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The Gearzette
Keep Searching with Dale Staples

Keep Searching with Dale Staples

- April 12, 2024

Curiosity is ingrained in the Staples family DNA; it’s how they live their lives. This family trait has been passed down from one generation to the next. We recently caught up with ocean action man Dale Staples after his unforgettable adventure along South Africa’s untameable Wild Coast with his dad, Daryl, and son, Knox. It was a trip where we were able to witness that there are many adventures and experiences to be had, provided you are willing to take the road less travelled, stop often and have the right gear. ​

© Craig Kolesky

Tell us about your earliest travel memories​

We always used to go on family holidays to the Kalahari, which was always a thrill since we grew up on the coast, so it was awesome seeing a completely different landscape, allowing us to be off the grid in the bush while intimately experiencing the incredible wildlife. ​

Dad would also sometimes take us along the coast to the Transkei and Mozambique, as you can’t beat the beach for family getaways. He taught us how to live with minimal things and do many activities while there such as surfing, paddling, and fishing. Dad was super busy with work, but whenever the opportunity arose to head up the coast or into the bush and disconnect, we took it. It was proper family time and real adventures. ​

© Dale Staples

What vehicles did you use for these early adventures?  ​

First, there was an Opel Kadett, but then Dad got a van and later a Land Rover 110, which was kitted out with the early and original Front Runner Wind Cheetah roof rack and other bits of gear. That’s when I first got hooked on Front Runner products. We all used to sleep in the back of the Landy until we got a roof top tent. Dad still has that Landy, it now has the Slimline II Roof Rack on while other bits of Front Runner gear have also been added over the years. ​

© Craig Kolesky

What does Keep Searching mean to you? ​

In life, you’re always searching for the next adventure, business opportunity, or destination. You can’t stick to only one thing, and routine can become stale; this is why everyone must Keep Searching in their lives. To Keep Searching is how the Staples family chooses to live our lives; if we didn’t follow this mantra, we’d quickly get bored.​

© Craig Kolesky

​What does a typical Staples family road trip or adventure look like? ​

There’s a lot of planning when you decide to undertake a trip, especially if you are going from Cape Town to the Transkei. We don’t only think of the destination; there’s much to see and do between leaving home and your destination. I feel sorry for people who only focus on the destination; they miss out on so many experiences. We’re lucky as there’s a lot to see in South Africa; I’d never been to some spots we stopped at while driving to the Transkei. ​

© Craig Kolesky

Being so active, how do you manage all your adventure gear on trips?​

You must set up your rack to use all the gear on your journey. I had surfboards, a kayak, a racing surfski, foiling equipment, and a Typhoon Bag on my rack. It’s essential to cover all your bases; you want a mounting system that will work for your kayak, surfboard, and other bits of gear. Front Runner gives you so many options, this is what sets it apart from other brands. My rack tells you a lot about who I am. ​

I come from a pro surfing background, but now I’m a waterman. I like to foil, sea kayak, surfski, surf, and do anything else that one possibly can do in the ocean. The love of ocean activities has taken over my life, and I’m lucky that all my water sports gear can be secured onto my rack. ​

© Craig Kolesky

Have you changed the way you travel and adventure since becoming a dad? ​

Before, I would pack up and head off on my own, but since becoming a dad, you must plan stops and break up the trip for little Knox. We spoke earlier about making the most of the journey; that’s what I have done since becoming a dad. It has enhanced my trips and travel experiences. Obviously since Knox has come along, we must take more stuff and take into consideration what he will need when we pack. ​

© Craig Kolesky

How do you keep young Knox happy and entertained on these adventures? ​

It’s hard to keep your child off TV or devices as it gives you free time when working from home. However, if you can get your kid into the outdoors and away from devices, you can immediately see its positive impact on their lives. Knox constantly looks around when we drive or are outdoors and quickly points out all the exciting stuff he sees. That was instilled in me from a young age, and I’m now instilling that in my son.

© Craig Kolesky

Seeing three generations of the Staples family adventuring together is special. How does it make you feel? ​

When I head off into the surf, I can leave my son Knox with my dad; Knox would happily spend days with his grandparents. They connect and have a special bond; Dad constantly teaches and shows him new things. He heads out with Dad for a paddle; they are like best friends, and he shows him the different shells and things in the sand. He’s instilling in my son what he instilled in me. I’m fortunate to have my dad around. Dad loves the ocean, and he got me into surfing. He is passing on those same skills to my son. ​

Most kids never get to go to the beach and into the ocean; they miss out on so much in the world. They should leave their comfort zones and Keep Searching; they will learn much more in the process. That is what disconnecting from the city and spending time in the bush and ocean will do for him. ​

© Dale Staples

Tell us about your rides and rigs.​

I’ve a Discovery 2, which lives in the Eastern Cape now with my parents in Cape St Francis; I also have a VW Transporter van, while my wife has the Audi Allroad. All have Front Runner roof racks on and help us to adventure and travel the way we do, with all of our gear. ​

© Craig Kolesky

What does a typical day on the road look like for the Staples family? ​

You start the trip with a plan, but weather and winds dictate what you get up to on the road and in the ocean. If there’s a strong onshore wind, you aren’t going surfing. It’s always nice to start a day with a surf to get the blood flowing and amped for the day. Maybe in the afternoon, you go fishing in the estuary or visit the local community to give back to them. You can’t travel through an area and not interact with the locals.

© Craig Kolesky

We like to travel without a set plan; yes, you’ve all your gear on the rack, but it is undoubtedly not an insular form of travel; you instead just go with the flow. Due to the weather, we could only surf for one day on our trip, so we foiled, fished, paddled, and experienced the local culture instead. Family time is essential on these trips, as is giving your son as many experiences as possible. You must leave your comfort zone and experience what’s out there. People need to search for the next wave, try and catch a fish and cook over an open fire, be open to every cultural experience. We have to keep growing, learning, searching. It’s what we do.