fbpx

Here at The Great Break we are always searching for valuable information and resources centred around exploring the outdoors. We were excited to find just that in the form of the Hiking South Africa website dedicated to creating a central, national community resource for hikers.

Hiking South Africa is packed with news, videos, and articles about trails around our beautiful country. It has also built a great online community forum on which members discuss a variety of topics from, mountain huts, safety tips, gear advice and even trail food reviews. Looking to trade, sell or buy used hiking gear? This is the place!

We met up with co-founder, Arno van der Heever who expressed how he identified a need for this platform in the hiking community and his passion for the outdoors. We have since collaborated to create a uniquely South African designed t-shirt inspired by the SA landscape and local Ndebele patterns, buy yours here >

You can sign up to the Hiking South Africa newsletter and follow them on social media for updates.

Photos by Sveta Becker

Header photo by Scott Webb

Mossel Bay forms part of the beautiful Garden Route. Situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, it is well known for its pristine beaches and abundant sea life.

The water is warmer in Mossel Bay as it lies on the East Coast with the warm Agulhus current of the Indian Ocean, compared to cold Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean. This makes for a great day out diving without a wetsuit on a hot summers’ day. Why not make this dive a shark cage dive!

Shark sighting while out on the boat with the White Shark Africa team.

White Shark Africa is perfectly located in Mossel Bay to assist you with your Shark Cage Dive. This is an experience where the length of the time out at sea depends on the sharks and various other factors, but a good timeframe to work on is about 4 hrs.

“White Shark Africa staff have a proud history in White Shark research, conservation and education so you can be sure that we have a passion and love for these animals and their environment.”

You are welcome to visit their website for all the information you need about this amazing experience. Click here.

We had the privilege of collaborating with them to produce their latest shark design, and it looks awesome on the light grey poly-cotton t-shirt. To grab yours, visit their store, address below.

Illustration and locally manufactured T-shirt by The Great Break.

Written by: Jared Kohn

An in-depth discussion with one of our founders

So let’s rewind a bit. Take us back to where it all started – you went straight to varsity after school, right? Architecture?

Correct that is. You know, you only (really) learn who you are after you leave High School. I don’t know how people make career decisions in high school (anyway – that might be a bigger discussion for another day). So yes, I went to study architecture, partly because I had done an aptitude test and that is what my results suggested, and, partly because my brother had studied the same thing, so there was a bit of familiarity.

 

You stuck it out though, even though you weren’t sure that’s what you wanted to do?

I finished the course and actually did pretty well, finishing near the top of the class, which helped me walk straight into a job with a small residential company. It was a lot of fun to begin with but I got pretty frustrated there, rather quickly. I then moved on to a commercial company. It followed the same sort of pattern – even though the timeline was a bit longer… I enjoyed working there for a while and started doing quite well (even became a shareholder and had really good prospects) then started getting frustrated. I looked at the position I had been earmarked for and I looked at the guy in that position who had just had a heart attack and said to myself: ‘Is that what I want to be in 20 years?’ The answer as simple as a, ‘no ways.’

 

So after a decade in the industry you started working on an exit strategy of sorts? This is where things get interesting, because a lot of people trapped in the proverbial rat race will relate here.

Yeah I knew that I needed a way out of that although it obviously came with a lot of comfort – the company had been around for 50 years and would definitely still be around for another 50. The main root cause of my frustration with the industry was that I couldn’t explore the creative side of things in a way I wanted to. So I decided to start sketching again (not as a means to an exit, just as an outlet, initially). I started very simply, without intention or direction. I had seen some stuff that I liked on Instagram and I thought that it is a really cool way to explore my love for nature and the outdoors and with that combined those two elements. So I started an Instagram project with no real intention of it becoming anything.

 

You refer to your Instagram as a ‘project,’ it’s the first time we’ve heard it called that. What’s the thinking behind that? Indeed, yes. I called it a project because there was no financial intention to begin with. It’s a bit like if you were building a model aeroplane in your garage and you called it a project.

 

Instagram was very much the vehicle that launched your artistic career, correct?

I’d say so, yes. Posting stuff was great because you got this instant feedback and it was a really nice way to grow, get feedback, develop to see what people like and didn’t like – there are traps in that as well, but it was just a fantastic platform to share. I have a few friends who like going hiking or whatever and you could show your mom and you can show your buddy what you were drawing but this is like a global exhibition to anyone that wanted to have a look at a particular subject matter.

 

One thing lead to another and you found yourself with another income and a chance to make ‘the great break?’ I did 100 free sketches (you just had to share my post to receive one) as part seeing how I could grow it (the Instagram handle) and get the momentum rolling. It grew from there and I started getting a lot of enquires from people who wanted commissions, murals and tattoo designs and a lot of apparel companies from North America and Europe. I realised at that point that there was a way to monetise it and I think at that stage I had grown quite a bit as an artist already and I had sort of figured out the direction I wanted to go, even though I was still working full-time.

 

How did you manage that? I would literally come home from work, put the kids down and then draw. I decided that I could come back from work and either watch Netflix on the couch or I can do something productive with my time. That is like a common theory with the side-gig concept. What was nice was that I was passionate about it and it wasn’t getting old. I can understand if I did it 100 times and then I’m done with it, but it kept on evolving which was great.

 

That was some two-odd years ago and you’re now a full time artist, you’re ever curious about growth and continually on the look to evolve, right? Yes, it is all morphing into something else (something bigger) now. I guess it started with a need to satisfy more ’reasons’ for what I’m doing. It used to be that I would focus purely on outdoor stuff and on the aesthetic of the image. I then realised that people were seeing a lot more than just a pretty picture and they often related the image to a feeling that they may have had. It meant something to them because it reminded them of an experience they’d had. So I realised the value in the story and the emotions and decided to started to focus a lot more on that.

 

Now, The Great Break is like a summary of the art and the lifestyle and the way of thinking and the way in which I want to do business and create products. It is a platform to create and collaborate in unique ways.

Written by: Jared Kohn