In our Summer Issue No 87, now on shelf, we interviewed a Durban surfboard shaper who has rekindled the retro craft of timber board shaping. We’re loving the renewed interest in this nostalgic approach and, scoping out the beaches these holidays, we’re in awe of just how many stylish boards there are out there. Yep. The surfboard has found a new place in the world, as artist’s canvas.

One of the most successful Cape Town events of summer 2012 was the Wavescape festival, a major component of which was the auction of art boards that raised R234 000 for charity. Wrapping up the event on 20 December, the organisers were justifiably stoked on their Facebook page:  ‘And with the end of an amazing 17 days of the Wavescape festival, a massive thank you to all of you who came to enjoy the fest, 600 peeps at the Art Board Auction… the amazing artists helped us raise R235 000 for charity, to the 3000 of you who sat through some gusty SE winds on Clifton, to the approx 1000 of you who came through to Brass Bell & the Labia and to the amazing speakers from Slide Night. What an epic festival. Thank you to our Sponsors Pick n Pay, Jack Black beer, Billabong Southafrica and Save Our Seas.’

Brett Murray board - Image by Jonx Pillemer

The Brett Murray board, bought by a Noordhoek (Cape Town) surfer, fetched a record price amidst hoots and cheers as hundreds of people packed Woodstock’s popular Superette restaurant and next door exhibition space in the Woodstock Exchange, Cape Town.

Comedian Mark Sampson hammered a metal-forged gong in the shape of a shark, hauling in proceeds from 11 lots that set the new art board auction record at R234,000. Proceeds went to the NSRI, Shark Spotters and the HIV awareness project, Waves For Change.

Murray’s board, a satirical spoof of an old struggle poster designed by Zapiro in the 1980s, came in at R14,000 more than the next item, a glazed oil painting by Peter Van Straaten, depicting a bell diver set in a moody depiction of deep sea light.

The R28,000 fetched by Van Straten’s board sneaked ahead by a mere R500 of Guy Tillim’s photographic depiction of a South Pacific island. Purchased by regular Wavescape supporter, Dave Maxwell, the Tillim board joins Dave’s collection at home that includes Richard Scott, Craig Paul and Rory Valentine, Black Koki, Richard Hart and Chip Snaddon.

Next came the Roger Ballen board at R25,000, followed by Simon Berndt (R24,000), One Love Studio (R21,000), Manuela Gray (R20,000), Kim Longhurst and Scott Robertson (R12,000), and Fuzzy Slipperz (R11,000).

Image by Jonx Pillemer

In another innovation at Wavescape, the Family Board, honouring the memory of South African surf legend John Whitmore, and a framed image of the ‘Oom’ were sold for R10,500. A few members of the Whitmore clan were there to be part of this bid with a difference. The Family Board is an original John Whitmore, shaped by the grandfather of surfing in South Africa in the mid 60s, and the buyer didn’t get the board – only the picture – and part-ownership of a special concept.

Midway through the auction, the valuable antique board was ceremoniously handed to the first surfer in a lineage of trust linking the surfing family around the world. Michaela Gabriel, the first recipient of the board (including two digital cameras), will surf the board and document her experience, before handing it to the next human link in a chain that transcends country and creed. The only proviso is that creators of the project, Ross Frylinck and Conn Bertish, want the board back in December 2013, when it returns to its original owner Dave van Ginkel.

Several silent bids were already on the table at the start of the auction, including a secret bid by former Springbok rugby captain Bob Skinstad who is also a keen surfer and manages to surf all over the world when doing his television commentating work.

The evening also marked the beginning of the well supported Wavescape Surf Film Festival. For more information and a short film about the Family Board Project: click this link –

Artist listing

  1. Guy Tillim –
  2. Peter van Straaten –
  3. Kim Longhurst & Scott Robertson –
  4. Wim Botha –
  5. One Love Studio Isiqalo Board –
  6. Fuzzy Slipperz  –!about/aboutPage
  7. Brett Murray –
  8. Manuela Gray –
  9. Simon Berndt –
  10. Roger Ballen –

Woodstock Exchange

Posted by Inge van der Merwe & Jenny Mason