When Corona approached me to escape my busy city life and go on an adventure to explore the more relaxed surf culture in Jeffrey’s Bay, I was elated. It’s not often that a blogger with fashion focused content like myself is offered the opportunity to dive into new territories. It has been a goal of mine to shift the focus of my blog to lifestyle (food & travel) so this trip was be right up my alley.
Before the crack of dawn, I was already awake, making my way to O.R Tambo to fly to East London for the first leg of our #CoronaEscapeRoute. We landed in East London around 07:30 and prepped for our not so short road trip to Jeffrey’s Bay. This might not make any sense to anyone who is familiar with the Eastern Cape but it was all part of our escape out of the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg. A lovely way to discover a few gems around E.C. Our first stop was Gonubie beach which is just 25 kilometres north of the city.
On our itinerary for day one was a beach clean up, learning a bit more about ocean pollution and of course getting to Jeffrey’s Bay to immerse ourselves not only in the water but the surf culture. On our way to the beach, we stopped at Shelly’s restaurant for some breakie. Being as hangry as I was, I was probably the most excited of the lot t0 sit down on the balcony of the restaurant, take in the views and indulge in a home cooked meal – which is what my breakfast tasted like.
At the beach, Richard gave the group a bit more context on the state of the ocean pollution and how it actually affects us all. Did you know: 22000 tons of plastic a day is dumped in our oceans, which has now increased the size of the North Pacific garbage patch. This garbage patch is now estimated to be the same size as South Africa. How insane?
As part of the solution, Corona has partnered up with Parley in creating awareness of ocean pollution and educating surfers and beach goers on how they can do their part to end ocean pollution. Recycling, avoiding the usage of plastic (bags, straws, coffee cup lids) and educating those around us about it. We took to the beach to clean up a very clean beach before hitting the road to Jeffrey’s Bay. As clean as the beach was, the type of litter we did eventually on the sides and corners of the boardwalk was kind of insane – a dirty toothbrush? gross.
About 4 hours later after stopping for the famous pies from Nanaga Farmstall, running up a very steep sand dune for sundowners, we arrived in JBay! The town was already buzzing with regulars driving in and some getting ready for dinner. We arrived pretty late in the evening to head to the Jbay Open so that was the first thing on our itinerary the next day.
Corona basically takes over Jeffrey’s Bay as they are the official beer sponsor for the World Surf League globally. Every year about 32 of the best competition surfers head to Jeffrey’s Bay for the JBay Open, this is basically the Olympics for surfers I assume. Saturday and Sunday saw myself and my squad that included Boogy Maboi (Stylist & Creative Director), Calvyn Justus (Olympic Swimmer) , Chisanga Mubanga (photographer) and Matt Bromley (professional surfer) downing a few ice-cold corona with a wedge of lime stuffed down the neck while enjoying the views and the surfing. I speak for myself when I say that it was my first time seeing such insane waves back to back and humans actually being able to ride them with such ease.
Casa Corona is basically the headquarters of the WSL on the weekend of the JBay Open every July. This wonderful space includes several hot beverage stands, food and clothing stalls and of course a Corona bar with the best view of the entire competition, in the evenings, visitors of the Casa are entertained by live bands. Surrounding Casa Corona is some very lavish villas where I assume the professional surfers and their friends and families stay during the week of the competition.
What completely blew my mind about this enter experience was:
- Surf season is during Winter, who would have thought?
- The weather basically dictates when the competition can happen, no waves, no comp, however, rain means nothing lol the show still goes on.
I am being very honest when I that I was completely out of my comfort zone this past weekend. It was wet and cold and I hadn’t exactly packed the right clothes for such conditions. I would definitely recommend packing lots of sweaters, comfortable shoes that you don’t mind wearing on and off the beach if you are ever to end up in JBay during this time the year. I swapped my thigh high boots for flip flops, cocktails for beer and clubbing for surfing. From seeing the locals, to the top 32 surfers doing their thing, to the freshest seafood at the cheapest prices (look out for a post of that later this week). I 100% want to go back to Jeffrey’s Bay but definitely in the summer time. I hate being cold.
I really had the best time and can’t wait to explore other cultures outside of my own again very soon.