Big Wave Surfing from a 10-Year-Old's Perspective

Chris Hunt

by on

When these shots of a recent swell in Cape Town popped up in our inbox, we had no choice but to get in contact with the photographer. It's not everyday you get photographs of this calibre from someone who has barely reached double digits.

Alex Townsend is a 10-year-old South African, equipped with his mothers camera. When quality photographic contributions surface from someone new, they are often joined by deep, thoughtful words, an insight into the world a photographer dedicating their life to capturing moments of beauty.

Looking at these images, it's easy to forget that they're from a pre-pubescent boy, expecting wise words from a photographer well connected in the South African surfing community. Alex is just your average 10-year-old boy, stoked on surfing and developing a fascination for big waves. Excited and without expectation, he talks honestly and without any sense of pretence.

I have been surfing in Cape Town since I was six but I find big waves really scary, but I’m also fascinated by them

"I have been surfing in Cape Town since I was six but I find big waves really scary, but I’m also fascinated by them," Alex explains. "When my dad told me I had to take a tablet for sea sickness I knew we had a space on the boat to watch the some big wave surfing on an outer reef. I was pretty excited and nervous at the same time."

Alex and his dad Neil had been hoping that the swell was going to be big enough for the Dungeons competition. Unfortunately for them, the event never made it further than 'Yellow Alert.' But with plenty of swell around, there were still some good waves on offer at one of Cape Town’s other reefs.

"As we left the harbour I was hoping not to be sick on the boat. I was not sure what to expect from the waves or what might be swimming under the sea. When I saw the first set, I relaxed a bit as it wasn’t too big, but then a bigger one came through and the guys were getting great waves and some big wipeouts and we had a great view. I wasn't nervous anymore, I was excited. I like to see those dramatic moments like the big drop that James Lowe got, their faces, their hands in the air, they are so committedWhen the waves broke, it sounded like a rocket going to space. A wide set came and I thought it might catch us in the boat – I made sure the Captain had seen it. Luckily he did and it didn’t hit us – that was exciting. I really enjoy using my mum’s camera when I get a chance so I can look at the photos afterwards and think about how I could surf bigger waves better. I like to see those dramatic moments like the big drop that James Lowe got, their faces, their hands in the air, they are so committed. These photos are my favourite from the day. I hope you enjoy them."


Chris Hunt

Content manager at magicseaweed