"On behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders family, we would like to congratulate Johnny Bakker on being elected as the new President for Surfing South Africa.
Johnny, your enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to the sport of Surfing is really appreciated by the district in which you reside. Since you first joined EP Surfing in 2008 you have been a hard working, hands on, loyal and a positive member of our Executive committee. For the past couple of years, you have been part of the SSA Board and we as NMB Surfriders, are proud of the work you do nationally.
You truly deserve this and we know you will continue to head SSA together with your Board of Directors and General Manager, in a successful and professional manner to ensure that Surfing continues to grow in SA.
Congratulations and Good Luck – you have made us very proud !!!!!!!"
ML - Yip, no doubting Johnny has served both EP and SA Surfing way and beyond the call of duty. Ou is dedicated beyond belief and puts plenty of hours in behind the scenes, making the missions to ensure everything runs smoothly. Well deserved appointment!
Everyone owes him a wave (or ten!)
Thursday was the day. Absolutely perfect conditions, hardly a breathe of wind, coupled with some super fun lil waves coming through. There were some lully periods, but for the most part there were really lekker waves. Just had to apply a bit of lateral thinking when the spring highs killed off the normal spots.
Not to be outdone by the waves, the sunset decided to put on it's best show of the year. Ou's reckoned they nearly rear-ended cars they were so busy checking out the spectacular display. For all the challenges of Africa, nothing can beat our sunsets.
Rincon local Gavin Rother has been having a blast on his new twin finned mini-simmons, and decided to see how it handled something a bit meatier than the usual PE lumps n bumps. Looking like it didn't mind the Car Park section at Supers at all.
On the subject of meaty - Lippie's new board is glassed and ready to go. Be afraid, be very afraid! Nothing like having Big Dave bearing down on you to part the line-up like the Red Sea. That...or stay put and get sliced in half. Ou's wondering when he's gonna get a paddle for it.....
(8ft x 26 1/4 x 4 1/4!)
Steve Sawyer had a lekker gig at the Roof Garden Bar on Wednesday night. Local longboard style-meister Dean Simpson on drums, and Chaim Simmons kicking in (showing he has tunes as well as tube-ability). Plenty of amazing local musical talent in the Eastern Cape.
Ricky Bobby had the chance to get funky on Mick Fannings home-made sled during the week. Looks like a heap of fun with those keel fins and massive channel. Probably over-clock the speedo on your Search watch for sure.
Ex-PE'ian Garth Venter snapped this shot of a rad coffee cup in West Aus. Looks like not only do they have good surf in WA, they like to stick it on their coffee as well. Nice! Donovan McLagen - reckon Urban Express should start doing cups like this!?
Weather looking laaaaaank hectic for the start of the week. Be interesting to see if it does actually klap us as badly as predicted. Weather peeps have over-called a few systems this year, so wait n see. A big front from the west bonks into a big front from the east, and may result in some cut-ff low mayhem. If the winds just play ball could be some really good waves too! East groundswell is a precious thing!
Saw this pop up on my newsfeed during the week. Jacques Ferreira snapped a classic kid's book - cos hey, how could you not want your lighties to learn their ABC's from a surfing raccoon!! Not sure if available in SA, but zip over to Fogarty's in Walmer Park and they should be able to order one for you (and grab Hagen Engler's new book whilst you there too!) Suddenly bed-time reading to the groms won't be such a schlep!
Pokeman Go has everyone's attention this week. He was even spotted at Surf Centre, Josh Kidd got to give him a pat on the head! Haven't spotted any on the beach yet - so shoot us a pic if you catch one there!
Finally got the Hilti and nails out and popped up our 2 lekker paintings by JBay surf artist Stephen van der Walt up in the lounge. Lekker to have some bright waves up, at least get to look at surf even if there isn't any out the front window!
At least winter threw us a bone this week, as Thursday didn't disappoint. Here's hoping it keeps up the good work and gives us more waves this week.
Another flattish week in the bay, with winter still in hiding somewhere. At least a decent lil swell popped up on Saturday morning so the ou's could finish the JBay Open.
As usual the swell size increased incrementally the further west you drove. Dylan Lightfoot took the opportunity to bust out some big airs, and test the shock absorption capabilities of his knee joints. Joys of being young and having bendy bones still.
Mick was no doubt stoked with the victory at Jbay, probably went a long way to putting his demons from last year's encounter to rest. Nothing like a win to erase bad memories. He seems to be surfing so much better now that the pressures off and he's just in it for the jol this year. He'll only be surfing select events during the year as is taking a bit of a year off.
Plenty of PE guy's made the mission up the coast to go watch the world's best surfers doing their thing. CarPark John and hos mate Chris were strolling back up the beach after a surf when 2 ou's came up to ask them for their picture (or was it the other way around!?) John being a Kelly fan asked the other ou who he was. Um, Mick Fanning, your current world champ, maybe!? John reckons the tshirt on the head confused him!
Bit of nostalgia during the week. Back to the glory days of surf shops in Rink Street, this time looking at Beachbreak, and how it's history from Main Street via Rink street and finally RUssel Rd & Greenacres. Neil Dorward and Chappy Adshade taking us on the trip down memory lane. Check it out here:
Some more lekker art coming outta Jbay. Stevo is doing some epic stuff with his posca pens and paint. If you have a blank spot on your wall this is the best way to fill it up for sure. Check out his gallery at the Core Surf shop, plus he does custom stuff too, so just tune him what you want.
The charts aren't looking too exciting for the coming week, so no doubt Neptune must be storing up all his energy for something pretty damn epic when he finally decides to unleash it on us!
Neil Dorward started Lifestyle Surf & Skate shop downtown in Peel Street (just off Govan Mbeki) back in 1976. Borrowing R500 bucks from his dad to do it. The only other “surf shop” around at that stage was Sandy’s; which might have been called “The Surf Shop” actually. It had moved from town into the Elizabeth Hotel by that stage and Neil felt there was a gap in the market for a hard-core surf shop so he decided to open his own.
He’d met Tich Paul (owner of Lifestyle surf shop in Muizies) at SA Champs a bunch of times, so when he started out he partnered with Tich as a shareholder/advisor, so that’s where the Lifestyle name actually came from. The original Lifestyle in Cape Town is still going strong.
Neil was good mates with Cheron, so got some of her Country Feeling good’s on consignment for his new shop, buying shell shirts, cord shorts and boardies for about R5.50 a pop, and selling them for R10.50! Lifestyle was Cheron’s and Country Feeling's first retail outlet.
They stocked boards by Larry Levine and Kenny Freeland (Faith), wetsuits from Reef and Zero, those were the pre-leash days, so none of that yet. Mike Larmont (Ripcurl) and Andy Thysman (JBay Ugg boots) were also early suppliers. Plenty of skateboards in stock, with sales helped by Turtle Morris and Dennis de Silva starting a local skateboard club.
After about 3 years Neil moved to 10 Main Street – opposite City Hall. Greg Smith recalls the early days "I started working at the only REAL surf shop in town, Lifestyle, when it was still in Main Str, and the smell of resin filled the air, as we used to fix boards in the cellar below the shop. Lefty was manager then, he would "charf" the meter-maids who would regularly pop in for a chat."
Steven Adshade (aka Chappy) was still a lightie and used to come hang around after school and his first job was to empty the bins! He used to catch the bus home from Grey School and had to connect to the Bluewater Bay one in town, so Lifestyle was en-route home.
Chappy takes up the story:
“I flunked most subjects in my first year at UPE in 1983. I clearly remember Supers being pretty good that season, or was it The Point?! I was on a “You pass, I pay” scholarship from my dad that first year so needed to find a job. I’d started hanging out at Lifestyle whilst still at school, emptying the dustbin until they felt obliged to offer me a part time job!
Neil Dorward owned the store and Tanya Weschta (Karl’s sister) was the manager. Wayne Emslie, Gavin Macaulay, Grant Myrdal and a few other skollies also use to work there. Trevor Hansen took over from Tanya as manager a little while later. We used to close up shop at 5, drive though to Jbay, surf til dark, then sleep in the car or any empty house we could find. Would wake up for the dawnie and then get back to the store to open at 9. Repeat until the swell dropped. Life in surf retail was pretty easy back then!
Ant Voster was the rep for Instinct, old man Kemp was the Bear rep.
I didn’t do much better at my 2nd attempt at UPE so went to Kimberley to become an officer and fight the good fight. Luckily managed to get relocated to EP Command in my 2nd year of National Service and also finally finished my accounting degree.”
Neil opened Beachbreak Surf & Sail in 1981, on the corner of Rink Street and Robson in Central (it’s a Nigerian café these days!) He had secured the agency in SA for the original windsurfer, so Beachbreak was a core windsurfing shop, also focusing on outdoor stuff. Vincent Davis, ex 'Summies Ironman and big wave charger, used to run the store. The shots below are of his 21st. Check out the surf fashion!
“Windsurfing had just started and then and every farmer and his dog wanted one so we made hay! Instinct, Gotcha, Bear were the 3 big brands, we could never get enough stock of the Instinct reversible jacket. Dayglo was cool, twin fins ruled until Simon Anderson arrived on the scene. Lippy was the main board supplier from Jbay, with his Seaflight brand, followed later by Local Motion, Glen D’Arcy, Wedge, Country Rhythm and Safari” said Chappy.
Suntrax, another windsurfing/Hobie Cat shop run by Brian Wilson, was also in Rink Street over the road from Beachbreak, so it was shopper’s dream walking up and down the strip hustling for deals.
Ocean’s moved from their Kine Park possie across the road to the corner of Rink Street and Park Drive in about ‘86, and Chappy joined Neil full time and opened the new Lifestyle in Kine Park. Carl Van Vuuren (Arno Lane’s brother) and Greg Smith (Tall Greg) used to run the store. Hagen Engler remembers working there for R2 an hour, and was saving his hard earned cash like a beast cos he wanted to go on a surf trip overseas!
Th ou's reckoned that Lifestyle had one of the biggest selection of sunglasses in town. Cool Rays were in, and Vuarnet was King. Smiler Smith chips in "And Espadrilles! Those funky Spanish slippers. Kept on marking them down but if I sold one pair it was cause for celebration....They were truly hideous! And Neil had bought tons of them."
Hagen recalls "Still remember when grass fedora hats first became fashionable, but they were impossible to get. I saw entrepreneurship at work. Turns out fedoras are actually quite similar to farmer's hats. Chappy sent us down to the farmers co-op in North End to buy all their stock of farmers hats. By the time they arrived back at Lifestyle, they were fedoras and they were all sold out in, like, a day!"
Oceans, which was now over the road had the Erasmus twins (Leofwin and Justin) as the main guys there, with Mrs B as kingpin. Chappy reckoned it was total warfare between the two shops! Arno Lane remembers at one stage Nick Pike, who was managing Lifestyle in town, thought ou’s weren’t taking him seriously enough, and started coming to work in a suit!
Neil and Chappy then decided to 'move west' and opened BeachStyle in the original Greenacres (between where Clicks and Edgars are today); which they thought at the time was a huge risk. Chappy remembers calling Neil one evening after a busy day saying “We could have sold second-hand underpants!” The rails were bare and they were scratching for stock before Christmas.
Lumo was in. Gotcha, Bear and Instinct were the big labels. The reversible Instinct jackets sold like hot cakes. Shaun Tomson boards were in the racks. Country Feeling was growing, and the surf market was firing.
Rink Street was slowing down and Neil had spotted a building in Russel Rd that he thought was a good buy, so after renovating it the guys closed BeachBreak in Rink St and moved it to the Russel Rd premises, whilst still keeping Lifestyle in Kine Park. The new shop stocked surf gear, but was also became the first mountain bike shop in Africa. Legend Turtle Morris came on board to run the surf side of the shop for many years.
The windsurfing industry had crashed in the early 80's, mainly due to the rigs becoming too expensive. Following this, a lot of the windsurfers went over from sailing to triathlon, which was just coming into its own as a sport. Beachbreak started up a division selling triathlon wetsuits and time-trial bikes. Gavin Vos, a keen surfer, was working at Beachbreak at the time and headed up the bike department.
In 1989 Chappy and Neil went over to the States on a fact-finding mission looking for new product opportunities. Mountain biking was big over there, although Neil remembers at the time thinking “Why would you want to ride in the bush?” Neil bought an 18-speed ‘fat tire’ off-road bicycle that he saw on display at a booth at a surf retail show whilst over there. He thought, "Hey, cool, a big BMX bike with gears!" Not realising mountain biking would become what it is today.
They brought it back to South Africa and gave it to Gavin to ride to work at Beachbreak every day. There was so much interest from people that they decided to start importing Wheeler and Cats mountain bikes. Despite things not taking off with a bang (their first few bikes sat on the shop floor for months before getting sold) a lot of the guys that were surfing began riding mountain bikes when there was no surf – and that's how it grew. Probably helped by the fact that there’s often “no surf” in PE!
And that’s how the first South African mountain bike company got started. Gavin came on board as a partner, and together with Neil and Chappy grew what was a surf shop into Beachbreak Pro MTB & Adventure Centre . They also started up the first MTB club called Fat Tracks, which is still going today. Together with fellow bikers Robbie Powell and Brandon Els, they started the 'Beachbreak Summer Series' MTB events which then led to the first national event called the Sedgefield Fat Tire Festival.
Never one’s to sit still, Neil and Chappy moved Radical Sports from Greenacres to the Bridge a few years later and also opened Eyeswise, a sunglasses boutique, upstairs at The Bridge. Oceans had by then also moved into in the mall and it was Round Two of the surf shops wars.
The glory days of surf retail started to fade as the big chain stores muscled in on the surf industry. After many successful years together, the guys all moved on to doing their own things. Neil left retail and went into importing and wholesaling Schwinn bikes, Chappy took up the opportunity to head up Oakley Africa and Gavin ended up in Taiwan where he now owns a premier bike components manufacturer called Spank (he'd gone to the Taiwan Bike Show with Neil and whilst there was offered a job with Wheeler, and never came home!)
No-one will ever forget the hey-day of Rink Street surf shops. Ou’s hustling for the best deals cos competition was rife. When you could cruise the strip collecting surf stickers. The Catchit one’s were my best. Made a lekker cover for my geometry-box-turned-pencil-case.
Lumo was in. Life was good. Surfing ruled. And still does.
Thanks to Neil and Chappy for their input. All the shots and clipping are from their albums.
A few days of decent surf during the week. The Jbay Open kicked off on Wednesday with some cooking surf despite the wind and squalls. Throw in a few rainbows and all's good!
As always the waves and the surfing take centrestage at the Open, but if you keep your eye's peeled around the fringes you end up with some funny shots of the ou's. Like Kai and Kerzy sharing a tender moment (more like a handshake with the left hand that just got snapped at the perfect time - but rumor and conjecture are so much more fun!)
With plenty of points at stake the guys tend to push their final moves to the limit, which see's 'em end up close to the bricks. Sometimes they end up on the bricks. Kolohe learning that mussels are not soft and cuddly.
Winter never disappoints with it's propensity for epic sunrises and sunsets. As usual, this week was no different. Pink, red and orange hues book-ended the day from start to finish.
Always good to do a bit of celeb hunting and grab some shots of the legends. The PE crew were stoked to hook up with Matt McGillivray at the Ripcurl signing, and noticed some dude off to the left who looked like he wanted to be in the shot. Sorry Gabe, you're no match for Matt in the local celeb stakes!
Wanting to see things from all angles means eye's in the sky. The drones buzzing about seemed to be annoying the local seagull population, who took offence to the noisy critters in their airspace.
JJF might fly high, but ain't no match for this ou who flew by. One step up the food chain from drones and gulls for sure.
Shot to St Francis local Crystal Hulett, who took top honours in the premier U18 Division of the Quiksilver JBay Junior Pro at Magnatubes over the weekend.
Our lil stretch of coast is often referred to as the Sunshine Coast. Now you know why!
All sorts of things wash up, including this big-ass diamond squid that Jörg Brand found washed up at Sards on Friday arvo. Some enterprising ou's had already cut the tentacles off so no doubt someone's chowing a calamari feast tonight!
Joburg Boardriders head honcho and ex EL local Nathan Gernetsky had a few heart-stopping moments at QBay on Thursday. During a solo sesh a 4m white circled him and then bumped him off his board. Thankfully it was just sussing him out, but terrifying nonetheless. Nathan made it safely back to shore, shaken but not stirred!
Helloooooo winter, you finally arrived! Better late than never. The swell arrived on Friday, but it's good mate, the gale-force westerly came with it. Which meant unless you liked the challenge of getting repetitively bounced off your board by man-sized chop, then you were resigned to sit and watch and wish for the wind to bogger-off.
Which it did, on Saturday. The bay still had some morning sickness which extended into lunch sickness, but by mid arvo it had sorted itself out and there were a few bombs around. CarPark John for once got his timing spot-on, and paddled out after a 30 min lull and hooked straight into the wave of the day. The ou's out there made sure that there were enough shouts of encouragement to make sure he went for it.
JBay was pretty stellar. Supers doesn't get much better than that. It also meant that everyone and the kitchen sink was out there having a go. Crowds were pretty thick thanks to school and varsity hols, and plenty of visiting surfers and pro's thanks to the JBay Open starting this Wednesday.
Unfortunately it wasn't only Supers that was on fire, a fire sadly also gutted the Billabong warehouse on Thursday evening. Flipping terrible timing with the Jbay Winterfest about to kick off. The Bong guys are on the ball, and will be getting more stock in from overseas asap. Wishing them well for the clean-up operations.
Besides delivering epic surf, winter also managed to deliver some seriously plummeting temperatures. PE recorded it's coldest day in 8 years on Thursday morning, with just 0.5C on the thermometer. Ou's were reporting that car windscreens in the canal area of SF had iced up over night.
Stanley Badger had forgotton his wettie outside over-night and quickly decided the dawnie was not going to be an option if you first had to crack the ice off your suit before getting into it.
Someone who's scoring the perfect combo of cooking surf AND warm water is PE's Carl Walton, who's over in Maldives at the moment with his wife n grom. Looks like he's having a kak time hey!?
Maldives might be paradise but it isn't without it's own issues as well. The government has for some inexplicable reason decided to build a moerse expensive bridge from the main island across to the airport island, which will effectively destroy Male's best waves, the only surf spots accessible to most of the local population. Kak when the bigwigs don't give a sh*t about surf spots. Money always wins unfortunately.
Mid-week saw the funny bones being tickled. Ex-Pe surfer and author Hagen Engler was in town to launch his new book, The Maid's Room (which includes surfing among other things). Fellow PE surfer and very funny human, Gino Fabbri, was decked out deliciously in her/his favourite pimping pink mini-dress to MC the evening. You can grab a copy of Hagen's book at Fogarty's in Walmer Park, and it should also be available on Kindle soon.
Went to drop someone off at the airport over the weekend and spotted these dude's pulling in to unload their stuff. Pretty impressive when the pile of boards on the car is almost bigger than the car. Christie made a classic comment when he suggested "Uber!?" Know you know why you shouldn't buy end-of-lease rental cars....
Everyone loves aloes, cos when they bloom you know winter's here and the waves should be on the way. Well, the aloes delivered this week. Keep it up ou's!