South Africa’s surfing icons were honoured in the Surfers’ Circle Walk of Fame on Sunday when tablets commemorating the first 30 inductees who established and developed the sport and lifestyle on the Southern tip of Africa were officially unveiled at Muizenberg in Cape Town.
A selection of Pioneers, Legends and World Champions, ranging from Heather Price, the first South African recorded riding a wave standing on a surfboard at Muizenberg in 1919, to Justin Strong who won the ASP World Pro-Am title in 1991, had their names recorded for posterity in the country’s first national monument dedicated to surfing.
South Africa’s most famous surfing personality, Shaun Tomson, delivered a heartfelt talk of the importance of preserving and promoting surfing’s heritage before fittingly cutting a surfboard leash to open the monument. Tomson is touring the country promoting his book ‘The Code’ and was the 1977 ASP World Champion, has become an author, filmmaker and motivational speaker and is acknowledged as one of the world’s most influential surfers.
Other high-profile inductees in attendance included multiple SA Champion and Springbok team captain in the 1960’s and early ‘70’s, George Thompson, who flew in from England for the occasion; Jeffreys Bay’s Cheron Kraak; 1978 ISA World champ Ant Brodowicz from KZN and Graham Hynes from St Francis Bay, the former owner of Safari Surfboards and arguably the world’s best surfing coach.
After the completion of the public opening ceremony at the monument on the beachfront, the inductees and VIP’s attended a post event function where they were treated to speeches by former local councilor Dave D’Alton, Muizenberg Improvement District’s Chevone Peterson, Surfing South Africa Deputy President Bruce Anderson and former United Surfing Council of South Africa Secretary General, Schani Nagia.
The national monument has been seven years in the making, stemming from the highly successful Surfers Corner 60’s Reunion event in 2010. This was followed by the launch of the Surfer’s Circle Walk of Fame in 2014 when the original 12 Pioneers, three each from Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London were selected.
The SCWOF committee is in the process of forming an NPO to run the project, solicit donations for the ultimate aim of erecting a suitable statue to complement the plaques and to the select the inductees, who will be officially ratified by Surfing South Africa, the national controlling body for the sport.
Surfers’ Circle Walk of Fame
Heather Price Robbie Abrahams
John Whitmore Cecil Whiteman
Dave Meneses Graham Hynes
John Grendon Max Wetteland
John Heath Cheron Kraak
Leo Davis Ant Van Den Heuvel
Bobby Joubert World Champions
Roger Taylor Shaun Tomson
Mike Hornsey Antoni Brodowicz
George Thompson Wendy Botha
Leon ‘Dux’ Coetzee David Malherbe
George Bell Justin Strong