The South African surf scene in the 1950’s started with a handful of laid back salty surfers jamming on their retro log surfboards. This fast propelled itself into a lifestyle trend many aspired to live by.
International surf mag’s and movies began arriving on our shorelines as surfers quickly picked up on the new trends. Homemade baggies became standard surfing gear as local surfers began emulating their heroes from across the sea.
In 1964 Australia sent out an international invite to the first World Surfing Championships. This inaugural event set the worlds surfing wheels in motion and opened its doors to competitive surfing on a global scale.
Surfing Legend has it… Safari surfboard pioneers Max Wettland, Harry Bold and Baron Stander received a letter from Australia asking for the name of the South African Surfing Champion.
A Surfing Champion? Surfing at that stage was not even an organized sport. The three friends pulled at straws to decide who would be competing at the distinguished event. It was Max who made history and set off in 1964 to the World Championships at Manly Beach Australia!
In 1965 surfers in South Africa formed a governing body named Surfing South Africa. The timing could not have been more perfect. As surfing continued to trend across the globe, South African surfers and our country’s waves were at the forefront of the movement.
Endless Summer’s film release put us on the map with the East Coast, fast becoming the bucket list destination for surfers worldwide.
Five decades later Surfing South Africa is proudly celebrating its golden year after hosting the 50th South African Championships!
As a South African surfer you can be honored in knowing that your part of the tribe to have produced thirty World Champions and six team World Titles since 1965. I know I will certainly be riding my next wave in celebration of our country’s great surfing history!