Getting ‘lost’ is a good thingComment on this story
Cape Town - South African surf ski champion Dawid Mocke’s love for the sport takes him all around the world. He now runs surf ski schools in Cape Town and in Durban.
How widely have you travelled?
In a year I usually travel to at least eight different countries following the WorldSurfski Series. My paddling has taken me to over 45 different cities around the world, from the Antipodes to Europe, and from Hawaii to the Caribbean. Then of course I travel all over South Africa and have had competitions in Namibia too.
Where was your favourite overseas destination?
My vocation is my vacation. My “work” takes me to these wonderful places so it’s very difficult to single out a favourite. Surf ski paddling naturally has to happen in places that are near water and beaches and beautiful places. Top three I would say: Tuscany, San Francisco and Mauritius.
Your worst experience on a holiday?
When I collected my lost baggage the day I was leaving New Zealand in 2007.
Your funniest experience?
There is nothing like being in a culturally “new” place to have funny moments. Like the time I was the designated driver for a night out in Dusseldorf. I drove up the wrong side of the highway (by mistake of course). Actually that was scary, not funny… but it’s funny now.
Then, in the early days of travelling, I was on a SA team tour in Singapore Airport. My wife and some of the girls went off to the loo and found an awesome free shower. So off I went to use this shower too. I found it but was very confused as to how they managed to fit under this short little shower and why the drain was so big. Well when I asked them afterwards they died laughing I had used an eastern toilet as a shower… oops.
What do you avoid during a holiday?
Usually hotels. I love to stay with the locals as much as possible because you learn so much more, and quickly too, about a place. You also get into the real life and rhythm of a place. It’s a much better way to experience new places.
Best meal abroad?
Oh boy. I must say I love going to traditional non-franchised breakfast diners in the United States. There is nothing quite like a tall stack of blueberry pancakes.
Your favourite place for sundowners on your travels?
Cape Town is seriously the best place. Nothing beats Clifton Fourth, Chapman’s Peak, Lion’s Head or Kommetjie. But if I have to pick a second position I’ll tell you that the LUX resorts in Mauritius have got the sundowner experience down to near perfection.
What have you learnt from your travels?
To order coffee in most languages – a very important skill. But seriously, every time I travel I realise what a great place Cape Town (and South Africa) is.
Ideal travelling companion?
Nikki, my wife. We can paddle together, see the sights and create awesome memories while doing the events. I’d strongly suggest travelling with your spouse or some of your family, even if it’s a close friend. Memories shared are much better.
Culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I’m more of a culture vulture, seeing as I get more than enough of the adrenalin side of a place because of the events that I go to. Also, wherever I go it seems that the “adrenalin activities” are always easily accessible or “easier” to do. It makes for a lazy traveller really. It takes effort and investigation to do more cultural activities.
I love to thoroughly investigate a place when I get there. I find that cycling and jogging around the area where I am staying is a great way to see a place. That’s why it’s better to stay with people rather than in hotels. Once I’ve done the recce, I can decide what to do from there. But usually I am there for a race, so I have to focus and prepare. I have been blessed to paddle in very iconic places… under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, past the Sydney Opera House, in Auckland Bay, in the Caribbean, around Manhattan Island in New York City, along Chicago’s city line, in Hawaii, in the Med…
Greatest travel luxury?
My compression socks… otherwise I end up with “fat foot” from the flight.
Biographies and motivational books normally.
I have a few – Cape Town to Swakopmund (with a detour to Luderitz and Ais-Ais on the way back); Los Angeles to San Francisco along the highway; Sydney to Brisbane.
I’d like to take a year and go from race to race with my family without coming home in between. We would start in Australia, travel the west coast then east coast, then go to the Caribbean, then Hawaii. We would come back to Mauritius and then go to the US and zig-zag across the country. We’d finish off the year in Europe going from Portugal to Spain, Italy, Greece and Malta. Our last stop, Cape Town.
Can you share some travel tips?
Pack your hand luggage in such a way you can live with only that in case your bags get lost.
Stay with locals and get locals to recommend places to you.
Always have a goal or a reason for any day trip, and pick only one activity so there is room for impulse decisions. Always make it a morning thing and let the afternoon and evening take its own course. I usually make a goal to have a good coffee in a particular town or area and see one thing en-route.
GPS navigation only when it’s mission critical, as getting “lost” and finding a place is way more fun, plus you get more “man points” for finding you own way.
In November I’m off to Hong Kong for another race. - Weekend Argus