History lesson: the history of surfing in SA

On 4 February 2020, Phemelo Motene, host of SAfm‘s show “Life Happens”, interviewed me on the writing the history of surfing in South Africa and some of the key social history themes I focus on.

We chatted about surfing’s past in South Africa since WW2 as well as the changing representations of surfing in South Africa today, including a focus on the role of black surfers and female surfers in shaping today’s wavescape. We discussed how surfing development programmes add value to the lives of black surfers, the emerging commercialisation of township surf culture, and surfing’s involvement in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We also covered about my research method of participating in surf contests.

You can listen to the full interview here (listening time: 17min 48sec).

This interview was conducted a month before COVID-19 arrived on South Africa’s shores so there is no reference to the impact on COVID-19 on the South African surfing community – a topic I will post on in due course.

Author: Glen Thompson

Surfer and academic historian

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