Our Resident Loner

It’s November, I’m back in Durban, the waves are definitely not cooking, but I never get tired of snapping pictures out my window. Sunday cappuccino with Ntando (this now seems an age ago); my surf buddy Rob introduces me to a couple of his friends as “Elisabeth, our resident loner.” Then it’s February, and I leave for Costa Rica.


My beloved Spowy board; the ghetto hostel set-up in Pavones; afternoon visit by a lovely, sleepy creature; morning rainforest walk; wave check and coffee in pyjamas with the girls. Roadtripping up the coast to Playa Hermosa, a most legendary but scary and unsurfable break (at least for me). (People have died here.) A quick pit stop in Zurich, and a visit with Lea and Lou.


In April, KwaZulu-Natal experiences major flooding and a climate change disaster, which brings us massive swell and gets the big-wave surfers frothing, but destroys whole neighborhoods, kills many residents, and washes trash and debris on shore; Durban is still reeling as we speak.


And then, a trip to Nordic paradise Norway, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Recently I’ve began to feel that my life is slipping through my hands—there’s a whole big fat world to see—I mustn’t waste time but go everywhere I’ve always wanted to go, now now!


In Scandinavia I really get into shooting with my drone and start seeing everything from above. I set up shop in Hoddevik for a bit and surf during an unexpected big summer swell. Apparently good weather and good waves don’t correlate in Norway, and it was cold and rainy most of the time. One morning I surfed with a seal. The water so beautiful and clear …


Arctic surf commando! I could not get over how dramatic/photogenic this lake in Ervik was! A last good-bye to the iconic switch-back road to Hoddevik, and then a very long drive up north to Unstad on the Lofoten archipelago where, sadly, the bay was flat.


Sometimes when I really want to surf, but there’s no waves, I start thinking—to quote Butt-head from Beavis & Butt-head—“this sucks more than anything that has ever sucked before.” (He said that when he realized somebody stole their TV.)


And I check and check and check the forecast and it keeps and keeps saying there’s swell coming, but it just doesn’t arrive.


Then I need to quickly write a list of all the things that have been amazing: The fact that in Hoddevik I paddled out at 3:30 a.m. which is crazy even for dawn patrol standards; that every day I spend in Norway is filled with a sense of happiness and luck; that some nights I don’t sleep and some nights I sleep very deeply, and that it doesn’t really matter, because it’s never dark, and so I can basically just go to bed whenever I’m tired; that I’m renting a super-fancy hybrid SUV and learn how to surf “out of a car” (it’s easy); that during the long drives I listen to the entire discographies of The Beatles and Billy Joel and it feels like I’m sitting in the music because of the awesome sound system in the car; that I have time to attend Malin’s amazing yoga classes that stretch out my whole body; that Marion and I talk about South Africa and how it sometimes makes us cry; that Edy gives me the inside scoop on the best left point-breaks in Indonesia; that I went snorkeling and floated above kelp forests and disco-light jelly fish; that for the first time in a while I’m really motivated to take pictures; that I’m often at home and at ease; that I’ve been keeping away from trouble.———The ocean is now a constant companion, and when I return to Durbs in July, I feel I’ve been gone forever.



November 2021 to July 2022