Table Bay volunteer Robyn Silverstone tells of her surf training at Strandfontein:
Once my 5am alarm sounded on Saturday morning, it was time to get up and moving for the surf work training with the 4.7 metre boat, I&J Rescuer III from Station 16, Strandfontein. After picking up a fellow training coxswain from our base at the V&A Waterfront, we arrived at 7am sharp for what would be a very busy and physical day ahead.
We introduced ourselves to the crew looking after us for the day: Mario, Clint, Albert, Bradley, Heinie, Hilton, Robin and Ryan and after having a chat on the beach, we moved upstairs for the briefing of what the day would entail: Pre-launch checks – vessels and crew, surf riding theory, physical preparation – 20-30 min physical
Launch and recovery procedures, helming techniques, crewing techniques and a very good appreciation for working in the surf!
The physical preparation (running with logs and tyres) was a great warm-up for the movement and flexibility needed on the boat within the surf. Though the above is an outline of what we did, we (3 of us) had maximum time on the helm learning everything from crewing and finding the best position to basic tiller-arm helming. We were given the opportunity to run parallel to the surf and maneuvering within those conditions to turning into an approaching swell building and learning the best angle and power need to take on a curling or breaking wave.
Every crew member there shares as much knowledge with you as humanly possible while doing the practical, it was extremely interesting to do the theory at the same time. The communication is quick, direct and everything is repeated and has to be acknowledged by everyone on the boat. Every single crewman from Station 16 that were there, gave 100% of his time to us all, making us feel as comfortable as we would be at our base. One big happy family.
Once our debrief ended at 15:30, I came away feeling a lot more confident and knowledgeable – coming from a non-surf station – and super excited in my goal of completing my rescue coxswain (skipper) ticket.