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Thirty-six is no longer young, or promising, and even as a teacher or writer (careers more forgiving of slow starters), it can barely be called emerging. It’s one year too late to be a member of the ANC Youth League, and 20 years too late to start surfing, especially in the wild and freezing waters around Cape Town. ’

All that lost time weighs on us, Alex and I, as we watch teenagers or outright children paddle onto some heaving Atlantic swell, make the drop, cut back, carve some shapes along the purling, blue-green wall and then kick out like it was the easiest thing in the world...

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