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After travelling and surfing with my blue Al Merrick 6'1 for nearly two years during this RTW trip, I accidentally went straight with it to a big rock near the exit-keyhole two days ago. It was high-tide and waves kept coming; I was a little careless then.
The photos below show the autopsy of the board.

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It's always sorely heart-breaking when I get a ding on or snap my own board.
This Al Merrick was made of epoxy and I would still have a chance (a slim chance?) to have it repaired, but I decided to ditch it for good and buy a new one (I actually gave it away to a local boy here in J-Bay). Surfboards in South Africa are so cheap. So why not?!

My next partner is a Firewire Hellfire 5'8 as shown in the photo below. This quiver is as light as a feather and almost as durable as epoxy. I will love it from now on for sure.

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Gratitude to my blue girlfriend for her great company on my RTW trip! I've caught many epic waves with her.

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From this year 2012 the Billabong Pro J-Bay is unwisely downgraded from a WCT event to a WQS event despite the fact that the quality of waves here is as great as ever before.
No detailed report is ever disclosed from main sponsor Billabong for this downgrade, but many South Africans suspect that it is due to Billabong's recent financial turmoil. Such a pity!


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Meanwhile, Kyoko just flew from Brazil to South Africa and came straight to J-Bay to see the contest and to catch up with me. We first met in El Salvador in September last year, and here we are now.
It was great to catch up with her again! And thanks very much for cooking delicious Japanese curry, Kyoko!!

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Regardless of the downgrade of the contest, waves in J-Bay are pumping now and all pros and amateurs have gathered here for this annual event.

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It's ridiculously apparent in the water which guys are pros and which guys aren't. Pros are driving their boards like Formula Ones, ripping waves like Kung-Fu masters, and flying over waves like stealth fighters. Just insane to watch how they surf!

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Combined with the beauty of waves in J-Bay, their surfing is almost like a piece of art.

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Unfortunately (and fortunately, too), I will leave J-Bay for Durban tomorrow. I planned my departure date to be just before this WQS event would kick off simply because there are too many guys in the water and in town now. It's a little too hectic for my liking and I'd rather keep surfing somewhere else than just sitting on the beach and watching how the contest goes.

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Anyway, I cannot thank J-Bay enough. It's such a magnetic spot for all surfers and I've learnt a lot from this legendary place. I'll definitely come back here in the near future!

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By the way, the only true local of J-Bay is Mr.Bruce Gold.




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The last time I was in Durban, I stayed in Happy Hippo Backpackers located in Durban Central (near Addington Beach), but this time I went to Ansteys Beach Backpackers located in Bluff, the south of Durban. The above photo shows how it looks like from Ansteys Beach Backpackers.

My reason for coming to stay in Bluff was to see a famous break called Cave Rock, about a 5-minute walk from Ansteys Beach Backpackers.


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Unfortunately, Cave Rock never showed what it was reputed to be while I was staying at Ansteys. The swells weren't big enough and the wind direction wasn't quite right for Cave Rock then. However, I was still able to catch a few waves one day at the beach break in front of the backpackers.


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Durban has actually become one of my favourite cities now: it's very warm (can be sticky hot in summer), urbanized enough, multi-cultural enough with nice and cheap African food and Indian food around, but minus the high crime-rate.


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South Africa was never in my itinerary until the last minute of my stay in Senegal, but I'm now absolutely delighted to come this far from there.
South Africa itself along with all the surfers who I met in the past few months really opened up my eyes and made me truly love surfing more than ever.


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Many thanks to my friend Jeremy who came to pick me up at Durban airport, let me stay at his flat for my first week in Durban, took me out for a few day-trips on the north coast for surfing, and taught me many things about South Africa. Without him I wouldn't have had such a great time in this country. Shot Jem!


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Now my next destination is.... Switzerland!

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I've been invited to my Japanese friend's wedding in Winterthur (near Zurich). She is marrying to a Swiss guy in a few days. So there'll be lots of food, drinks and chocolate to be had from now on. Yeahhh!
My only concern at the moment is that everything will be bloody expensive in Europe, especially in Switzerland. And there will be no surfing for a while....

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There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. (By Nelson Mandela)


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