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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa
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Thu, 29 November 2018

Surfer comedian Nik Rabinowitz was on top form last night when he worked a crowd of 200 at Jack Black's Taproom for a record R782,000 at the Wavescape Artboard Project auction.


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FULL HOUSE: Some of the old order had gone, but the new school was there. Photo Leah Rolando


Rabinowitz regaled the crowd with acerbic humour at the working brewery in Diep River while stealthily disgorging their wallets of cash and credit, with 11 surfboards sold for ocean charities.

A balmy Cape Town summer’s evening presided over the event, with up to 250 members of the surfing and art community socialising in an informal gathering as part of the Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival, which includes beach cleanups, film screenings, and ocean talks and other subsidiary ocean events. Proceeds of the auction go to coastal charities such as the NSRI, 9Miles Project, Beach Co-op, Shark Spotters, Ocean Pledge and South African Adaptive Surfing.

The debut by Eric Karangwa, a former car guard from Constantia who came to Cape Town from Rwanda after he fled the war, secured R33,000 for his vertical landscape near Greyton. Karangwa is sponsored by the Art Society of South Africa and exhibits at Kirstenbosch Gardens with his mentor, Andrew Cooper.

A bidder paid R46,000 for the board also on debut by acclaimed South African artist Sue Williamson. Rabinowitz played down the fame of many of the artists, suggesting that while Williamson may have work in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tate Modern in London, she must have been thrilled to know her work was on show in Diep River.

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SPEAKING TURTLE: Nik got Maryke Musson from the Two Oceans on the stage. Photo Rolando


The highest paid board was Andrew Sutherland's double sided board depicting a night sky, which went for R105,000. Next was Kirsten Beets' board - an artwork depicting minutely detailed people swimming and wading in the ocean, which went for R102,000.

Lionel Smit was next, with R100,000 paid for his sketchy profile of a large female face. Smit's board last year fetched a whopping R120,000, which came behind the work by Kirsten Sims, which sold for R130,000 last year - a record for the auction that stands today.

Ruby Swinney created a bright turquoise board showing a shark caught in the tendrils of a jellyfish and a turtle painted in the likeness of Yoshi - a rehabilitated turtle recently released from the Two Oceans Aquarium after living there for 20 years. Swinney even recreated the ding (in the turtle, not the board as Rabinowitz pointed out, flouting his grasp of surfing jargon).

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NEVER AGAIN AGAIN: Spike tries to work out the mean of Brett Murray's board. Photo Rolando


Rabinowitz, in between his rapid-fire auctioning - a satirical dig at professional auctioneers, would suddenly stop the bidding to regale the audience with strange stories of no relevance at all to the evening. At one point, though, he called up Maryke Musson, head of the Two Oceans Aquarium, who gave us a rundown on Yoshi the turtle, who has clocked up 8,300 km over the 342 days she was released from the Aquarium after spending her whole life there.

When bidding resumed, Rabinowitz had boosted Swinney's board to a final price of R85,000. Brett Murray, who has the distinction of not only being one of South Africa's most well known artists but also of being the most represented artist over the 15 years of the Wavescape Artboard Project's existence, was present to watch his board sell for R70,000.

His board was painted simply, with the words NEVER AGAIN AGAIN, a satirical flip at the way Mandela's words in his first speech in a new democratic South Africa have been subverted to the need for a new democracy free of corruption.

The crafted wooden surfboard that was made by youth from the 9Miles Project under the mentorship of Patrick Burnett Wooden Surfboards sold for R70,000, which will go a long way towards the organisation acquiring a mini-van to transport the members of the programme to the beach for surfing therapy.

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HAPPY CAMPERS: Buyers, board artist and organisers have a moment afterwards. Photo Rolando


The distinctive modern art piece by Paul Senyol sold for R65,000, while the board by Chris Slabber, which resembled the contour lines of a geographical map crossed with isobaric lines in a low pressure storm, sold for R46,000.

The last two boards were a potplant by Swain Hoggervorst and a sculptured work by Chris Soal who is famous for using found objects, in this case thickets of toothpicks dug into the board, which sold for R24,000 and R36,000 respectively.

The Wavescape festival continues with the launch of a book by former pro surfer John McCarthy at Rolling Wood in Muizenberg tomorrow, a beach cleanup on Saturday afternoon, the famous outdoor screening at Clifton 4th Beach on Saturday when the sun goes down, followed by Slide Night at the Centre for the Book on Monday 3 December. You can book for this popular evening of 10 minute talks by ocean thought leaders at Quicket here http://qkt.io/s11QNE.

The film festival moves indoors from the 6 to 9 December at the Labia with two screenings a day, at 1815 and 2015. Other activities include a Filmmakers' Masterclass which focuses on documentary filmmaking, which is free, and a breath-hold swimming course.

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DIGITAL ART: Eric Karangwa takes a photo of the lineup of art surfboards. Photo Rolando


About the Wavescape Surf & Ocean Festival

Takes place Cape Town between 12 November and 9 December 2018 with favourites the Artboard Project, Clifton Beach Screening, Slide Night, Film Festival and Filmmakers’ Master Class. The 2018 iteration includes world premiere of Satori Film, a Cape Town big wave surfing documentary; launch of The Sexy, Ugly, Beautifuls book with John McCarthy; the Spike Swell Course; Big Wave Night & Exhibition; and Beach Co-op Beach Clean-up. All proceeds from Artboard go to ocean beneficiaries NSRI, Waves for Change, Shark Spotters, 9Miles Project, Ocean Pledge, Beach Co-op and South African Adaptive Surfing. Last year’s art auction raised R772,000. The highest priced board by Kirsten Sims fetched R130,000. The Festival headline partner is Jack Black Beer. Supporting partners are Wesgro, Vans, Marine Stewardship Council, Petco, Long Beach Capital, Gone, Mami Wata, York Surf, and Zigzag. Thanks also to The Bay Hotel in Camps Bay.

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Programme 2018

Mon 12-19 Nov: Big Wave Surfboard Exhibition, Jack Black’s Taproom
Thu 15 Nov: 6.30pm, Big Wave Night w/ Cape big wave surfers, Jack Black's Taproom
Mon 19-28 Nov: Artboard Project Exhibition, Jack Black's Taproom (11 surfboards)
Wed 28 Nov: 7pm, Artboard Auction with Nik Rabinowitz, Jack Black's Taproom
Thu 22 Nov: 6.30pm, forecaster Spike Swell Course, Sports Science Institute
Sat 24 Nov: From 6pm, premiere Satori Film (documentary), Jack Black's Taproom
Fri 30 Nov: 7pm, book launch, Sexy Ugly Beautifuls, with John McCarthy, Rolling Wood
Sat 1 Dec: 3pm, Beach Co-op beach clean-up and beach activation, Queens Beach
Sat 1 Dec: 8pm, Outdoor Film Night, Clifton 4th Beach
Mon 3 Dec: 7pm, Slide Night, Centre for the Book
Wed 5 Dec: 6.30pm, Masterclass for developing filmmakers, InvestSA One Stop Shop
Thu 6-9 Dec: 6.15pm / 8.15pm, surfing and ocean films, Labia Cinema
Sat 1-2 Dec, Sat 8-9 Dec: Swim Free Confidence courses with John McCarthy

More details: www.wavescapefestival.com
Book tickets: http://qkt.io/s11QNE

Social Media: Instagram and Twitter @WavescapeSA
Facebook.com/WavescapeFestival

#WavescapeFestival #BigWaveNight #ArtboardProject #ArtboardAuction #SatoriFilm #SlideNight #SpikeSwellCourse #SexyUglyBeautifuls #WesgroMasterClass #Clifton4thfilmnight #BeachCleanup #Surffilmfestival #LabiaCinema #Surffilms #jackblackbeer

@jackblackbeer @jackblackstaproom @petco1ispet @york.surf @gone_outdoor @vans66_za @zigzagsurf @mamiwatasurf @wesgro @nsristation26kommejie @sharkspotters @thebeachco_op @oceanpledge @9milesproject @adaptivesurfingsouthafrica @wavesforchange



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