25 September 2011 by Chris Marais

Surf's Up @ Vic Bay

I’ve known Rod Hossack for about 15 years, ever since my California surfing buddy Spike Hansen told me about a b&b called Land’s End at Victoria Bay, where supremely surfable waves crash just outside your window - the closest to the sea in Africa, as their brochure goes.

Vic Bay lies about 10 km outside the Garden Route golfing town of George, just off the busy N2 - an exclusive little row of houses facing a bay which gets angry from time to time, with storm surges and huge waves. Sunrises and sunsets that can make you cry.

Four days out of seven, you’ll find Rod out there with the kids or on his own, at one with these angry waves, riding his board like he’s done since he was 12 years old. There’s a touch less hair on the dome, the boards are shorter these days but, for a 60-year-old, Rod Hossack has retained the basic body frame of a teenager.

Whenever I come here, I want to stay for a long time. The waves are enormous and loud. The youngsters are riding them and yowling with pleasure each time they catch a biggie. There seems to be a sense of fun to the surfing here, which is often lacking in other spots where image and xenophobia have taken over.

In the morning, the fishermen on the pier greet the sun in company of men. Smoking, chatting, casting lines out, it’s a golden hour for them before going off to work somewhere in the George area.

As I write this, Rod Hossack has briefly left his lovely wife Shanel to run Land’s End, and flown off to the other end of the world. There’s a tiny Indonesian island where he owns a 6X6m shack, on a bay with waves very similar to his own at home.

Rod, a motley crew of mates, and occasionally Shanel, gather here as often as possible to escape the world and surf. And, when everyone goes back to his office job somewhere in the world, Rod heads back to Vic Bay - and surfs some more. Now that’s living the life…

Category: Culture & History

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