A NEW CAVE ROCK CONNECTION
Dan Merkel, Ron Dalquist, Paul Maartens, Don King, Chris Van Lennep, Paul Naude. These are the water photographers who put the Rock on the world surfing map. Through the years the break has been on covers and centre spreads in magazines around the world.
But then a big gap. Five or so years ago, nothing. Its thought the Rock fell of Durban’s surfing map.
Visiting pro surfers somehow deleted the Rock off their itinerary. Neither was anyone swimming with a camera. Even though there were a number of Rock specialists surfing every time the conditions coughs up those epic days the drama went largely un-recorded.
Fortunately Darren Simes started swimming out and nowadays those memorable sessions are being shot.
In the annuls of surf photography history at Cave Rock, many hairy and gnarly stories have been told. Sharks, low tide collisions with the reef, broken surfers having to be air lifted to hospital. Its not a easy place to get epic shots. You more often than not, pay a price. Darren’s photography has taken us back there. And we’re so stoked. The barrels at the Rock are the most photogenic around.
HERE’S DARREN’S TAKE:
My interest in surf photography started 2 years ago with a gopro mounted to my Gath helmet while surfing Cave Rock in winter. During summer I would shoot and film various shore breaks and the still images I got really sparked my interest in shooting waves at different angles whether it was above or under the water. I was hooked.
On springtides I would swim backline at Ansteys and got some amazing footage of friends pulling into barrels and performing tricks. I will still shooting with a gopro and had to get super close to get a decent image. Finances was tight and I could only dream at that time of a proper camera and housing setup.
My lucky break occurred in March 2018 when a friend of mine was selling her Nikon D3100. I immediately queried for a housing on Facebook and was lucky enough to get one from John Dancaster who was selling his housing. I began shooting Cave Rock from April 2018 and have not stopped since.
I was fortunate to get a sponsorship with Brotherhousings during June 2018 and upgraded my camera body to a Sony in August 2018. Im also fortunate to have surfers like Rudy Palmboom Snr, Ricky Basnett and Scott Venter surfing Cave Rock every time it fires (and sometimes when it does not) to shoot at.
My main purpose in surf photography is to document epic surf days at Cave Rock so that the surfers who charge, can look back one day and reminisce on the stoke they felt. Personally it gives me great joy seeing the smiles on their faces looking at the pics and talking through the whole wave from takeoff to spat out of a barrel.
WITHOUT GREAT SURFERS THERE ARE NO GREAT WAVES.
The Bluff has been graces with some greats.
Greats like Gavin and Mark Spowart, Arthur Cowan, Rudy Palmboom Senior and Junior and Rick Basnett. Now days you’ll hear the names like Julian Wilson and Scott Venter. These guys and a tight group of yet unnamed chargers will he heard through the lens work of Darren.