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Mon, 13 January 2020

No foul play is suspected in the death of Cape Town surfboard shaper Ryan Smith who died in mysterious circumstances on the weekend, writes Spike.


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OCEANS: Ryan Smith's life was driven by passion for the ocean. Photo Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash


smithySmith, or Smithy as he was affectionately known to a wide network of friends, was found in his apartment on Saturday, according to his brother Donovan in a post on Facebook.

"Ryan arrived at home on Friday evening at about 20:30 without his motorbike. The neighbour let him into the complex and noticed blood on him. They did ask if he was ok and if they could help. Ryan said he was okay," the post read.

"(The) neighbour then knocked on his door again to see if they could help. Ryan said he was fine. He was not seen on Saturday and was not answering or posting so the police were called. His phone, wallet and ID have all gone missing. They broke down the door and have now opened a murder docket."

However, in a later post by Donovan, police had ascertained that the wounds inflicted by Smithy were self inflicted, particularly the potentially fatal one he sustained in a fall, and that his phone, wallet and ID had been found. In the original post, Donovan had urged people to come forward with information about Smithy's whereabouts on Friday afternoon. Several people responded to say they had seen him at the Lighthour Bar & Grill in Kommetjie until 20:40 when a friend put him in an Uber to go home.

Known for his whacky, offbeat humour Smythy was a surfboard shaper who ran the African Surfriders Foundation, a NPO formed in 2010 to assist the community of Masiphumele and Ocean View, and to conduct awareness campaigns and beach cleanups for the eradication of plastic pollution in the ocean.

According to the bio on his website, he started shaping surfboards at school and "won the Fair Lady Liberty Life Business Start Up award and went on to building a successful surf fashion brand. His I was sitting on my board in this polluted, litter-strewn toxic souppassion for the ocean developed at an early age and came of age as he travelled the world surfing and learning from some of the finest surfboard shapers in the world. Hawaii, Australia and Bali are some of his favourite surfing destinations but he can still be seen surfing the local waves, when he’s not cleaning litter or shaping surfboards. His first trip to Indonesia woke him up to the state of pollution in what should have been a pristine coastal environment."

“The most beautiful beaches in the world and I was sitting on my board in this polluted, litter-strewn toxic soup ... watching tourists swimming through waste washed up onto the coastline from ships and other countries ... I became really angry and felt I had to do something so I initiated clean ups in the Barunghs, encouraging the locals to clean up what they found lying on the beach and in the water, and it worked!” he is quoted as saying on the website.

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