Fri, 14 May 2010
The Cape Town surfing community is in deep mourning at the death of one of South Africa's foremost tow surf pioneers, Pierre du Plessis, who passed away early today.
Pierre is believed to have had a heart attack at the gym, where he was found this morning. Fellow surfers say that Pierre was the "kindest, most approachable guy with a gentle soul". He will be sorely missed.
"It is deeply saddening news. Pierre was a stalwart of the surfing community, a fantastic guy with a huge heart. Condolenscenses to his family and friends," said Spike from Wavescape.
Long-time tow partner and close friend for many years Glenn Bee and Du Plessis, along with another good friend Nico Johnson, pioneered tow surfing at Sunset reef using a rubber duck and seven foot six guns in the 1980s.
"What is especially heart-wrenching is that Pierre was at Glenn's side all the way through his recovery from that terrible cycling accident (a drunk motorists slammed into Glenn and a friend while they were cycling, killing the friend, Brian Crabb, instantly)," Spike said.
Pierre, who was known to have had some heart problems in the past, scored cranking 8 foot surf at his beloved Black Rocks on Monday (see attached photos by Simone Robb), a spot far away from Cape Town.
He was an integral part of the evolution of the Red Bull Big Wave Surfing event, and a key member of the safety crews, who included Glenn, Nico, Ross Lindsay, and Greg Bertish among others, including US-based water safety expert Shawn Alladio, who flew to SA over several events to assist in the development of a world class safety system.