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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Thu, 8 March 2018

The surf was small, but later it went mental for record crowds and entries at the Rolling Retro near Cape Town, writes Spike. Photos Ian Thurtell & Oliver de Bruin


OH MY HAT: As the day wore on, the sets began to arrive to hoots of stoke. Photo Ian Thurtell

Looking at the surf from the Llandudno lifesaver's area on Sunday, you would have thought there was no reason to run a surfing event that involved riding waves. It was flat.

But Kai Linder and Robbie McDonald, who founded the event in the interests of finding a way to get Robbie's epic antique board collection up and riding, knew the score. So they chucked in the loggers first with the opening heat at 9am.

They posted: "We dont want you guys and gals having to pull off Mike Grendon vibes on giant waves on a Whitmore that weighs more than your car."


STYLE MAESTRO: Michael Grendon made this heavy antique log sing. Photo @odebruinphotography

It worked out perfectly. As the crowds grew, so did the swell. At first some 2-3' sets, then a few 4 footers. By the final two heats of the day, it was going gangbusters.

There were plenty "woohoo" moments as surfer after surfer pulled into gaping pits, only to (usually) come spitting out with the spray, knees bent and arms akimbo.

Last year’s best surfer Dale Staples didn't need sunscreen. He spent most of the day in the shade of the tube. Mike Grendon surfed both shifts in the morning when the surf was small, and in the arvi when it was cooking.

He came out grizzled and grinning with the prize for the best logger under his belt. Grendon showed the beach just how you ride a monstrous 1960’s single fin barge by one of the founding fathers of SA surfing Oom John Whitmore.


NEW AND OLD: The lighteys scoop up some of that old school to take for a spin. Photo Ian Thurtell

Josh Brodie, who hooked what must have been the deepest tube of the day, got the Best Tube award, of course.

The throngs threaded their way through the shady patch of the Llandudno club, where all many of beautiful retro boards were on display, a sort of living museum. The coolest thing was that entrants could then select one from the quiver, and take it for a spin.

There were queues when lesser surfers wanted to ride a board they'd just seen sliding through the green room. Some found that unlike Billy's magic boots, the trick lies in the skill, not your equipment.


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