Surf spots are often named for a quirky connection to a nearby landmark or place.
This week, an interesting debate on wavescape.co.za was sparked by a slideshow depicting unusually good surf at the beach break just to the right of Long Beach.
The correct name of the spot is Crons, named for the Cronwright family who owned a dairy called Crons back in the day.
However, we spelled it incorrectly, calling it Krons. There was some consternation. Most of the concern, however, came from people who thought the spelling pointed to another name: Krans.
One reader was adamant the name derived from rooikrans, the alien tree Acacia cyclops from Australia used to stabilise coastal dunes.
He said he had surfed the Kommetjie area for 15 years, and grew up knowing the place as kraans. He said we should look into the history of Cape Point and Kommetjie and “you’ll find where the name originated”, and that it should not be spelled Krons “like you’ve got that stereotypical UCT accent”.
However, the plot thickened faster than a rooikrans seed after a fire. Veteran Paul Botha, who was surfing the area 45 years ago, provided the clarity we needed: “Crons dairy was operated by the family from where the Valyland Centre is in Fish Hoek now”.
He said that a herd of cows from the dairy grazed at Sun Valley, and were milked at a farmhouse where Sun Valley school stands now.
“We named the high-tide right on Long Beach ‘Crons’ in the mid-1960’s because we got ‘creamed’ there trying to ride the hollow right-handers on 9’ 6” barges with no rocker that weighed 15 kilograms!
“It became more makeable with the shortboard revolution in the late 60’s when guys like Johnny Orton, Peers Pittard and Beau Wrankmore were the early standouts. A pic of Gunther Rohn riding backhand at Crons featured on the cover of Hitting the Lip written by Cornel Barnett – the first book on surfing published in South Africa, in 1971.
“Spelling the name Krons is definitely incorrect and I’m not sure how it morphed into Krans over the years –but back in the day it was originally named Crons!”
Strange how words find alternative meaning due to a slight divergence, either through pronunciation or spelling. However, it can also come through mischief.
One story goes that the beaches Eeste Steen, Tweede Steen and Derde Steen used to be the other way round, with their numerical sequence starting on the Cape Town side moving up. Then some smart Alec swopped the first and third signs around to reverse the order. Of course, Tweede Steen stayed where it is.
Surf to Ski
THE upcoming Cape Town Downwind Race and Fenn Cape Point Challenge have attracted a top international field of surfski paddlers, including a host of top local talent. The downwinder takes place on the weekend of December 21, a 18km route that includes the famous Millers Run, while the Cape Point race sends paddlers on a brutal ultra route from Scarborough around Cape Point to Fish Hoek. Paddlers have been using the Summer Series for their warmup. The next one takes place tomorrow in Camps Bay. Visit www.capetownsurfski.com
IT WAS a tough day for local wonder woman Simone Robb without her trusty longboard at the Swatch Girls Pro China longboard event, which was won by Kelia Moniz from Hawaii. China Airlines did not deliver her stick, and she had to borrow an inferior longboard for her heats. She was knocked out early, but at least earned $750 for her troubles.
Adapted Surf Day
THE THIRD adapted Surfing event takes place at Big Bay, Bloubergstrand, next Sunday on International Disability Awareness Day. Seventy participants with different disabilities, ranging from high spinal cord injuries and amputees to intellectual disabilities and blindness, will be participating. To apply or find out more, visit www.extremeabilities.co.za