Over the past year team rider Wyatt Krapf has been going hard! Shortly after opening our south Florida location we met Wyatt, a talented skimboarder attending University of Miami. We instantly noticed he embodied the spirit of Alley-Oop with his passion for skimboarding and spreading the good vibes to whoever wants to ride with him. Wyatt joined the team and has been representing Alley-Oop and skimming like a mad man ever since.
Check out his travel log from Mexico and South Africa:
THE OTHER COAST OF MEXICO
Ahh Cancun, it’s like the Mecca for all college-aged Spring Breakers and I found out I was going. The only problem is that I was going during Thanksgiving break. I knew there wouldn’t be the barrels of the Pacific coast, but I brought my carbon Zap just in case.
After a few days of staring into the almost Gulf-like calmness of the lagoon in front of the hotel, I finally found a way to the waves. Another family joined along to make 9 of us total. This is an interesting family though because the son’s name is also Wyatt and he looks just like me when I was 10 years old, which was when I first learned to skimboard! Following the Alley Oop mantra of “Ride With Us,” I promised Wyatt that I would teach him how to skim when we made it to the beach.
Easier said than done! I utilized the 5 years of Spanish I learned in school to direct our group from a rickety public minibus to a transfer local bus that would lead us to the beach. I couldn’t fully understand the local’s directions so I was really nervous about getting lost, even though I assured the other family that I knew exactly where we were going.
After a lot of arm waving and the equivalent of 60 cents per person, we snuck through a hotel and finally found some shorepound. The waves were about waist high and right onshore. There was also a sandy slope with just a few massive conch shells to look out for. We skimmed for hours and little Wyatt was having a blast charging into every wave, so much so that his Dad even tried it a few times. Sandy and tired, I rode back and prepared for the next day when my family and I would take the ferry to La Isla de Mujeres.
This time we rented a golf cart and stumbled upon a really fun break on the north side of the island. This was a locals’ beach, so my Spanish abilities were tested to the limit trying to explain what sport I was doing. A few local guys offered me some cerveza for a lesson. It was hilarious watching them fall again and again only to get up and keep trying to ride the board. The spot was really interesting because swell came in from both directions creating a knee high sider connection to a slightly bigger line. The scenery was awesome too with anchored yachts dotting the crystal clear blue-green water.
Overall the trip was incredible because I had the opportunity to discover new spots in places that people have never skimmed before. The most rewarding part of the trip however was teaching the locals and my ten year old twin how to skim and seeing how stoked they were when they got it. I can’t wait to go back, maybe even for a Spring Break. And just maybe I’ll have some locals to skim with when I return.
AN EMERGING SKIM SCENE: SOUTH AFRICA
I’m currently 40,000 ft above sea level writing this article with about 14 hours left in my flight back to New York City. I spent the last 21 days touring the amazing country of South Africa and seeing famous sights such as Jeffrey’s Bay, Victoria Falls, Kruger Wildlife Park, and Nelson Mandela’s Home. I also saw something that’s not so famous… yet.
The Cape Town skim scene started just a few years ago with some dedicated locals such as Sean Twomey and Tristan Beebe. These guys reached out to the US to acquire some secondhand boards from Exile and Victoria. They spread the stoke all across the country with skim crews popping up in places such as Durban and Port Elizabeth as well. Internationally, skimboarding in South Africa was and still is practically unheard of though.
When I found out that Cape Town was a stop on my family tour of South Africa, I didn’t really think that I would be able to find a board or even a real break. I really procrastinated and didn’t start asking around until the day before I planned on going to the beach. I went to the surf shops at the waterfront and just asked if they knew anybody who skims, local spots, really anything. Most only knew about the surf scene, but one guy said he always saw some skimmers at a place called Camp’s Bay.
With this lead I began researching online to figure out where to find a board. While reading an article on MrCapeTown.com I came across the name Tristan Beebe. I continued my investigation on Facebook and sent a message asking if he could help a visiting American skimmer out. Within a few hours I got the reply I had hoped for. He said he would be heading out to Camp’s Bay with some friends the next day too, and that his friend Rob could hook me up with a board.
These are quite possibly the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. They define what a skimboarding community should be. I received messages from Rob and Sean who each said they would be stoked to not only lend me a board but also to pick me up from the hotel and give me a ride to the break. After not seeing skim or the ocean for about a month already, I was stoked beyond belief for the next day. I barely even slept that night.
Right on time Tristan and his friend Ricardo Wiltshire picked my sister Lisa and I up, and we cruised on winding roads around the massive cliffs that led up to Table Mountain. We arrived at a vast white sandy beach sheltered on each side by crusty boulders that jutted out into the clear blue Atlantic Ocean. Even though it was summer for them, the water on this side of the Cape of Good Hope was still only around 52 degrees. It reminded me a lot of early summer in New Jersey. You can wear boardshorts because the air’s so warm, but if you fall it feels like a cold electrocution.
I couldn’t believe how many kids were in the Cape Town skim crew. At the peak there were at least 10 skimmers at once, it actually felt a bit crowded! On top of that a bunch of other guys would skim off and on during the afternoon. The break was really interesting since the cape gets so much swell. The sets broke too far out for the most part, but the secondaries and insiders were really powerful and fun. At one point we headed up the beach to a spot that looked perfect. It was clean, barreling, about chest high, and just reachable. Unfortunately, it was absolutely mobbed with swimmers who were on summer vacation. Tristan and Ricardo told me that if there’s a high tide really early in the morning, it’s not crowded… and it goes off.
After an awesome session with all of the locals we headed back to Tristan and Ricardo’s place to watch a skim vid and chat about the local skim scene. It was humbling to see firsthand how good these guys are getting in such a short amount of time and how much passion they show for the sport. Five years ago not many people there knew what skimboarding was, and now even the groms like James Dean are hucking huge airs. They also just hosted a contest a few months ago with skimmers from as far up as Durban traveling down to compete. The future only looks bright for these guys, and it’s just a matter of time before the world recognizes the emerging skim scene of Cape Town, South Africa.