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26 Sep 2022

Half a century of riding epic waves

(South Coast Herald) Picture: Wade Botha is the current chairman of Ugu Surfriders.

The South Coast boasts some of the best surf spots in the world. It’s no surprise then that the area has a rich history in the sport, with some great surfers from here making their mark on the provincial, national and even global stage.

Through it all there has been what is now known as the Ugu Surfriders Association, celebrating its 50th anniversary. Ant Brodowicz, who won the 1978 World Champs, was a youngster when it was formed. His father Jerry played a founding role as chairman, with help from Arno and Erich Frolich, among others.

“I remember my dad taking me to surf competitions in Durban and one day, on the way home, announcing that the South Coast needed its own association. He saw the potential and shortly thereafter the Southern Natal Surfing Association was born.”

Over the years there have been many who have played a huge role in the association, as well as a number who have won local, national and international titles.

In recent years the association has undergone a name change to what it is now, in line with the political changes.

Ant Brodowicz’s name has become synonymous with surfing, not just on the South Coast but further afield as well. Wade Botha is the current chairman, but he’s hardly new, in fact he’s part of the history as his father André was a past chairman.

“The name changed in 2015 when we all went from provincial structures to district structures,” he said.

Wade said that, historically, the sport of surfing was known to be a white man’s sport; however, Ugu Surfriders has a diverse membership.

“For as long as I have been involved, we have always put a large emphasis on transformation and we have two of the biggest transformation and development programmes in the country in our district, namely Umzumbe Surf Club and Trafalgar Surf Club.”

One of the highlights for Wade was seeing the district win the 2013 overall team title and Presidents Cup for the first time at the South African Surfing Championships in Durban. In 2019, they won the team title again.

The association, with its long and proud history, has been supported by local business, with sponsors coming on board to help host major events.

“It is an awesome milestone for us to celebrate and we were privileged to host the 2022 Tidy Towns South African Masters Surfing Championships in our district recently. It just goes to show what a powerhouse of national surfing the South Coast is.”