A real Surf & Turf Motorcycle Adventure as a rider sets out to circumnavigate Africa on a Suzuki DR650 with a surfboard strapped to the side!
Gary Conley decides to take on this journey even though he has never owned a motorbike before, hardly knows how to ride one, and has no idea of how to repair one. But, like any real adventurer, Gary reaches the conclusion that:
In the end you learn as much as you can. Prepare the best you can – which never seems like enough. Than take a leap and have the fortitude to know that you’ll figure the rest out on the way.
With the idea that there would be plenty of great empty waves that he could only get to on a dual sport like the DR650, Gary set out on a 20-month adventure. He flew from San Fransisco to London where he began his ride to cross the Strait of Gibraltar into Morocco. The plan being to ride down the west coast of Africa during the North Atlantic swell season and arrive in the South of Africa 9 months later – just in time for the swell season in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean. This leg would carry him up the east coast into North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and back to London.
The great thing about looking for surf on a big dirt bike in Africa is that you can get to pretty much wherever you might need, but I couldn’t seem to stop falling down and breaking the surfboard rack off the bike. I made friends with lots of welders.
In Cape Town, Gary met up with his friend Mike who bought a cheap 250cc Chinese bike and joined him for part of the journey northward. Shortly after, the duo became a trio when Gary’s girlfriend, Jamie, arrived to climb on the back of the DR650 – two people and all the gear for motorcycle camping in Africa. That’s got to be a tight squeeze!
Like every adventurer who sets out on an epic voyage, Gary and his companions faced challenges. He face planted in puddles to the amusement of locals, hacked his way through jungle to reach secluded beaches, dodged roadside bandits, got arrested in Nigeria, and raced two steps ahead of the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.
But, just as every explorer faces challenges and adversary, there are also the joys: new friends, locals lending a helping hand – just when needed, amazing sites, great riding, and in this case – incredible surfing.