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Monday 27 March 2017

This gallery highlights one of the best surfing days at Llandudno near Cape Town in ages. It so happened that it was the day of the Rolling Retro. Photos Ian Thurtell. Drone shots Michael Veldtman.

spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Featured Slideshows Photos Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:13:22 +0200
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Monday 27 March 2017

A chilly offshore wind and thumping 4-6' sea at Llandudno greeted the 12 brave souls who joined hands early on the day of the Rolling Retro for awareness of mental health, writes Spike


JUMPING FOR JOY: The inaugural Fluro event in South Africa. Photo Sean Thompson

It all began when a South African expat living in Australia Mark Morgan thought it about time a beach in South Africa did what Australian Non-Profit Surf community One Wave has been doing in Australia since 2013.

This was to dress up in bright fluro colours and congregate at dawn on a beach to 'Free the Funk' and to talk openly about aspects of mental health that never see the light of day, sometimes until it's too late.

As a member of the Making Waves photographic Facebook group, Morgan spoke to the group's founder Sean Thompson, who approached me about doing a Fluro event to celebrate One Wave's 4th Birthday, after their call for beaches around the world to create the world's largest fluro wave.


HOLDING HANDS: Twelve people turned up to share in the historic event. Photo Sean Thompson

By all acccounts that was achieved with apparently up to 100 beaches from the US, New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Norway all joining to show that "It's Okay not to be Okay".

It all started with the concept of Fluro Friday, which began on Bondi Beach, Australia in March 2013. It has since gone viral with Fluro Friday sessions held at more than 100 beaches globally. Because Rolling Retro was on a Saturday, we decided to team up with Captain Kai and Robby McDonald who were stoked for us to kickstart their day with a whacky lineup of South African fluro.

I said a few words about the need to share our mental health issues because bottling it up can lead people down a rocky road that ends badly. One in four people has a mental health issue in a 12 month period. Statistics tell us that every day in South Africa, about 230 people a day attempt suicide, and about 10 percent succeed. That translates to someone dying every hour.


TALK IT THRO: Spike tries to emulate the spirit of One Wave. Photo Sean Thompson

After the quick chat, photographers Sean Thompson and Nico Oliver from Making Waves took some shots as we spread out in a line holding hands and making Mexican waves. Later, drone pilot Tamarac Park Searll shot footage for a movie.

It was cool, although we didn't get the 40 or so people who said they were coming. But, as founder of One Wave Grant Trebilco said to me when I messaged him that it started small, with 12 people turning out. He replied, "Shit no, that's a massive crew for your first Fluro!! First one was me by myself."

Trebilco's story is poignant, and little did he know that his first fluro (when he went surfing in a suit and tie and fluro in recovery after an intense bout of bipolar disorder) would spread so far and wide.


FLURO TUBE: A cranking 6 foot swell was blasting on the beach. Photo Sean Thompson

grant-trebilcoIt all started five years ago when he: "walked into my manager's office dressed like a Mexican tequila farmer and said I wanted to quit my job to start a charity called ‘Where the party at?’ I was going to follow the surf tour around the world and throw parties and raise money for Surfaid. I thought it was the best idea ever! Little did I know I had been misdiagnosed with depression a few months earlier and the antidepressants I was on caused me to have a manic episode.

"Quitting my tequila marketing job was one of the many ridiculous ideas I came up with that week. Four days later, I ended up in the mental health ward of Manly hospital and was diagnosed with bipolar.

"For me it took getting to the lowest low before I got help. My family and friends didn’t even know I was struggling. It’s scary what you can hide behind a smile. One the biggest things I learn't is that when you ask for help good people will come running. They won't judge.

"We are losing too many people to suicide. Every damn day. The happiest, kindest people who we have no idea are even struggling. It’s time to let people know it’s totally ok not to be ok and ask for help.

"Luckily the 'where the party at?' idea changed to 'One Wave'. We wanted to help people free the funk through saltwater therapy and surfing in Fluro."


FREAKY FLURO: Bright colours help you to free the funk and to be positive. Photo Spike

In three years, One Wave has gone global, raising awareness and reducing social stigmas around mental health issues through their Fluro Friday sunrise sessions. As Trebilco says “Bright colours make people happy and help start conversations about an invisible issue. Combine that with surfing and it is a great recipe to help free the funk.”

Watch this space for Fluro Friday happenings around South Africa. We'll start events on Facebook and let you know.


spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Breaking News News Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:03:34 +0200
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Monday 27 March 2017

It was third time lucky for the Rolling Retro specialty surfing get-together, which ran on Saturday in absolutely cranking 4-6' conditions at Llandudno near Cape Town after two false starts.

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STYLE IS EVERYTHING: This is the retro way to surf a wave, with nonchalance. Photo Ian Thurtell

Rolling Retro contest director Captain Kai took some heat calling off the event twice before the weather gods finally smiled and the event went off in epic 4-6' surf and clean offshores.

Early in the day, on the low tide, the barrels were mutantly morphing and spitting like cobras, with a lot of closeouts. That's okay, send in the body surfers, who valiantly tackled heaving pits to give the judges a lot to think about. In the end it was local Ed Millat who took the title of best bodysurfer.


GUNNING THE GAT: Jasper Eales hooks into a beauty in the corner. Photo Ian Thurtell

Bodyboarders were up next and continued to keep the building crowd on their feet. There were multiple tube rides and explosive finishes. John McDonald, old local, who has been working out of town, returned to his old stomping ground and put in a notable performance. His double tube almost took the title, but Aden Kleve, with an incredible drop knee, double knee and prone performance was the clear winner. In the free surf later, Aden got one of the best tubes of the entire day, and almost took the best tube award too.

As the tide pushed, the waves just got better and better. Enter the surfers, who charged the ethereal, aquamarine waves. There were shouts of joy, cries of wonder and groans of pain. Yuca Deureese, visiting from Europe, was the stand-out lady in the water, handling the heaving peaks with ease. There were very few Groms surfing the event, but Brad Scott, paddled out with his dad and got one of the best tubes of the early heats to take out the Grom title.


CIRCLE FOR SANDY: The crew said goodbye to Robby McDonald's mom. Photo Michael Veltman

As the afternoon waned and the party swung into motion, the incredible performances continued as the waves started to go world class. In the water, surfers like Robby Schofield (Best Tube Winner), Teager Eales (Best turn), and Jacques Smit (Best Variety) were revelling in the best Llandudno in ages, while on the beach, Dunty Latrobe aka Tank Girl (Best dressed Lady) and Dale Swanepoel (best dressed Guy) were leading the party charge.

Before the final heat hit the lineup, the entire event got together on the beach to honor Sandy MacDonald, mother to contest co-founder Robby McDonald. She had passed the previous weekend. Sandy had been involved with every Retro since the beginning and Robby and her family were surrounded by a circle of love as we celebrated her life and paid her memory honor as only surfers can, with love, noise and joy!


TANK TOP: Dunty Latrobe got into the spirit with a winning Tank Girl impression. Photo Ian Thurtell

The final heat of the day had some people claiming the best surfing they have ever seen, with locals Josh Brodie, Jasper Eales and Ike Forsythe going head to head in the heaving tubes on offer. New member to the Hout Bay community, Dale Staples, was the standout though. Threading amazing tubes, getting the wipeout of the day on the wave of the day, and doing one of the biggest turns ever seen in Cape waters, he was the Surfer of the Contest.

Prize-giving went mad, the Runaway Nuns fired up the crowd with live punk music and Mix N Blend and Ike ensured the dancing went late into the night. All in all an incredible day!

A huge thank you to everyone involved and especially sponsors El Jimador, Striped Horse, Red Bull, Billabong, Von Zipper, Hurricane, Vudu Surf and Captain Kai’s World.


CRAZY TUBES: Ike Forsyth makes it look way too easy as he tucks in. Photo Ian Thurtell

spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Breaking News News Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:37:41 +0200
Maximum Results https://www.wavescape.co.za/surf-news/breaking-news/maximum-results.html https://www.wavescape.co.za/surf-news/breaking-news/maximum-results.html groms-620-th

Monday 27 March 2017

Max Elkington claimed his 15th national title when he took the U16 Boys crown at the first event of the Billabong Junior Series at Loch Ness in Port Elizabeth yesterday. Photos Kody McGregor

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FOAM CUTTER: Max Elkington has nailed 15 national age group titles. Photo Kody McGregor

It was the first of four surfing events, presented by All Aboard Travel, that will crown champions in five age divisions for boys and girls in October. This year marks the 20th successive year the series has been held, and it started in good waves at the Pipe in Port Elizabeth on Saturday but small waves and onshore winds saw organisers move to the open ocean ‘wildside’ where the finals were completed in tricky head-high surf yesterday.

Elkington, 15, caught the best wave that came through in the final and belted a series of radical manoeuvres to register his sixth consecutive Billabong Junior Series event win, pocketing R1,200 and taking the early lead in the series rankings. Fellow Kommetjie resident Eli Beukes hung onto second place ahead of Bryce Du Preez (East London) and Dillon Hendriks (Jeffreys Bay) who were third and fourth respectively.


U16 GIRLS: Future stars in the making, and these events help. Photo Kody McGregor

In the U16 Girls’, Kayla Nogueira turned the tables on fellow Durbanite S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu (who won the series title last year) in a tightly fought duel where the winning points were scored on the last ride of the final. Tayla de Coning (East London) and Zoe Steyn (Kalk Bay) were the runners up.

The U14 Boys was another tight affair with Daniel Emslie, up from the U12 division last year, found the best backup wave after all four finalists registered one good ride each. Nate Spalding (Durban), Mitch du Preez (East London) and Travis Pearce finished in that order.

Kayla Nogueira secured her second title at the event when she dominated the U14 Girls division, winning each heat she contested including the final where the Durbanite finished in front of Lisa van Heerden (Strand) and Aimee du Preez (EL). Caroline Brown (CT) incurred a priority interference penalty that saw her lose one of her two counting rides and she dropped from second to fourth place.


NO FEAR: Zia Hendriks won the U12 girls division. Photo Kody McGregor

The U12 Boys title went to Kyra Bennie (Durban) who convincingly beat local pair Nathan Plomaritis and C-Jay Posthumus with Ethan Currin in fourth. The U12 Girls result was also affected by an interference call that saw Lisa van Heerden relegated to second spot behind winner Zia Hendriks, with Emma Bedser and Luanne Hurst collecting third and fourth places.

The newly introduced U10 division was completed in tricky waves at the Pipe before the event was moved and was dominated by Sergio Nogueira (Durban). Davey Emslie, Michael Russel and Josh Malherbe finished second to fourth in the youngest division in the series events, which is supported by Sea Harvest.

Luke Slijpen (Llandudno) boosted the best aerial manoeuvre during the VonZipper Airshow and took home R2,000 from the winner-takes all 30 minute heat, while Davey Emslie was awarded the Billabong Best Claim of the Contest and a hamper of Billabong products.


FOUR SCORE: The four finalists in the U16 boys pose on the podium. Photo Kody McGregor

U/16 Boys

1 Max Elkington (Kommetjie) R1,200
2 Eli Beukes (Kommetjie) R800
3 Bryce du Preez (East London) R600
4 Dillon Hendriks (Jeffreys Bay) R400

U/16 Girls
S1 Kayla Nogueira (Durban) R1,100
2 S’Nenhlanhla Makhubu (Durban) R750
3 Tayla de Coning (East London) R550
4 Zoe Steyn (Kalk Bay) R350

U/14 Boys
H1 Daniel Emslie (East London) R1,200
2 Nate Spalding (Durban) R800
3 Mitch du Preez (East London) R600
4 Travis Pearce (Cape Town) R400

U/14 Girls
1 Kayla Nogueira (Durban) R1,200
2 Lisa van Heerden (Strand) R750
3 Aimee du Preez (East London) R550
4 Caroline Brown (Cape Town) R400

U/12 Boys
1 Kyra Bennie (Durban) R1,200
2 Nathan Plomaritis (Port Elizabeth) R800
3 C-Jay Posthumus (Port Elizabeth) R600
4 Ethan Currin R400

U/12 Girls
1 Zia Hendriks (Jeffreys Bay) R1,000
2 Lisa van Heerden (Strand) R700
3 Emma Bedser R500
4 Luanne Hurst R300

1 Sergio Nogueira (Durban) R900
2 Davey Emslie (East London) R450
3 Michael Russel R350
4 Josh Malherbe (East London) R300

Specialty awards
VonZipper Airshow - R2 000 - Luke Slijpen (Llandudno)
Billabong - Best Claim of the Event – Product Hamper - Davey Emslie (East London)

spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Breaking News News Mon, 27 Mar 2017 09:23:19 +0200
Day 1 Lightey Highlights https://www.wavescape.co.za/photos/featured-slideshows/day-1-lightey-highlights.html https://www.wavescape.co.za/photos/featured-slideshows/day-1-lightey-highlights.html juniors1-620-th

Sunday 26 March 2017

Cooking surf at Pollock Beach in PE greeted the groms surfing in event #1 of the Billabong Junior Series. Clean crisp offshores always make for nice photos. Gallery by Kody McGregor.

The the longest running junior series in the world, the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard Travel, kickstarted at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth yesterday. Stand-outs included Eli Beukes and Luke Slijpen, Summer Sutton and Kayla Nogueira, Sne Makhubu and Olivia Izzard, Dillon Hendricks and Angelo Faulkner.

In two weeks, surfing returns to PE for the Nelson Mandela Bay Pro presented by Billabong, a WQS 1,000 event that includes a WJS event that forms the star of the City Surf Series of WQS events set to take place in PE, Lamberts Bay, Cape Town, East London and Durban.

spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Featured Slideshows Photos Sun, 26 Mar 2017 15:20:07 +0200
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Friday 24 March 2017

Junior surfing: Where are we at? Craig Jarvis ponders the state of our youngsters to see if they pass muster as products of the longest and perhaps biggest junior series in the world. 

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TOP OF THE PILE: Kommetjie's Eli Beukes bashes a lip at Ballito Bay. Photo WSL / Cestari

South Africa has one of the longest running junior series in the world with the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard. It started in 1997 and has been running ever since, which makes it 20 years this year. South Africa also has one of the biggest junior circuits in the world, with our junior surfers some of the most catered-for junior surfers in the world.

With all of these events going for our junior surfers, often at the expense of professional surfing and open divisions, one would think that we would have some of the best junior surfers in the world.

We don’t. We barely make into the top ten junior surfing nations in the world, with county’s like Costa Rica and Tahiti along with the obvious USA Australia and Brazil all coming in ahead of us at the ISA World Junior Surfing Champs last year – where we ended up placed ninth.

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MAXIMUM TORQUE: Max Elkington shreds a righthander. Photo WSL / Cestari

As an observer of junior surfing in South Africa over two decades the only noticeable factor I have picked up on is the general creep of rock star-ness that has quietly slipped into junior surfing, almost unnoticed at first, but now a hindrance to the development of our junior surfing, and for our future as a surfing nation.

“When we were naughty, we got hit.”

No-one is to blame. Twenty years ago things like corporate punishment and strict discipline were the norm. Former professional surfer Greg Swart reminded me of those days recently. “When we were naughty, we got hit,” said Greg. “When we got hit it was sore.”

These days this is not condoned, and not permissible treatment for kids; such is the rate of progress of civilized behaviour. But that sort of discipline bred different people and different results.

Take away the corporal punishment angle, and many of our young surfers are still living in the deluded world of rock stars, and most of them are going to hit the ground really hard when they finally discover that they’re not the next Jody Smith, they can’t survive by hussling older guys on longboards and being pigs in the water, and hey, one of those guys who they have hassled and dropped in on might just one day be the person they are standing in front of, desperate for a first job, for a step up, for a foot in the door.

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FAMILY TRAIT: The Ribbink family has produced many top class surfers. Photo WSL / Cestari

It’s not all doom and gloom. Billabong has consistently put their money where their mouth is with their support of junior surfing through thick and thin, and their junior series did actually see Jordy graduate onto the Championship Tour, and did see Bianca Buitendag climb on the women’s Championship Tour and develop into the amazing, intelligent and polite competitive surfer that she is today.

Those surfers who realize earlier on that these events are these series are launching pads for possible careers, and who put their heads down and go for it, are the surfers who have a chance at making it in the cut throat and desperate world of professional surfing.

Mikey February is one such surfer, who has kept a level head and competitive fire from junior surfing, along with Dylan Lightfoot and Matt McGillivray. These are three surfers who immediately come to mind for their humility, their affability, as well as for their competitive prowess and big match temperament - every one of them.


SLIP SLIDE: Luke Slipjen lays down another tight line at an Eastern Cape point. Photo WSL / Cestari

These days there are many surfers starting to come through with big surfing shoes to fill – the Emslies and the Malherbes and the Ribbinks for example – and all eyes are on these surfers. Their parents however, are well versed in the pitfalls of arrogance and ego, knowing full well that such behavioral traits simply lead to a very quick and intense race to the bottom. These kids have the advantage of having parents with that experience necessary to keep egos in check, and to understand how to nurture confidence, and not arrogance.

There are many junior surfers out there who are quietly getting on with it all

The High Performance Surfing Academy in Durban is also doing a lot for the surfers who are being coached, with legends like Chris Knutsen, Paul Canning, Spider Murphy and Simon Nicholson to name a few, instilling all the correct characteristics that develop winners, and under the watchful eyes of Jason Ribbink and Chad Du Toit, along with Bruce Jackson, surfers coming through their coaching sessions are showing great potential, including the likes of Kayla Nogueira and S’nenhlahla Makhuba.

There are many junior surfers out there who are quietly getting on with it all, surfing hard and training hard, desperate to become better surfers and better people, and the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard is there to let these surfers flourish. The cream will always rise to the top, as long as our junior surfers get the opportunity to have a go. Surfers like Luke Slijpen and Eli Beukes, James Ribbink and Max Elkington, will feature on podiums for their incredible surfing skills and talents as well as because they’re not rock stars. They’re polite to their elders and they know when to show respect in the water and out. It is these types of surfers who will take South African junior surfing to the next level, and platforms like the Billabong Junior Series presented by All Aboard and the High Performance Surfing Academy presented by the South African Surfing Legends, will enable this transition.

spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Breaking News News Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:06:25 +0200
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Friday 24 March 2017

The PNG longboard champs are over, and Saffas Steezy Sawyer, Matthew Moir and Alfonso Peters are out, so as consolation we offer these beautiful shots from the women's event.  

spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Featured Slideshows Photos Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:56:18 +0200
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Tuesday 21 March 2017

Here is Part 2 of the special feature with iconic surfboard shaper Spider Murphy. He tells Mark Muller how his ethos helped shape the history of surfing in South Africa. Part 1 here


SPACE CRAFT: It's about the eye, and how it can scans shape and space. Photo Pat Flanagan


How did you help Martin Potter with his equipment when he was starting out in Durban and placed second in both the Gunston and Mainstay in July 1981? What were the main features of ‘The Saint’ quiver that he rode in the early 1980s?

For those competitions he was on a 5’5’’ or 5’7’’x 19” x 2 3/8’’. They had a vee right through, and little concaves either side of the outside of the fins, because there was quite a lot of space between the fin and the rail. He had to ride it on the one vee panel, do his bottom turn, then on the other panel to do the off the top. It had a little saint on it and had green rails. Pottz was only fifteen and was incredibly fast on those boards. He would catch a one foot wave on the outside and come flying through to the inside on it: one couldn’t believe this kid flying on waves that were so small. And then Simon brought up the thrusters and I made Martin two thrusters, and he beat guys overseas on those: that was the start of it all for Pottz internationally. He joined Town and Country and shifted to the thrusters more.

Who are the other surfers it’s been good working with?

Tom Carroll, Sunny Garcia, Michael Ho, The Bronzed Aussies, Greg Emslie, Paul Canning, Royden Bryson, Heather Clark, Rosy Hodge, Simon Nicholson, Pierre Tostee, and big wave rider Twiggy Baker.

Sunny Garcia was one of the guys who would be very involved and would always be here in the shaping bay when he was in town, giving feedback and working on getting the right board. Greg Emslie would come stay with me and we would develop three or four boards for him to take on the WCT tour with him: he made it through to a WCT final in France in 2007. I shaped boards for Paul Canning and Heather Clark at around the same time and went to Teahupoo with Heather. She would charge there harder than some of the guys.

I shaped some boards for Bianca Buitendach when she was younger, probably just before she went on tour. She is a supercool and classy surfer, who always has time for younger surfers and fans. Boards are much more accessible to surfers overseas than they are here, and if surfers travel they can always try out other boards, but it would be nice to have Bianca surfing on our boards again.


PASSION IS PRICELESS: Spider remains hands on in the factory ... at the age of 70. Photo Safari

How many boards have you shaped?

I lost count long ago. Probably around one hundred thousand.

What’s your idea of the perfect board? 

When the plan shape, curve, concaves, rails and volume all blend together to make a magic board, which only happens for team riders every now and again, despite all the computer technology. Top guys in the world can have twenty boards and out of those there may be only two magic boards. One’s trying to make that board that works best for surfers, that’s super-fast, and that they depend on in all variety of contest situations. When you see a top surfer in a contest on a board that may be turning a bit yellow, then you know that it’s one of those magic boards for them, and they may be battling to find a replacement as good.

Kelly had a board like that from Simon Anderson that he kept for three years, but no shapers could copy it, despite trying. I’ve done boards for a lot of guys who come back and tell me they work unbelievably for them. I tell them to return the board to me so I can make another one. I often keep those boards in my rafters, and every now and again I pull them out, and see the same things coming up time and again; we keep the references so that we can always get it back. Shaping is a lot about trying to create, and re-create, that board that is magic for surfers.


BOARD ROOM: From concept to review, Spider always tests his shapes. Photo Pat Flanagan

What are your shaping principles?

I’ve always made sure the customer gets the right board. When I’ve got my tools in my hands, I make decisions: Do I leave it on or take it off, do I make it wider or make it thicker? If I’m really passionate about it I’m going to give the surfer the right board, the board that he or she wants. It’s almost like a dance when we’re shaping: there’s music going on and we move with it, we flow with it. I have to keep my balance, and my body has to react to the tools, and guide the tools through the cutting process. We shapers know and love our music, and it inspires us every day, giving fresh rhythms while we’re shaping. I made some boards for the lead and bass guitarists of Metallica when they came here. They were stoked: we talked the same language.

I surf every day to test my shapes so that I can improve on them and understand how they go. I prefer to shape surfboards with clean curves and foiled rails. We use the computer to shape a lot of boards these days and you can get both sides really symmetrical. Then we apply the finishing touches by hand.

It’s one thing getting paid for it, another thing having a happy customer: the reward in that is far greater than getting paid. I get high on doing my passion and the more I try, the stronger my passion becomes. I could do a lot of other things to make money, but I don’t want to do that because the reward is so great in what I do.


NEW TRICKS: One can always learn new tricks from old boards. Photo Pat Flanagan

From which shapers have you learnt the most?

Of all the legendary shapers of my generation Dick Brewer and Mike Diffendefer were the two: they had different styles and we were always trying to see which was the best style to suit us. It ended up that Diffendefer was my real inspiration, but Dick Brewer is a Hawaiian, and his style spread through the whole world of surfboard shaping and a lot of people shape like him, with those flat, big, boxy rails and very clean lines. Mike Diffendefer was a real artist shaper whose shapes came from the heart: he could draw out a shape, sketch it free hand, cut it out with a saw. His boards were always more curvy and always had foiled rails and whenever I shape a board I always think of him and foil the rails like him.

Terry Fitzgerald really impressed me in how he could shape the rail on the one side, finish it totally, and then start on the other one.

Terry Fitzgerald really impressed me in how he could shape the rail on the one side, finish it totally, and then start on the other one. I couldn’t work out how he could do that, thought it was incredible. And he was doing concaves and double concaves and vees in those early days.

Another favourite of mine was Shawn Stussy, an unbelievable American artist and stylist, who made incredible boards that the whole world learnt from. One wondered where he got that from? Music, I’m sure, like ‘The Cure’ and ‘The Cars’ and that era. Shawn only shaped for about ten years and then he started his clothing brand, so obviously he needs to be doing new things the whole time - the surfboards weren’t enough.

I’ve learnt something from all the shapers in the world. I can be teaching someone to shape and they’ll do a little something that surprises me. Shapes are made up of a hundred little things and you’re always learning from somebody.

The Hawaiian surfers and surfing spirit have been a great inspiration: incredible people who are the kings of surfing as far as I’m concerned. Like the Ho family, the Kealohas, Larry Bertleman. Through them you learn what surfing really is: respect, hospitality, family orientation. We must always remember what they’ve done for surfing culture.


OLD MATES: It's important to take a break, even for passionate craftsman. Photo Pat Flanagan

Do you look to any current shapers for inspiration and ideas?

You’ve got to look at the boards shaped for the top guys in the world, see what they’re riding and pick up little things that you can add to your boards so that they improve. My favourite shaper is Jason Stephenson right now, with the foiled rails and clean curves through his boards.

I’m working on finless boards, which are good because they force surfers to surf low, giving more speed through compressing more. There’s still something missing though. There’s a lot of speed and glide but the bottom turn and off the top can still happen better, like we’ve seen with Deryk Hynd at J-Bay. The big thing is to get even more speed and to get it to hold, not slide out, and not be too stiff.

The guys have their serious boards, but there’s a time when they want to have some fun

A lot depends on the curve and I’ve put some channels and a deep vee in the bottom to hold it in. I’ve designed one on the computer and it’s looking good, but the hand-shaped one is going to be more critical, where I’ve got more control, and I can get more feel behind it. It’s a fun thing. The guys have their serious boards, but there’s a time when they want to have some fun. There’s nothing to touch the boards that Fanning, Medina, Slater and co. are surfing: those are the ultimate.

But Derek’s got something there and let’s see what happens. There’s a challenge for every shaper to design a bottom that can hold and even if the finless doesn’t work, something will come out of everybody putting all that effort into bottom design. It’s one of the steps design has taken from the single fins to twins to thrusters, and four fins even: shapers keep taking things forward which is a good thing.

 Are the boards you shape now using computer technology better than those you shaped in the past?

Yes, by far, critically. If look back to our day, like with Shaun’s boards, those blanks were so thick. You started off with a rough blank and it took you hours to get it into the shape you wanted. Today you can get your blank so close to the finished shape on computer and then you can still take it to another level once it’s been cut, so your consistency is so much better. The speed of the work is improved as well; you can do much more, probably two to four times as much in a day ... easily.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the shaping industry in South Africa and the wider world, and what are the challenges facing it at the moment?

We have many talented shapers in South Africa: the shaping industry is very good and there are lots of labels. The older shapers tend to be better but any shaper can rocket to the top if they work with talented surfers in their area. If a surfer’s going to get to the top he or she will need to take a shaper with them. South African shapers also need to travel and shape boards for the best surfers in the world or else they don’t progress: that’s their next challenge, and then go up from there. We need to get more South African surfers like Bianca and Jordy out there on the world tour. The economy is a challenge – the rand to dollar doesn’t favour us - but surfing is a continuously growing sport so people will always buy boards.


NOTHING CHANGES: Quality control at the Safari Surfboards factory in Durban. Photo Supplied

Have you had shaper apprentices who have gone on to establish themselves?

Yes, but what happens is you teach them, then they leave. Nearly every shaper in South Africa has worked with me or learnt from me at some time. Maybe one or two haven’t, but most of them have, and as you teach them, and they think they know everything, they start their own brand. That’s the way it is.

Younger shapers have got the ability, they’ve got everything, and like me, like any shaper, they can go from an average shaper to top of the world: just be passionate, work hard, remain focused, and create the opportunity to work with good surfers. It’s always a lot of hard work, and you don’t do it in a normal day: you’ve got to spend those early mornings and after hours working at it.

How did the South African Surfing Legends initiative come about and how is it going?


I am one of twenty-nine South African Surfing Legends. Those of us who were centrally involved in the period when South African surfing was very strong in the 1970s and 1980s have set up an organisational platform to see what we can do to lift South African surfing, to develop and strengthen it broadly so that more of our surfers can compete succesfully on the WQS and WCT. Some of the Legends met down in J-Bay intially and there was a lot of support, appreciation and respect shown for the initiative. Johnathan Paarman, Bruce Jackson, Marc Price, Tich Paul, were all there. The locals even let us take more than our share of waves. The experience of being with the Legends is powerful and you can feel the world class attitude and energy amongst us. We had a big gala evening in July 2015: Shaun was out as guest speaker and that really kicked things off. Shaun is very energetic and strong about developing and supporting South African surfing and the Legends. The core were Pat Flanagan and Graham Cormac, Bruce Jackson, Chris Knutson, Jason Ribbink and Carl Nielson, an accountant, and the CEO.

The coaching’s based in Durban and year round conditions here provide us with an excellent training ground. We’ve established a High Performance Surfing Academy in Durban. We helped prepare our Junior team for the ISSA games in California in October 2015. We had three events in 2016 and the highest scoring four under thirteen boys, four under 16 boys and four under sixteen girls attended an intensive four day coaching course which included surf coaching, video analysis, judging, diet, sports psychology and fitness.

We’ve had pro surfers going on the tour and when they come back they’re often not doing anything with their experience, after all that expense: that’s money wasted. It’s a business - you should be able to make money out of it by the time you come back. So if the Legends stand by them, then they know. Our surfers have to train hard and be ready for the tour, and get on the podium.

All the top surfers today have a team supporting them.

I coach the fresh youngsters regularly in Durban, teaching them to surf from the hips, like Tom Curren and Jordy: powerful and smooth. I’m also working with young South African surfers like Matt and Kirsty McGillivray. The McGillivrays are talented, clean-living and determined, and will go far. We have lots of other talented young surfers and they need to be prepared for international competition by a whole team to be winners. All the top surfers today have a team supporting them. Like Jordy Smith’s team is held together by his dad, Graham, and that’s been a big part of his success. If the Legends need to travel with our pro surfers maybe we can do that too.

The Brazilians are a good example. They have families and friends supporting them, travelling together and hanging together. They go to Hawaii and I’m sure they even have kick-boxers and heavy guys there in case they run into a little trouble– not that we’d need that. They’ve got good backing and they all support each other. If they lose they don’t leave, they stay to support each other to the very end, and it makes a big difference.

* For more on SA Surfing Legends see http://southafricansurfinglegends.com/archives/1657 

How are shapers involved?

While the Legends train and guide our young surfers, the shapers can learn from that, understand what the guys need. If a surfer has bad equipment, they need to get good equipment. Working with the best surfers can guide them in the right direction. Here’s the board in front of you: ‘Do you want more foam on here or must I take less off?’ We can see somebody who is surfing really fast, that a lot of it’s technique; but the equipment also plays a big part. It’s like Formula 1: like Mercedes is always out there leading, and the other teams have to adjust themselves to catch up. It’s a team thing: the glassing has to be good, the fin installation angles have to be good, the edges, the flex it all comes in - it’s all got to be 100%.


spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Breaking News News Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:25:14 +0200
Fluro Wave - Free the Funk https://www.wavescape.co.za/surf-news/breaking-news/fluro-wave-free-the-funk.html https://www.wavescape.co.za/surf-news/breaking-news/fluro-wave-free-the-funk.html free-the-funk-620-th

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Join Wavescape, M@king Waves and Rolling Retro for a big, bright fluro get-together on Llandudno Beach before the Rolling Retro this Saturday to raise awareness about mental health.


BONDING: Participants in the Fluro One Wave movement in Australia. We're doing one in SA. 

At 7am, we're going to join OneWave in their mission to create the world's largest "fluro wave" at 100 beaches around the globe to raise awareness and start the conversation about mental health, and to show that It's Okay not to be Okay. Join the South African event at Llandudno here.

It all started with the concept of Fluro Friday, which began on Bondi Beach, Australia in March 2013. It has since gone viral with Fluro Friday sessions held at more than 100 beaches globally, as far as California, Hawaii, Mexico, New Zealand, Bali, India, Samoa and Fiji.

Since Rolling Retro is on a Saturday, we've decided to team up with Captain Kai and Robby McDonald who are stoked to kickstart their day with a whacky lineup of South African fluro for a good cause.


Pull into Llandudno dressed in your brightest and most outrageous Fluro colours for a get-together, brief chat and photo shoot. You don't have to surf, but if you do, bring your board. Let's show our overseas friends that South Africans also know how to go seriously Fluro! You can then join in the fun at the Rolling Retro. Registration starts at the Llandudno Lifesaving Club at 8am.

Photographers and videographers from M@king Waves will be there to record your antics for posterity!

In three years, OneWave has gone global, raising awareness and reducing social stigmas around mental health issues through their Fluro Friday sunrise sessions. OneWave Founder Grant Trebilco says “Bright colours make people happy and help start conversations about an invisible issue. Combine that with surfing and it is a great recipe to help free the funk.”

Pull in and chill out with our Fluro Friday celebration next Saturday!


SUNRISE SMILE: Everyone pulls in at dawn to join the conversation, and have some fun.

The whole thing started when Trebelico, who is from New Zealand but lives in Australia, one day found himself in Manly Hospital’s mental health unit after a serious bi-polar episode. He went home to New Zealand for six months where he found solace in the ocean (he couldn't sit still on land). On returning to Bondi, he dressed in a fluro suit and tie, and went surfing. One Wave was born.

You often don't know people are struggling until its too late

Grant now hosts weekly Fluro Fridays around Australia at dawn, but mostly at Bondi. He speaks of the need to build the conversation about mental health. We lose so many people to suicide because they never speak up, and you often don't know people are struggling until its too late. One Wave is a way to let people know they're not alone, and the Fluro movement offers salt water therapy, bright colours, and good people. From the Maldives to Cali, Mollymonk to Byron Bay, Takapuna to Mount Maunganui, and now Llandudno South Africa, lets create the world’s largest Fluro Wave.


HOLDING HANDS: A long line of stoked people (you don't have to surf to pull in)

W www.onewaveisallittakes.com 
F www.facebook.com/onewaveisallittakes 
IG @onewaveisallittakes 

spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Breaking News News Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:46:30 +0200
Grom Games Gallery https://www.wavescape.co.za/photos/featured-slideshows/grom-games-gallery.html https://www.wavescape.co.za/photos/featured-slideshows/grom-games-gallery.html grom-games-620-th

Monday 20 March 2017

Here's a gallery of shots from the 25th Billabong South African Grommet Games underway at Pollock Beach in Nelson Mandela Bay until tomorrow. Grant  Scholtz was in the hood.

This unique surfing tournament is supported by Billabong, Sea Harvest, the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and the National Lotteries Commission.

The SA Grommet Games began as the Development Championships and was Introduced into South African surfing culture after unification in 1991 as part of Surfing’s commitment to transformation and development. The objective of the event in 1991 was to give young surfers from different backgrounds, communities and cultures the opportunity to participate in a an event that not only had a competitive element but also focused on fun and camaraderie.

Many South African surfers who began their competitive surfing careers at this event have gone on to compete at National and International level.

More info www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za 

spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Featured Slideshows Photos Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:37:59 +0200
Head's Up! https://www.wavescape.co.za/video/the-latest-clips/heads-up.html https://www.wavescape.co.za/video/the-latest-clips/heads-up.html TOAD-620-th

Monday 20 March 2017

A while ago, it was Take Off And Die (TOAD). In recent years, big wave wipeouts are infinitely more ugly than a fat frog: Episode 4 of the Tag Heuer #Don'tCrackUnderPressure series. 


spike@wavescape.co.za (Steve Pike) Featured Video Video Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:12:52 +0200