Halo Storm -Dungeons tow-in surf session

On Saturday 30 May, I got up early to check the size of the surf coming into Dungeons. From Chapmans Peak it looked big but the wind was giving the swell an uneven bump. After watching for a while , I decided to head back to my studio as I saw no-one out and it didn't look like anyone was heading out. The road to my studio takes me past the launch site for small boats and jet-ski's. I saw the guys suiting up and getting ready so I decided to take a walk around the Sentinel. On my walk it started to pour with rain , a real downpour. I didn't have my rain coat with me but had brought along some black refuse bags. So with one on my head and one protecting my camera bag, I carried on walking. It took a while to get to a spot I had previously filmed from and, although it was still raining with a lot of spray coming from big sets hitting the cliffs , I decided to set up here. It was super windy with an onshore direction so I had to try shelter the camera from the elements. The only relatively sheltered spot was a little bit lower down off the path. After filming the first few waves, I realised this wasn't a good camera position as the swell was so large and lumpy that any ridden wave was obscured by the foreground. This even though I was quite high up. Then it started to pour again. Fortunately, there was Carlos taking photo's and he had an umbrella. Without this protection, I would probably have left as I was already soaked . After this squall, I thought to get to even higher ground . This was a bad idea. Climbing a steep face looks ok , getting stuck on a steep ,wet, unsecure surface is very dangerous. After getting halfway to where I wanted to be, I realised how stupid I was . Especially as a rock I dislodged went tumbling down to the sea. After taking quite a while to gather my thoughts, I made my way down to the path, ecstatic to get there. All the while the action was still going on and I had missed a few rides. Not happy about that. So kicking myself for my foolish behaviour, we decided to walk back to another safer spot. The sun cam out and there were a few rides but the session was soon over. So, a few lessons learnt when filming Dungeons from below the Sentinel.

1. Avoid the sea spray at all costs. My lens was continually drenched and this affected the footage considerably. I had to dry the filter consistently until it was so wet from spray and the salt that this was a futile exercise.

2. Pack rain gear . Bring an umbrella and a raincoat if there is any chance of rain

3. It's not really necessary to walk as far as you can along the path. The takeoff zones are so far out anyway that any small benefit is far outweighed by the hazards of seaspray.

4. Keep a very beady eye on the surf. It's such a big playing field out there that it's possible to miss a ride or two.

5. Keep filming. When the wave looks like it's over, it's not always so. The rides are long and end in deep water , but sometimes the face builds again. So shoot till it's over.

6. Have buddies who film too. To cover more angles it would be ideal to have a couple of friends filming. Unlike a lot of other surf spots, it's not easy to just up your position to change the angle. This because the surf is so far out and the terrain on land can be rough going.

Mike Schlebach
James Taylor
Josh Redman
Jake Kolnik
Jacques Theron

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