The cult of surfboard cool
Fish Fry celebrates craft, sustainability of true eco-friendly surfing
90 percent of all blanks made in America, and a significant chunk of the global market. There were real fears of a production catastrophe.
His nickname, Grubby, was a perfect fit. He was cofounder of the polyurethane foam board – which is dirty work. The sudden collapse of his business forced the world to rethink surfboards.
Inevitably, other foam companies sprang up.
Competitors ramped up production. But the push to find alternative materials, such as different woods, or less environmentally sensitive plastics or carbon derivatives, grew into an international movement.
Today, wooden surfboards and the use of the finless alaias and other ancient Hawaiian craft, has grown rapidly, in parallel I guess to the growth of the hipster demographic, represented by roll-up pants, single- speed bicycles and gluten-free quiche.
You’re cool if you own a wooden surfboard or learn how to make your own. This weekend two events celebrate the cult of surfboard cool.
The Wavescape Fish Fry celebrates the craft side of surfboard making, with local board makers such as WaWa and Burnett Wooden Surfboards putting their boards on display at the Blue Bird Garage in Muizenberg, and in the case of Burnett, demonstrating the much more gruelling ( in labour and cost) process of going from raw wood to the polished work of art that you can go surfing with.
The Fish is a surfboard shape, and the Fish Fry – a global concept – was originally a used surfboard market.
However, the Cape Town version adds something a little different. During the afternoon at the Blue Bird Garage in Muizenberg, the board market will take place, but as dusk approaches, the WWF’s South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) brings in two Ultimate Braai Master teams to compete against each other using only sustainable seafood.
Surfers – who know their fish boards from the edible kind – will judge the two teams, Rust and Dust (runners up of Season One) and Smoke, Sweat & Tears, who recently were culled from Season Two. Proceeds of the event go to the Waves For Change programme.
The party continues later with a band and music by Catherine Grenfell from 5fm.
In a sign that the arty, crafty side of surfing is growing, another event takes place in Kommetjie tomorrow with similar aims.
The first annual Kommetjie Boardswop at the Primary School Hall sees a used surfboard and skateboard swop, followed by tarp surfing, music by Farryl Purkiss and other artistic endeavours, including a Switchfoot movie premiere.
Funds from this event go towards getting local surfers to the 2014 world surfing championships.
Even surfers can be hipsters.
THE SUP set congregates this Thursday, December 5, at the Waterfront Canals for a charity Standup Paddle event hosted by Oceanriders, Coreban and SUP Cape Town. Bring R25 and a wrapped present (stating “boy” or “girl”) for a child in need at Red Cross Hospital this Christmas. Paddle starts at 6.15pm – a 1.5km fun paddle to the One & Only Hotel and back. Boerie rolls and refreshments on sale and prizes to be won.
ELEVEN surfboards have gone on display at Superette in Woodstock where they will hang until Wednesday December 4 when they will be auctioned by comedian Rob van Vuuren. Brett Murray, Roger Ballen, Mikhael Subotzky, Alice Edy and Manuela Gray are among the artists whose work will be sold to aid ocean charities. One board has been wrapped in cattle hide to make it look like a Zulu shield. Conn Bertish calls his board “a cultural weapon”. See www.wavescapefestival.com
STIFF southeasters blow this weekend. Today there is a lot of south in the wind, which gusts to near gale- force. Tomorrow it blows in more of a straight SE direction, making it more off-shore for the west side of the peninsula. It blows a steady 25 knots, so a little less severe than the Cape Doctor today.
The swell looks good on both days, with solid 4’ lines building to 5’ or more by this evening, with 4-5’ surf continuing on the beach breaks tomorrow.
@WWFSASSI the sustainable seafood people will help you make the right choice about whether the seafood you consume is listed as sustainable. Send adventure news to: firstname.lastname@example.org Spike is the founder of wavescape.co.za Twitter: @spike_wavescape Facebook: WavescapeSA