By the time Martin finished school, his crew owned the beach, but South Africa was in a state of emergency. Everyone was soon called up for compulsory military service. “People don’t understand how heavy the situation in the country was,” he says. “When I finished the army in 1986, a lot of my friends worked for private security companies and then we were all pretty much armed and dangerous. People would come to the beach with shotguns and 9 mils and baseball bats and just cause shit. That’s when Garvies was just absolutely out of bounds.”
By this stage the Bluff’s reputation preceded itself and anyone coming from the outside knew to tread very lightly. Yet, somehow, Cave Rock avoided the brunt of this vicious closed-door policy.
“The locals at Garvies were always pretty gnarly, and at Ansteys. But the Rock was different,” says Martin. “The road goes right past the Rock and there were always town guys out, so it was never as localised as Corner and definitely not as localised as Garvies. They’d come to the Rock, surf the Rock and they’d go. It was kinda just accepted.”
Martin and friends would even begrudgingly watch the ‘townies’ trade barrels with standout locals like Gavin Spowart and Rudy Palmboom at the end of the road. “We just sat there and bit our lips going, ‘These guys are good’. You learn from watching better surfers. And we learnt a lot.”