Vintage boards make a splash at retro surf contest

Rolling Retro organisers Robby McDonald and Kai Linder.

About 100 surfers rode old-style surfboards as they competed in the annual Rolling Retro surfing event on Sunday.

Held at Llandudno Beach, the contest draws single-fin, twin-fin and thruster (three-fin) surfboards, longboards, bodyboards and kneeboards, according to organisers Kai Linder and Robby McDonald. “And there are no rules. It’s all about celebrating surf heritage and Llandudno Beach culture,” said Mr Linder, who spent 10 years living in Hout Bay but now calls Richards Bay home. Mr McDonald lives in Kommetjie.

(Pictures and videos: Karen Watkins and Ian Thurtell)

This was the 13th year that surfers got to ride boards from the Rolling Retro collection of about 150 vintage surfboards collected over two decades by Mr McDonald, owner of Vudu Surf in Salt River.

“Surfing has always been in my life and my family’s life,” said Mr McDonald. “I started collecting when I started Vudu Surf, and I had the repair side going and was able to restore and repair some old boards.”

He is not someone who believes in hanging up vintage boards as works of art. “It’s great to ride the older boards and draw inspiration from different lines. And riding the vintage boards also helps when making new boards. Many of the modern designs are based on ideas of the past.”

Sienna van Rensburg, of Kommetjie, said no one from her team had done the competition before. “I don’t compete in surfing but found it super chilled and laid back and great fun.”

Natasha van Greunen, of Muizenberg, said the conditions had been a challenging five-to-six feet with closeout sets.

“It was awesome to be able to surf in a team together. The event always lives up to its reputation of being one of the best events held in Cape Town.”

Dale Staples, of Hout Bay, a previous winner of the event, said: “The conditions were tricky, but there were some really good waves to be had and such an awesome vibe on the beach. The contest is one of the funnest events of the year and everyone looks forward to riding the older boards and hanging out with friends on the beach.”

Mr Linder thanked everyone who supported the event, saying, “At the end of the day, a few barrels and broken boards, but Cape Town showed off why it’s one of the greatest beach venues.”

Sean Walker, president of Llandudno Surf Lifesaving Club said they have had a long standing connection with the surfing community. “Many of our members are surfers who surf, train and do voluntary duties on Llandudno beach. The annual Rolling Retro is a wonderful corroboration between surfers and lifesavers to raise much needed funds for the lifesaving club,” said Mr Walker.

Eli Beukes won “best wipe”, Connor Slijpen “best grom”, Tash van Greunen “best lady” and Dale Staples “best man”. Team Jeets was the winning team.

The Betties team, from left, Aimee Mulholland from East London; Kira Hofmeyr, Lauren Granger, Mary Slijpen, all from Llandudno, and Caroline Brown from Hout Bay.
Jett Stewart, of Kommetjie, preparing his borrowed retro board for the surf.
Jordan Talbot, of Llandudno, with one of the retro surfboards.
Team Bomax members, from left, Ryan Payne, Dale Staples and Dion Walters all from Hout Bay; Josh Brodie of Llandudno and Ike Forsythe from Camps Bay.
Frank Solomon, of Llandudno, said the surf was good.
Muizenberg Barrel Dodgers came fifth in the event. From left, Matt Bentley, Liam James, Natasha van Greunen (who won the “best lady“ award), Simon Prior and Blaise Lourens.
Rolling Retro is about celebrating surf heritage and Llandudno Beach culture, according to the organisers.
Team 783, the number for the old Kommetjie landline, from left, Sienna van Rensburg, Hannah Cleghorn, Tetra Hollenbach, Jett Stewart and Sarah Scott.
Josh Brodie (Team Bomax) of Llandudno.
Luke Thompson (Teem Jeets), is the World Surf League Africa number one and is going to the World Tour Challenger Series taking place from May to October in five countries.
Eli Beukes (Team Jeets).
Connor Slijpen (Team Jeets) of Llandudno.