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Datum: WGS84 [ Help ]
Latitude: 29° 51.986' S
User rating (6)
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On the extreme south end of the Durban Beachfront. Drive down the promenade. park at marine Lifesaving Club and walk south from their. Alternately, park on the Harbor's North Pier, suit up and paddle from there.
DistanceTake a car
WalkInstant access (< 5min)
Easy to find?Easy to find
Public access?Public access
Special accessDon't know
Alternative name the pinnacle
Wave qualityTotally Epic
BottomReef (coral, sharp rocks etc..)
Normal lengthShort (< 50m)
Good day lengthNormal (50 to 150m)
Good swell directionSouthWest, SouthEast, NorthEast
Good wind directionSouthWest
Swell sizeStarts working at 2.5m-3m / 8ft-10ft and holds up to 5m / 16 ft and over
Best tide positionHigh tide only
Best tide movementRising tide
- Man-made danger (buoys etc..)
A rare, fast, hollow and dangerous wave that funnels over a very shallow, sunken harbor wall, offering a heart pounding tube when it breaks over 3ft.
The reef/pier protected from the predominant swell direction as it's situated about 150 meters away from the Durban Harbor so, only really works on huge South swells (usually in winter) which wrap around the Harbor and rush onto the reef. Also breaks in summer, when cyclone, east swells hit the reef more flat on. These conditions are not ideal as it makes it more sectony and tends to cause ribs/rebound waves to bounce off the Harbor and ruin the ride.
There are two sections to the wave. The 'Pinacle' (named after the 'Pinnacle' or 'block' that sticks out of the water at the end of the reef) on the outside, and the 'inside' section'. The 'Pinnacle' is the more serious, hollower section, that is only recommended for experts. There is a deep section 40 meters down from the 'Pinnacle' where the wave fades before breaking on the inside section. The inside section is less hollow and has more of a bowling wall that offers some rail burring funand rides up to 150 meters.
It is a long paddle out, about 400 meters to the 'Pinacle', takes about 6-minutes of constant paddling. When surfing the 'Pinacle', it's better to paddle out on the inside of the reef where the curvature of the break and slight rip cut's the paddling time to the takeoff down by about 2-mins.
Can link up on the right swell and run from the 'Pinnacle' all the way to the beach, but very rare to find these conditions.
breaks from 2ft up to 5ft before it gets too gnarly where the bravest only survive. At 6ft it tends to close out from Limestone reef with a foam ball that washed over the 'Pinnacle' section, until reforms on the inside section section.
At 3-4ft on high tide, with no wind, its truly a wonder to behold. Be advised, the wave comes out of about 30 feet deep water onto 2-4 feet of water. There's plenty rock boils that suck dry, unless the tide is at it's fullest. The take off is fast and the barrels unforgiving. But make a deep barrel and it will blow your mind in sheer exhilaration.
Vetchies does not get very crowded as when it does work the more popular Northern town waves are world class. But because of the small takeoff can get clogged up easily.
By Anonymous , 27-02-2009
sick spot - surfed vechies a number of times over the years some small days some larger days but when its breaking right u can be inside almost all the way to the beach i remember even wiping out and snapping my board on the rocks cos the tide was too low. i aslso remember getting cut up a few times on the rocks ;)but it was all worth it for the wave
By Anonymous , 03-02-2008
Big swell 1990 and a Shark story - Back in 1990, I surfed it on a really Big Swell when New pier, North and the rest were just to big. It was 4-6 feet on the reef and barreling as fast as you could gun. A cyclone swell that got hit by a strong South Westerly. Epic session, guys were getting 5 or 6 barrels on one wave. Paddling out was like looking at something from a surfing cartoon, 5 six foot waves from a set with guys sitting in the barrel and then 5 four ft waves with guys in the barrel. It was way to crowded, at least 100 people across the reef and you had to wait 20 minutes for waves but it was super consistant with 4 ft waves constantly running down the reef...The fate of vetchies...well they are widening the harbour at this very minute which means that it has to be double the size to hit th reef. So one freak swell every 20 years that will reach 3 - 4 ft.
Another story. When I was a kid, about 14 yrs old, a mate and I were snorkelling out near the block and we saw a great white, about 5 metres long cruising in the deep water, following the reef. He did not seem interested in us and was about 20 metres away. We panacked and swam as fast as we could. It was low tide and we went onto dry reef and walkd to shore along the rocks...I guess when you are surfing there, you need to tell yourself that 5 metre monsters are not in the break zone. Remember Vetchies is next to South pier which has Natal's biggest great white colony.
By Anonymous , 05-01-2008
70's Kneeboarder - I used to ride this spot with my kneeboard circa mid 70s, early 80s. I'm in my 50s now and haven't surfed for 8 years and am living faraway, but Vetchies brings back memories and it will be hard to imagine it won't be there soon. With my kneeboard I was out there on my own many times more than most even having a stingray flopping out of the sea just an arms length away. When the surf was small it took some effort to cut back into the next break (multiple breaks on the reefs and scraping the rocky reef below with the bottom of my board), but it added to the fun. I still believe that when it worked it was the best break on the Durban beach front.
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