion inland. So we borrowed a machete from a generous biologist in the Congo, and set-off with little more than a scrappy page of directions and a lot of canned beans…

The note should have rung a warning bell. Part of it read: “…they will have to get off on a busted up sh#tarse piece of crap road that takes off to the right. It is hard to spot and they will have a hard time accepting that it is a road at all…” Apparently this is how an 8-mile road that takes 3 days to pass begins!

Anyway we eventually emerged from the jungle across the border – filthy, cut, bruised, and carrying numerous new parasites… but with a great adventure under our belt.

Mike & Linda -  we’re stoked you had the same fortune… and also stoked that our dignity is somewhat redeemed by the fact that we were not the only one’s eaten by the hungriest car-eating mud-puddle in Gabon!!!

A part of the story which is often forgotten is that on the same day he walked 32km for help to freeing our landcruiser from the mud, Stone twisted his knee badly on a quadbike, putting him out of surfing for the next month! Tim and Lurks were stoked to finally have someone to film…!


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The original trip

March 2007: Tim, Lurks & Stone mission north from Cape Town up the west coast of Africa, in search of good waves and good times. Their vehicle: a trusty 1981 Landcruiser named Mzee Kobe (The Old Tortoise). Their final destination: London... finally arriving almost a year behind schedule in latter 2008!

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