Doing a profile on a local surfer is the key to validating all the claims about this coast and it’s world-class waves. We decided to start with one of the local backpackers’ manager and outdoor enthusiast. You can always catch him shredding the point, fishing out some Kob, or diving for Crays.
Name: Cameron Payne
Years in Coffee Bay: over 2 — Manager at Sugarloaf Backpackers
Originally from: Plettenburg Bay
Where did you first learn how to surf?
“Coffee bay actually. I was always really big into body boarding in Plett. I surfed a few times there but nothing too serious and didn’t really start to focus my time on surfing until I moved here.”
What is your favorite thing about surfing the Wild Coast?
“The diversity of this coast is unreal. Every knook and cranny has it’s complete own set-up. The Wild Coast can also be very sand dependent, but when its firing there’s not much like it. Some of the best places to surf you have to drive a ways through the rolling hills of the Transkei and that in itself is worth it. The scenery is unbelievable, it just gets you more amped and when you get there, it’ll just be you and your buddy catching world class waves, no one else in sight. That is undoubtedly what makes this area so special, it’s untouched perfection.”
If you don’t mind me asking, what is your favorite surf spot in the area?
“Not to be harsh but I’d rather not give GPS coordinates to my favorite locations. However, you can always get in touch with me through Sugarloaf Backpackers. I may not want to broadcast my spots, but I have no problem bringing fellow shredders along with me and sharing the stoke. Well, after I suss them out.” (he says this laughing with a huge smile on his face.)
You’ve been surfing these waters for a couple years now, any session in particular that sticks with you?
“Yeah, absolutely. In July of last year I surfed Lwandile with just two of my mates. We were the only one’s out there and the barrels were cooking, we surfed three times that day, each session just as perfect as the one before.”
Every surfer has their board collection, with their favorites. Tell us about some of yours.
“Here in Coffee Bay I have four. Three everyday set-ups: one for point breaks and 2 for beach breaks. Then I have my Gun. You’ll need it, when the surf gets big.”
Who’s making the best boards right now in your opinion?
“I’d have to say my favorite shaper is Peter Daniels along the Garden Route. He completely hand crafts all his boards and knows me as a surfer which is so important. They can always shape a board specifically for you that way.”
Is there anyone in Coffee Bay making or repairing boards?
“Yeah actually. We’re very lucky to have him here. His names Mike, lives just across the road. (pointing across the street from Sugarloaf) He’s fixed boards for Spider Murphy in Durban, one of the best in the country. I may have been spectacle at first but then I gave him a board to fix. Let’s just say I’m a believer now.”
This interview caught Cameron right before he was headed fishing, so to cut it short, I’ll ask the most important question.
What is your favorite thing about being a Coffee Bay shredder in general?
“Coffee Bay is a small town and community. There isn’t a ton of surfers that are out there everyday along side of you, so you become a little family. We all pretty much stay in touch throughout the day, all watching the waves, and making a plan for the best session. One of the best things about Coffee Bay surfing though is the consistent beach break and how safe the waters are compared to other places in this country. This always makes for a very chill vibe, no matter the day.”
Sick. Thanks, Cam. Hope you catch.
Well, COOL. That’s Cameron. A very down to earth guy, and incredibly full of knowledge about almost everything outdoors. So, if you ever have a question about the surf, fishing, anything really, head out to Coffee Bay Beach. Being 6’2 with bright blonde dreads and killer talent, he’s hard to miss.