Wavescape Festival Celebrates 20 Years

February 26, 2024
A LOOTA CONTINUA: Brett Murray's boards wield truth to power like no other cultural weapon.

The Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival in Cape Town from 1 to 14 March celebrates its 20th anniversary with a customary selection of ocean activities, the Wavescape Artboard Charity Auction, and several film screenings.

Since its inception in 2004, the Wavescapes Film Festival has morphed into the Wavescape Surf and Ocean Festival, with emphasis on community upliftment, and ocean conservation, while celebrating the aspirational power of surf and beach culture.

Entering its 20th year, a streamlined offering of ocean-focused events include an open air film screening with The Galileo Open Air Cinema and a screening in the Deep South at Scarborough; beach cleanups; a queer surf session; the Wesgro Ocean Film Symposium, and of course the annual flagship Wavescape Artboard Project, comprising an exhibition of artistic surfboards auctioned for ocean charities.

This year, founder of Ferral surfboards and shaper Anton Butler, selected as one of the artists, produced the boards, which are 6' 10" hybrid twin fins. The team of artists - each presented with a board to work with - is spearheaded by veteran Bretty Murray, who once again uses his acerbic wit as a cultural weapon with his board inscribed KLEPTOCRATS: defined as a “rulers who use their power to steal their country's resources”. We all know what that refers to.

Murray’s work is complemented by the inimitable Stefan Smit, who is hot off his work for the inaugural Pangeaseed Foundation’s Sea Walls Mural Project. Smit is joined by a former Wavescape Artboard artist back in the 2000s, Toya (Motel 7), who also created building-sized Sea Walls murals around Cape Town (directed by Wavescape Festival Manager Shani Judes). Joining them is ocean lover and adventurer Jero Revett, who uses the sea as his muse to create artworks that deploy Gyotaku, Cyanotype and Woodcut techniques.

STAR STRUCK: The evening at Kirstenbosch promises to be another special iteration of a Cape Town institution.

Sulette van der Merwe’s Artboard explores intuitive connections between symbolism, with a strong influence of pop art, surrealism and digital culture, while MJ Lourens, a Fine Art Sculpture graduate plays at the intersection between paintings, sculptures and film. Another artist at Wavescape is Hakopike (Amy-Leigh Braaf), who explores the complexities of love through her art - drawing inspiration from the nation's biodiversity, and her ancestral history.

Born in Mamelodi, Kabelo Moraloki works with portraiture and abstract art characterised by bold and bright colours, intricate patterns and Tetris blocks. He is joined by co-founder of the Cape Town institution Moonlight Mass, Elad Kirshenbaum aka One, a qualified architect who uses spray paint and markers used in graffiti and tagging to produce layers and patterns that converge into what he calls Architectural Abstract.

The auction of this rich variety of styles, techniques, and artists takes place at Jack Black’s Taproom on Wednesday 6 March, and will be mc’d by auctioneer and comedian Nik Rabinowitz.

Festival Director Shani Judes said she was proud of Wavescape’s achievements over 20 years, with the Artboard Project at the pinnacle: “Since 2004, we have had a quiver of amazing South African artists who have turned surfboards into art. Our ocean charity auction has raised close to R7 million over the years for entities such as NSRI, Shark Spotters, Ocean Pledge, 9 MilesProject, Waves for Change, and the Beach Co-op. We have helped fund NSRI vessels and helped the Shark Spotters keep surfers and sharks in mostly harmonious cohabitation.”

Wavescape Festival Celebrates 20 Years

Once again Wavescape will partner with the Galileo Open Air Cinema for a screening under the stars at Kirstenbosch. Enjoy picnic treats and refreshments while watching a lineup of two films, Older than Trees, a compelling short documentary about the ancient world of sharks by our own Oscar winning director Pippa Ehrlich, and Point of Change, the riveting true story of how the discovery of the perfect wave changed the Indonesian island of Nias forever.

A unique convergence between the authenticity of surfing and beach lifestyle, and the seriousness of ocean conservation
HEART BOARD: The Wavescape Artboard Project Charity Auction holds a special place in our hearts.

The Deep South Film Festival at the Scarborough Community Centre will see a screening of Stoker Machine and the beautifully filmed Corners of the Earth, set in the remote eastern part of Russia Kamkatchka during the invasion of Ukraine.

Festival Co-founder Spike from Wavescape was proud of the Cape Town institution the festival had become: “Using our unique convergence between the authenticity of surfing and beach lifestyle, and the seriousness of ocean conservation, it’s amazing how such a powerful platform for media advocacy has resonated with ocean minded communities and brands.”

The final event of the festival will be the Wesgro Ocean Film Symposium, which aims to boost early film careers, while curating speakers and demonstrations of film industry proponents. This will be a unique opportunity for filmmakers and producers to network with companies and service providers with a connection to adventure tourism.

Social media influencer and podcaster Steve Shooter will be generating content on aspects of the festival and participants through episodes of his series Shredding the Gnar.

Our poster was designed by Yeye Weller from Germany. Resplendent in quirky creatures and a comic character on a wave, the work celebrates ocean spirit and the joy of surfing (Betty Boop meets Popeye). Weller's unique style brings a sense of fun and whimsy to the fest this year. Thanks to our festival partners: Save Our Seas Foundation, Petco, Jack Black Beer, and Wesgro.

2024 Lineup

Fri 1 March: Outdoor screening at Galileo open air cinema
Mon 26 Feb to Wed 6 March: Artboards up at Jack Black’s Taproom
Wed 6 March: Artboard Charity Auction at Jack Black's Tap Room
Thur 7 March: Deep South Films, Scarborough Community Centre
Sat 9 March: Beach Cleanup and Queer Surf Session, Muizenberg
Wednesday 13 March: Wesgro Ocean Film Symposium, The Wave


Book for Artboard Auction and Scarborough Deep South Festival HERE
Get tickets for Galileo Outdoor screening HERE