- WSL / Kelly Cestari

Lucy Small is a journalist, academic and surfer from the deep south of Western Australia who has over the the past few years split her time between Sydney, Byron Bay and Southern Africa while competing on the WSL Longboard Tour.

Can you imagine surfing Supertubes with just your best mate and no one else? Doesn't it hurt to think of all those years the perfect point went unsurfed before the first guys with boards stumbled across it sometime in the early 60s? For the first time since -- during South Africa's COVID19 lockdown which saw some of the tightest restrictions in the world -- Supers was pumping and for more than a month, former Longboard World Champ (and excellent shortboarder) Steven Sawyer had to sit by and watch.

But in the window after the restrictions eased but before domestic tourism kicked back into life, Stevie got to surf with just his mate Toby:

"The first week of surfing after the full lockdown ended, we scored," he said.

"Jeez, paddling out, just Toby and I for the first half an hour and it was six-foot and pumping, grinding, and there was just us two out there.

Steven Sawyer At the 2018 Taiwan Open Of Surfing World Longboard Championships. Steven Sawyer is among the locals enjoying uncrowded J-Bay - WSL / Jack Barripp

"We thought the police were going to chase us in but we were chancing it. We weren't sure if we were going to get in trouble or not but the cops pretty much said: ‘We can't wait around for you guys to surf, we haven't got three hours to wait on the beach'

"One of the cops surfs and he pretty much suggested that we go and surf because they haven't got the time." Stevie said.

July is usually the annual pilgrimage for surfing's travelling circus from across the globe to descend on our favourite right point which transforms the usually sleepy community into a heaving mess of international pro's, groms trying to earn their stripes and weathered dads waving from the grandstand.

This year though, the crowd is a thin line of Capetonians who have skirted the coast to join the locals who have reclaimed their winter in epic conditions.

"The waves we've been getting have been amazing, the banks have been so good at Supers," said Stevie.

"The locals have kind of been controlling it up at the top pretty well, the local community has been kind of tightly knit and held together and we hug the top," he explains.

"Usually we'd have all the guys from the ‘QS and then we'd have the CT so we'd usually have about 100 guys in the lineup and now there's under half that on a very crowded day."

Still operating with a night-time curfew and reeling from huge tourism industry losses as COVID19 cases surpass half a million, South Africa's already fragile economy pushes on. And we can think of worse places to ride it out than an uncrowded Jeffrey's lineup.

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