It was late in the afternoon, and there was much to be done. As per most of us however, I chucked all responsibilities aside as soon as the blinds on my back door started ruffling in the wind. The west was up, there was swell in the bay, and the waves could quite possibly be good.

It’s a sleepy little place, with a quiet little car park, and it was a weekday afternoon. Not too many people around, except for a couple of girls going surfing, which in itself is quite unusual. There are always a few girls around, giving it their best shot, but these were out-of-towners. I greeted one of them, who had decided to hang around while her friends paddled out. She greeted me back warmly, and we spoke about the waves coming on. It was unusual to hear her American accent, but not too weird. We’re an open world these days, and there are international visitors everywhere all day every day.

The other two girls in the water were good, catching set waves and surfing intently. They were friendly enough. I paddled past one of them in the line-up, and we greeted and chatted about the quickly improving waves. She seemed affable, not too keen on chatting, but more keen on surfing. Fair enough. The waves were coming good.

Another surfer lay in front of me as I paddled for a set, blocking me unintentionally. He apologised profusely. The next set he gave me the bomb. I took off deep, only to get dropped in on by one of the girls. I called out, but she didn't hear me. I bellowed, but she didn’t hear me. I screamed but still she heard nothing amidst the roar of the ocean. Finally she saw me and quickly kicked out, screaming her apologies at me. The wave carried on, and I rode it all the way through to the inside.

I paddled back out and had a chat to her. She was an old friend, didn't hear me or see me on the wave, extremely apologetic. I caught a few more and went in, tired and cold from the 15-degree water.

Bianca Valenti steering into a serious drop at Jaws. Photo: WSL/Cestari

While walking back up to my car I watched the other girl, the one I had met in the beginning and who had hung out in the car park, take off on a bomb. She tore into it, with an aggressive layback carve, followed by a swooping cutback rebound, and then nearly pulled off a carving 360, all with a tight and compressed power style. ‘Girl can surf.’ I thought to myself, enjoying watching her carve it up.   

In fact, all three of the girls were ripping, taking over the break as the sun started moving and the evening chill settled in on the Eastern Cape in South Africa. They surfed with fresh style and with confidence. I soon found out why.

The fun little waves we were surfing must have been pretty inconsequential in comparison to what these girls get up to. Paige Alms, Bianca Valenti and Tammy Lee Smith were all invitees into the Pea’hi Womens Challenge, with Paige winning the whole event as well as the 2017 Big Wave Awards Women's Best Overall Performance trophy in the process.  

Bianca is a Mavericks surfer, and was also an invitee into the inaugural Jaws Women’s event, and South African Tammy Lee Smith was an invitee after a couple of great performances at Sunset Reef, a huge bombie in Cape Town frequented by the local big wave surfing fraternity.

Great honour to surf with the girls, despite being burned by one of them, and very positive and encouraging to feel the good vibes and mana radiating from them.