Paying tribute to the boards of old…

KARL BERGEMANN

As the beach began to fill up all eyes were on the waves and one could just imagine a wry smile on event organiser and MC Kai Linder’s face, as a 10-year journey came to fruition for the seventh instalment of the competition.

“Rolling Retro began 10 years ago when myself and Robby McDonald, owner of Vudu Surf, were chatting with local surfer, Andrew “Roosta” Lange, about wanting to host an event in Llandudno that would raise funds for the lifesaving club.

“Robby has an incredible retro surfboard collection and we decided it would be awesome to allow people to surf them in a fun and non-competitive event. The event has now been held seven times after we took three years off while I was living in Kommetjie,” said Linder, a resident of Scott Estate, in Hout Bay.

With a bodysurfing category and more than 40 sticks to choose from, some dating as far back as the late 1960s and 70s, there was a little something for everyone on the day and the packed beach, with colourful outfits abounding, attested to the popularity of the event.

“First up were the bodysurfers who got busy charging the large waves with no fear. Muizenberg surfer, Pieter de Wit claimed the division and also went on to get one of the best tubes of the day on his board.

“Although there were many broken boards among the free surfers, not one retro board was lost, a true tribute to the workmanship of these collector’s pieces.

“Representing the Llandudno locals was super grom, Luke Slijpen, who showed some of the old boys what style on a retro board should look like, winning the best grom award at the end of the day. Following in his son’s footsteps was John Slijpen, who received an award of a different kind. Charging the big conditions, he got a massive lip to the head, winning the best wipeout category.

“Tanika Hoffman was one of the few women to brave the wild conditions and she was rewarded with the best women award.

“It was Andrew Lange, however, who had the beach cheering every time he took off on a wave. With some stellar turns and floaters added to the mix, he was the unanimous choice for surfer of the event.

“In the last two heats, two of South Africa’s best longboarders took to the water. Mathew Moir is a two-time world champion and showed the crowd why, charging on a 9’2 board on huge waves. He was followed by Scarborough’s Mike Grendon, who went out on an ancient 20kg John “Oom” Whitmore longboard. Together, Mathew and Mike shared the hard chargers award.

“All food and bar sales went to raising funds for Llandudno Surf to attend SA Champs in PE next month and there were smiles all round on their faces.

“All in all it was another insanely fun day and the event continues to be referred to as one of the best surfing days of the year,” said Linder.