Let’s set one thing straight, the essence of the Striped Horse Challenge is composed of three of the most FUNdamental components found in Surfing. I turn your attention to the title; barrels, beatings and beers. The three pillars of the more prevailing aspects experienced throughout the lives of most surfers. We can count ourselves fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in an event like the SHC18 which so aptly encapsulates these elements and goes so far as to reward one for embracing them.
The barrel is most certainly the golden chalice of the surfing realm. The crowning glory, surfings Mecca. It would be a much lesser sport without the experience of a tube enveloping and transporting you through a watery prism of pure bliss whilst surfers cry their beloved ‘yeeeeew’ as you get spat out. It’s a natural wonder, a feeling, and we’re the only community on earth fated to encounter it. #Blessed. But, being a skilled and experienced tube pig takes dedication and sacrifice, as Harald Steinmann once said when asked about barrel riding: “few are born with it and even fewer know what to do with it”. As we’ve seen in some of the incredible SHC18 entries so far, a lot of the beatings submitted have been sustained as a direct result of a failure to negotiate the barrel successfully.
This Mecca’s door is not open to all who knock, unfortunately, and generally leads us to endure a royal rumbling beneath the surface of the ocean. Let’s hope to the almighty that your equipment is still in one piece after you’ve surfaced. But, if not, it’s all the more reason to tender that video or piece photographic evidence straight through to our inbox because Hurricane accessories to the tune of R40k could be yours if you’re the last man standing come December.
Now, let’s be brave and talk about, the beating. The painful part of surfing, that no man nor women escapees. That feeling of weightlessness where panic combines with oceanic pressure to deliver a comprehensive shakedown. Picture one of those Metro cops, impressively large, with Khakis so tight they look sprayed on, zips ready to bust. Now picture that cop, body slamming you into next Tuesday, saying don’t come Monday the bus is full. Yeah, that’s a double overhead beating basically.
On those bigger sets you come crop, somehow you’re able to cartwheel underwater, limbs fully extended, at a frenetic velocity with absolutely no control of anything, not even your imagination. “All you can do is relax”, the old sea dogs love to say with water streaming from nose and eyes while on the phone to their doctor booking their 5th ear op. Yes, relax, hold your breath and wait until you know your arse from your elbow, then ABORT as you scratch toward the surface. Remember it will all be worth it if your girlfriend or mate captured the whole traumatic experience on camera. Yep, you know by now where to send the evidence.
Which brings us to our final B. You’ve given it you’re all and you’re either bathed in post barrel glory or lying in the back seat of your car, sobbing from the pain, both body and pride. Cue ad break, cut to your saviour, beer. Since time immemorial, these friendly fellows have been kept on ice for a post-surf wash down. I’m sure you’ll agree; wetties, bezzas, dops, or brews as they’re affectionately known are an indispensable item required for all day trips and beyond. Whether they’re stashed in a cooler or procured from an establishment post session, they’re thoroughly enjoyed from lips to stomach. Used to toast victory, defeat and everything in between, the title sponsors of this generous event, Striped Horse, have brewed a trio of the most satisfying brewskie’s in SA.
For context, on a recent surf trip, three strapping lads made short work of three cases consisting of the honourable Pilsener, Lager and Pale Ale varieties. Due to the deliciousness of these wetties the beer quickly ran out but because of this, we witnessed a minor miracle. A certain person who couldn’t contribute to petrol suddenly found a rumpled R100 note in the tongue of their left shoe just as the bottle store came into sight. It was an unbelievable magic trick.
Of course, we acknowledge that there are those who do not partake in alcoholic drinks at all and this is where a delicious and healthy Bos iced tea takes its rightful place on the podium. Perhaps even more thirst-quenching than a beer is a Bos Iced Tea. Another co-sponsor of the SHC18, Bos is a rad, local ice tea company that is gulping impressive chunks of the overseas market with its delectable drinks. Homegrown in SA and taking over the world. We love it. Thems some damn good reasons to pop a couple of their brightly coloured box juices into your trolley when prowling the aisles.
Finally, it would be remiss of us to forget that the SHC18 is the proprietor of one of the richest prize purses in the country. Over R120,000.00 in prizes, including a return flight to Hawaii, is up to be snatched by the man or woman who gets the most barrelled. I mean c’mon man? What are you waiting for?! Go get barreled or beaten, and at the end of it, reflect dreamily on your escapades with a Striped Horse beer or a Bos iced tea clenched firmly in your fist.